CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. --
Air Force Reservists from the 920th Rescue Wing supported SpaceX’s successful launch of a Falcon 9 Dragon spacecraft headed to the International Space Station from Space Launch Complex 40 here July 18, 2016, at 12:45 a.m. ET.
At approximately eight minutes after the launch, SpaceX successfully landed the Falcon 9 first-stage booster at Landing Zone 1 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The flyback mission was the second successful one for SpaceX following its historic first landing of a first-stage booster on Landing Zone 1 in December 2015.
"Seeing the booster return to Earth in person is an amazing site," said Lt. Col. Rod Stout, HH-60G Pave Hawk pilot, 920th RQW, who flew one of two wing helicopters to clear and secure the Eastern Test Range prior to the launch. The helicopter duo are in the air within a few miles during launches.
"Prior to the launch we detected three separate vessels that were possible factors to the launch. After passing their course, speed and size to range control, it was determined that all three contacts were moving in or to a safe position during launch time," said Stout.
This Falcon 9 Dragon launch was the 13th major launch operation for the Eastern Range this year, and marks the ninth contracted mission by SpaceX under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract.
A combined team of military, government civilians and contractors from across the 920th Rescue Wing and 45th Space Wing provided support to the mission, including weather forecasts, launch and range operations, security and safety.
“I am proud of the integrated team who worked together flawlessly to make this launch a success,” said Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, 45th Space Wing commander, who served as the mission’s Launch Decision Authority. “Everyone's hard work and dedication paid off today. This mission once again clearly demonstrates the successful collaboration we have with our mission partners at NASA and SpaceX as we continue to shape the future of America's space operations, and serve as the World’s Premier Gateway to Space.”