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LCG team prepares for GC

VANDNEBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- 2nd Lt. Edward Schneider, a 4th Space Launch Squadron Delta IV vehicle engineer, monitors the Delta IV rocket here while shadowing the 45th Space Wing during a Delta IV medium-lift launch at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., Thursday, March 4, 2010. The Delta IV rocket carries a Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite - P. The GOES-P provides weather monitoring and prediction capabilities, communications subsystems to rebroadcasts data, and space environmental monitoring instruments and sensors.  Additionally, the satellite will provide more accurate information on the location of severe storms and other weather phenomena, resulting in earlier and more precise warnings to the public. The Delta IV launched at 6:57 p.m. EST. (U.S Air Force photo/Senior Airman Stephanie Longoria)

VANDNEBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- 2nd Lt. Edward Schneider, a 4th Space Launch Squadron Delta IV vehicle engineer, monitors the Delta IV rocket here while shadowing the 45th Space Wing during a Delta IV medium-lift launch at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., Thursday, March 4, 2010. The Delta IV rocket carries a Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite - P. The GOES-P provides weather monitoring and prediction capabilities, communications subsystems to rebroadcasts data, and space environmental monitoring instruments and sensors. Additionally, the satellite will provide more accurate information on the location of severe storms and other weather phenomena, resulting in earlier and more precise warnings to the public. The Delta IV launched at 6:57 p.m. EST. (U.S Air Force photo/Senior Airman Stephanie Longoria)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The 30th Launch Group here is currently training a team to compete in the 2010 Guardian Challenge taking place here April 22.

Guardian Challenge is an Air Force Space Command competition, held every other year between March and May, featuring teams from 10 AFSPC wings.

"The 30th LCG team will respond to local emergencies and vehicle (rocket) problems during a simulated countdown to launch," said 2nd Lt. Edward Schneider, a 4th Space Launch Squadron launch vehicle engineer. "Our job is to assess the issues and devise solutions that will enable the launch to proceed."

Approximately 12 people from the 30th LCG will participate in the GC, including four competitors and a supporting cast of trainers and evaluators.

The competition tests the teams by evaluating their responses to rare and complex scenarios. Although challenging, Lieutenant Schneider is looking forward to facing difficult scenarios.

"During the GC, we'll see simulations where things may be going wrong all of the time, but in the back of my mind I'll know that there's no real risk to a multi-million dollar satellite," he said. "That's not to say that I won't take the competition seriously, but I'm interested to see what kind of crazy stuff our evaluation team will come up with."

With bragging rights on the line, the 30th LCG team is wasting little time preparing through book study and practice runs, said Lieutenant Schneider.

"Our goal in training is to be as knowledgeable and prepared as possible for the competition, since there are a huge number of possible scenarios," he said.

The 30th LCG is playing to win, but winning will require a great amount of studying.

"The most important thing we need to do is to build a good knowledge base that we can draw on to help understand the problems we will face," Lieutenant Schneider said.

One of the obstacles the 30th LCG team has to overcome while preparing for the competition is time management.

"Like anything else in the Air Force, time management is the biggest trouble," Lieutenant Schneider said. "My co-workers are very understanding, of course, but I still am trying to do my regular job, and, so, there's a lot going on for me."

Even though the 30th LCG team is competing against other talented AFSPC teams, they remain confident.

"I think the Sharks feel like they have an advantage going in to this competition," said Lieutenant Schneider. "I look forward to sending them home without the trophy."

The 30th LCG team will find out their results as the competition comes to a close in May at the GC awards ceremony at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.

(Editor's note: This is the second in a four-part series on Guardian Challenge 2010.)