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Vandenberg Celebrates The Modernization of Pillar Point Air Force Station

Col. Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing commander, Richard Schoonmaker, InDyne contract manager, Lt. Col. Timothy Cole, Space and Missile Systems Range and Network Division deputy chief, Helmut Erhard, Pillar Point Air Force Station supervisor, Col. Marcelino Del Rosario, 30th Operations Group commander, Lt. Col. Jennifer Berenger, 30th Range Management Squadron commander, and Tom Bouthiller, Spacelift Range System Contract Program Director, participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony, Sept. 10, 2014, at Pillar Point Air Force Station, Calif.  The ceremony marked the modernization of Pillar Point through the installment of the new Command Transmitter 4. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Armando Aparicio Jr./Released)

Col. Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing commander, Richard Schoonmaker, InDyne contract manager, Lt. Col. Timothy Cole, Space and Missile Systems Range and Network Division deputy chief, Helmut Erhard, Pillar Point Air Force Station supervisor, Col. Marcelino Del Rosario, 30th Operations Group commander, Lt. Col. Jennifer Berenger, 30th Range Management Squadron commander, and Tom Bouthiller, Spacelift Range System Contract Program Director, participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony, Sept. 10, 2014, at Pillar Point Air Force Station, Calif. The ceremony marked the modernization of Pillar Point through the installment of the new Command Transmitter 4. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Armando Aparicio Jr./Released)

Wing leadership recently participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the modernization of Pillar Point Air Force Station, a remote monitoring station located four hours north of VAFB, Sept. 10, 2014, at Pillar Point Air Force Station, Calif. The most prevalent of these modifications was the new Command Transmitter 4. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Armando Aparicio Jr./Released

Wing leadership recently participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the modernization of Pillar Point Air Force Station, a remote monitoring station located four hours north of VAFB, Sept. 10, 2014, at Pillar Point Air Force Station, Calif. The most prevalent of these modifications was the new Command Transmitter 4. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Armando Aparicio Jr./Released

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Wing leadership recently participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the modernization of Pillar Point Air Force Station, a remote monitoring station located four hours north of here Sept. 10.

The most prevalent of these modifications was the new Command Transmitter 4, one of five radio transmitters which is part of the missile flight termination system used to send "arm" and "destruct" commands to ballistic missiles and space boosters launched from VAFB.

"This new command transmitter system ensures positive control of launch vehicles in the rare occasion that equipment fails and the vehicle moves off its planned flight path," said Lt. Col. Jennifer Berenger, 30th Range Management Squadron commander. "Bottom line, this system ensures public safety in case that happens."

The new command transmitter replaced an older obsolete system that has operated at Pillar Point since the 1960's. Another major modification recognized at Pillar Point during the ceremony was the 44-foot telemetry system; the telemetry system receives radio signals from missiles and aircraft in flight, including navigation, health, and status data about the vehicle. "The 44-foot telemetry system is well-known for its support to VAFB launch missions, but one of the lesser known contributions is to the nation's aeronautical test mission out of Edward's AFB." said Berenger.

Col Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing commander, was also present for the ceremony and received a tour of the site and its modifications but made it clear nothing was more exciting about his visit than meeting the people at Pillar Point who make it function. "We're often enamored by technology in the Air Force, focusing on planes, satellites, rockets, missiles, antennas, shiny new racks of computers and communications equipment," said Balts. "Don't get me wrong, all those are pretty cool, but nothing beats meeting the people who make those things do something - - something meaningful."

Other modifications include seismic modifications to one of the buildings for protection against earthquakes, as well as new and improved high speed data lines between Pillar Point and VAFB for pre-flight, in-flight, and post-flight analysis.