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Guam Tracking Station assists research satellites into orbit

ANDERSEN AFB, Guam -- At approximately 3:02 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time April 28, a Boeing Delta II rocket carrying a pair of satellites soared into space from the California coastline.

Detachment 5, 22nd Space Operations Squadron, the Guam Tracking Station at Northwest Field here helped place these two satellites into orbit. The station, a tenant unit at Andersen, provided tracking, commanding, and data acquisition resources during the launch and initial orbit of the satellites.

The pair of satellites, CloudSat and CALIPSO, were launched on a single rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Their mission is providing three dimensional views of Earth’s clouds and helping to determine how human-induced emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are contributing to global warming.

“A key element of spaceflight is the ability to track the spacecraft and obtain data that informs ground controllers of the status of the spacecraft,” said Maj. David Hanson, Det. 5 commander. “Guam Tracking Station plays a key role in these functions, not only for U.S. Department of Defense space assets, but also for other high priority space programs.”

CloudSat is an experimental satellite that uses radar to study clouds and precipitation from space. CloudSat will fly in an orbital formation as part of the A-Train constellation of satellites — Aqua, CloudSat, CALIPSO, PARASOL and Aura. The activation date of CloudSat’s cloud profiling radar is dependent on maneuvers that will bring the satellite into formation with the other A-Train platforms.

Guam Tracking Station is a U.S. Air Force installation operated by Det. 5, 22nd Space Operations Squadron, and is a part of the 50th Space Wing at Schriever AFB, Colo. The facility is one of eight remote tracking stations in the Air Force Satellite Control Network.

“I feel people should be aware of what we do at the Guam Tracking Station,” said Major Hanson. “Our mission is part of a world-wide standard for space development that impacts everybody’s future, from navigation to telecommunications and from science to defense.”

For more information about CloudSat and CALIPSO, visit:
http://cloudsat.atmos.colostate.edu.