Space Development: Hands-on and high tech

  • Published
  • By Capt. Michael King and Capt. Todd Pope
  • 392nd Training Squadron
A new satellite trainer enhances training at the Air Force's premiere introductory space and missile course here. 

Students attending the Officer Space 100 course at Vandenberg can now get a hands-on education to gain a new perspective and better understanding of satellite operational concepts by experimenting with a fully functional EyasSAT satellite subsystem demonstrator. 

"I really like the hands-on approach to learning," said 2nd Lt. Kenny Thompson, 392nd Training Squadron student. 

Space 100 is the first step for officers in Air Force Space Command's Space Professional Development program. Here they learn the "basics" of space and missiles in a 35 day course. For students, the immersion factor is substantial, especially for those with no prior space experience. 

Daily lessons, presented by the 392nd's seasoned instructors, cover topics ranging from Department of Defense acquisition of space systems to introductory space and missile systems and their fundamental operations. The course culminates with the students learning the critical importance of space integration on the battlefield in support of the warfighter. 

With the pace of today's technology growth, it's a challenge to deliver top-notch instruction that can help students understand and visualize concepts that are taught. However, the instructors and developers of Space 100 are up to the challenge, and now they have a tool that will help them succeed in their desire to deliver the world's best space and missile operators. 

For the first time since the course's inception, students will be able to visualize and receive direct hands-on training in satellite operations. This alternative approach to learning not only provides greater understanding of concepts but at the same time helps to reinforce their vital importance. 

EyasSAT is already proving its usefulness in the 533rd Training Squadron's new Satellite Command and Control Initial Qualification Training course. According to instructor Capt. Matt Wenzel, one of the primary goals of the course is to teach the student how the non-unique components and concepts work on virtually every satellite operated by the Air Force. For their purposes, EyasSAT not only allows for classroom demonstration but also student performance evaluation of common satellite operations.
The EyasSAT educational satellite system is a fully functional lab satellite originally developed by the United States Air Force Academy and Colorado Satellite Services. Once fully integrated into the Space 100 course, students will have the ability to take their knowledge gained through classroom lecture and apply it into operating the main components that would allow real-world satellites to operate in space. 

In its basic configuration, the EyasSAT allows students to increase their comprehension of various satellite subsystem components and how they interact with each other in a simulated environment. Students will quickly realize through their studies that these are the fundamental subsystems to satellite operations and therefore exist in nearly every type of satellite design, both current and future.