Squadron protects global assets

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Wesley Carter
  • 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
The sound of a rocket, the trail of smoke cascading through the sky behind it, and spectators leaving their office buildings to see the mission blast into space are all common scenes around Vandenberg. It takes many organizations on base to make this spectacle a reality, but only one organization focuses specifically on the reason -not the ride.

"We are the only squadron on the base that focuses specifically on the payload of government missions," said Lt. Col. Michael Wulfsteig, the 30th Launch Support Squadron commander.

The job of the 30th LCSS is to store, protect, maintain and deliver satellites that will eventually orbit the globe.

"When a mission comes here, we begin planning on where the payload will be stored and specific requirements that the satellite will need to be maintained," said Master Sgt. Stephen Hopkins, the 30th LCSS space vehicle flight chief. "We are responsible for working with our contracted partners ... We are the governmental oversight of all processes that take place involving the satellite."

Preparing a satellite for orbit can be as easy as finding a building to put it in or as tedious as ensuring that there are no potholes on the transportation route that could harm the multimillion-dollar asset.

"Each satellite has specific building requirements," said Master Sgt. Eric Johnson, the 30th LCSS facility manager flight chief. "Requirements range from dust particle counts in the air, humidity, temperature, or even to ensure that back-up power is available in case of a power outage on base."

The satellites the 30th LCSS supports offer a plethora of services to the military and communities across the United States.

"We are currently supporting a Department of Defense weather satellite that will allow the government to better forecast weather across the world," Colonel Wulfsteig said. "But everything we do in space advances our capabilities to meet requirements placed on us by the president and the DoD."

Some of the satellites the squadron supports are global positioning in nature and can be a great advantage to the warfighter.

"We had a guy come in and show us on his GPS how one of the satellites we supported saved his life while he was deployed," Sergeant Johnson said. "Seeing that side of the results makes this job worth it."

The 30th LCSS is currently supporting a Defense Meteorological Satellite Program that is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg this fall.