Home' Air Force News : November 10th 2011 Contents Feature
November 10, 2011
AMONG the Air Force personnel
deployed on exercises, opera-
tions and other activities around
the world is a little-known team
which is playing a key role in support
of Australian and coalition space opera-
It is working alongside airmen from
the US, Britain and Canada attached to
the US Air Force's 2nd Space Warning
Squadron (2SWS) at Buckley Air Force
Base in Denver, Colorado.
The team has been deployed on
rotation to the base since 2000.
The current team is crew commander
FLTLT Greg Talbot and Air Surveillance
Operators (ASOPs) SGT Sean Bedford,
CPL Mark Hall and CPL Tania
The 2SWS Space Based infrared
System Mission Control Station (SBIRS
MCS) operates Defense Support Program
(DSP) satellites that are used to detect
and report all missile and space-launches,
and other infrared activity, to US com-
manders, including in some instances
the President of the United States. Such
events include theatre ballistic missiles,
intercontinental ballistic missiles, sea-
launched ballistic missiles and nuclear
FLTLT Talbot has operational control
over 2SWS MCS personnel, mission and
ground systems. He is also responsible
for approving space mission-related activ-
ities at remote ground stations around the
FLTLT Talbot said working in
Denver was an amazing experience.
"We arrived here with virtually no
experience or knowledge in missile
warning operations or space operations
in general, and so working on the most
complex weapon system in the US Air
Force Space Command meant we all
faced a very steep learning curve from
day one," FLTLT Talbot said.
"We are fortunate to work in a
diverse environment, with contingents
from the RAF and Canadian Forces, as
well as our USAF hosts, and we've all
learnt a lot from each other.
"We've been challenged, frustrated
and rewarded both at work and in our per-
sonal lives but it's all part of the overseas
posting experience and we'll return home
with enriched lives, great friends and
many fond memories of our time here."
The roles of the three ASOPs are
varied. They were employed as Mission
Crew Chiefs (MCCH) responsible for
operating space-based surveillance sys-
tems in support of battle space awareness
reporting to missile warning agencies and
They are employed at present as
a senior flight commander, NCOIC
operational maintenance scheduling and
MCCH training evaluator in the stand-
ardisation and evaluations office.
The ADF has been participating in
space operations for more than 50 years.
Between 1971 and 1999, it supported
USAF space-based ballistic missile warn-
ing operations from the Joint Defence
Facility at Nurrungar, South Australia.
Squadron CO LTCOL Jennifer
Jenkins, USAF, said the involvement of
the RAAF team under a multi-national
agreement was not only vital but invalu-
able experience for its members.
PERSONNEL who want to learn more
about the ADF's role in space-related
activities can undertake one of three
masters degrees being offered at the
Australian Defence Force Academy,
through the University of NSW.
The Masters of Systems Engineering
(Space Systems) will begin next year,
along with the Space Engineering or
Space Operations courses, which start
in 2013. Personnel who elect to under-
take the Systems Engineering course
will have the option to transfer to one of
The courses are an initiative of the
Defence Space Coordinating Office
(DSCO) and are part of a number of ini-
tiatives being undertaken to increase the
exposure of Defence members to space
More information about DSCO and
space-related education and training
opportunities are on the DSCO intranet
website under AFHQ/DGSP-AF.
HAVING A BALL: SGT Sean Bedford, CPL Mark Hall, CPL Tania Wollaston and FLTLT Greg Talbot in front of
one of the infrared Systems antenna radomes 'golf-balls' on a snowy morning at Buckley Air Force Base near
Denver, Colorado. Right, an artist's rendition of the Defence Support Program satellite which is operated at
Buckley. There is a constellation of these infrared satellites providing global missile warning. Inset, four F-16s
from the 140th Wing Colorado Air National Guard pass over Buckley Air Force Base, with the city of Denver and
the Rocky Mountains in the background.
Photos courtesy FLTLT Talbot
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