SATELLITE AND LAUNCH CONTROL SYSTEMS

The Space and Missile Systems Center Satellite and Launch Control Systems Program Office serves as the Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN) acquisition agency responsible for network sustainment activities, future architecture  planning, and data, communications and range systems engineering.  The program office is the primary interface to the AFSCN users for requirements identification and implementation.  This program office is also responsible for the major development efforts of the Spacelift Range System (SLRS).  The SLRS consists of ground based surveillance, navigation, communications and weather assets centered at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., and Vandenberg AFB, Calif., used to support space launch missions. The goal is to provide DoD, NASA and commercial customers a highly reliable, integrated system to support spacecraft launch, ballistic missile and aeronautical testing.

AIR FORCE SATELLITE CONTROL NETWORK

ThE AFSCN “system of systems” is composed of three inter-related segments:

COMMAND AND CONTROL SEGMENT (CCS)

Satellite command and control is exercised from the operational control nodes located at Onizuka Air Station, Calif., and Schriever AFB, Colo. The AFSCN's Command and Control Segment enables execution of the three primary mission phases: planning, contact support and evaluation. CCS resources provide vehicle telemetry, tracking and commanding support from launch preparation to on-orbit operations. Vehicle ground software development, integration and evaluation begin prior to AFSCN compatibility testing, and continue for the operational lifetime of the satellite program.

RANGE SEGMENT (RS)

The range segment provides the space-ground link between the satellites and the AFSCN. The Remote Tracking Stations (RTS) provide real-time satellite tracking, command relay and telemetry reception. Deployable systems are used to provide additional on-orbit support as well as to verify correct TT&C subsystem operation at the factory. Satellite pre-launch checkout missions are performed at Vandenberg Tracking Station, Calif. (VTS) and the Transportable Vehicle Checkout Facility-East, Cape Canaveral AS, Fla. (TVCF-E).

COMMUNICATIONS SEGMENT (CS)

The communications segment interconnects  all AFSCN assets and provides external user interfaces. The communications segment is a robust network consisting of redundant communications paths, as well as connectivity between the control nodes. The redundant links are independently routed and continuously maintained in an operational state to ensure mission success. The communications segment sends satellite commanding data to the RTSs for subsequent uplink to the satellite, then returns downlinked telemetry, and RTS equipment status data, to the control nodes for processing and analysis. The CS also provides interfaces between the AFSCN and satellite data users.

To understand and satisfy customer requirements, the AFSCN engineering staff works closely with Air Force Space Command, operators from other agencies and nations, and with satellite and launch control development organizations. Early involvement allows developers to reach informed decisions on the most effective use of AFSCN resources to accomplish the satellite's mission. Ongoing modifications to the network accommodate changing satellite requirements. Long-term capability needs are constantly factored into improvement and modernization plans.

SPACELIFT RANGE SYSTEM (SLRS)

The Spacelift Range System (SLRS) consists of ground based surveillance, navigation, flight operations and analysis, communications and weather assets located at Patrick AFB, Fla., and Vandenberg AFB, Calif., used to support space missions. The mission is to provide DOD, NASA and commercial customers a highly reliable, integrated system to support spacecraft launch, ballistic missile and aeronautical testing.

The SLRS performs the following functions:

MODERNIZATION EFFORTS

Multiple SLRS upgrade efforts are underway, including the Range Standardization and Automation (RSA) program, ongoing Improvements and Modernization (I&M) projects, and planning the future SLRS contract.

Range Standardization and Automation (RSA):

Improvement & Modernization (I&M) projects provide life extension and technology upgrades to sustain existing range systems that are not part of RSA contracts.

The planned SLRS contract will complete SLRS modernization efforts, provide systems integration and engineering functions, and standardize sustainment and recapitalization of SLRS assets.

The SLRS is composed of three inter-related segments:

INSTRUMENTATION SEGMENT

This segment of the range system encompasses the sensors necessary to perform mission specific data collection, metric tracking, launch area surveillance, weather data collection, and provide the means for uplinking command/destruct functions. Fixed instrumentation sites were selected to optimize mission performance and are supported by mobile stations (ground-based instrumented vans, containerized ships, instrumented aircraft and satellites) when performance limitations and safety constraints dictate their use.

NETWORK SEGMENT

The Network Segment is the communications backbone of each range. It provides all electronic interconnections between INSEG and CDSEG at each range, and between SLRS and external entities. NETSEG provides the conduit for sending voice/video/data to and from remote and local instrumentation sites. NETSEG design is critical path redundant and automatically looks for contention and link overloads allowing for greater reliability to ensure mission success.

CONTROL AND DISPLAY SEGMENT

The control and display function serves as the operational heart of SLRS and provides for integrated management of all range assets through video display, voice and data communications, and data processing systems. The CDSEG resources and operators provide all of the range services and human interfaces that are directly observable by SLRS customers.

To understand and satisfy customer requirements, the SLRS engineering staff works closely with Air Force Space Command, operators from other agencies and nations, and with satellite and launch control development organizations. Early involvement allows developers to reach informed decisions on the most effective use of SLRS resources to accomplish the SLRS mission. Ongoing modifications to the SLRS accommodate changing requirements. Long-term capability needs are constantly factored into improvement and modernization plans.

(Current as of August 2000)


Return to the Team SMC home page, or the SMC Fact Sheets contents page.


Accessibility/Section 508