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News

Lockheed Martin Congratulates Onizuka Tracking Station on 50 Years Service

Lockheed Martin Space Systems : 29 July, 2010  (Company News)
The air force station at Onizuka for satellite tracking has had half a century of service with key supplier Lockheed Martin Space Systems joining in with the celebrations
Lockheed Martin has joined in ceremonies honouring Onizuka Air Force Station (OAFS) for its 50 years of service to the nation's government space program as part of a US Air Force event marking the contributions OAFS made to aerospace history and the official closure of the station.

Lockheed Martin has worked with Onizuka AFS since it was established in 1960 and provided the core of the Mission Control team for a variety of programs in partnership with the Air Force. Together, Lockheed Martin and Air Force personnel monitored and controlled the nation's first spacecraft from Onizuka AFS, including spacecraft for remote sensing, missile warning, navigation, meteorological and communications missions. Onizuka served as the US's sole satellite tracking station until the mid-1980s.

Onizuka AFS was listed for closure in 2005 by the Base Realignment and Closure Program as part of the fifth round of military base closures aimed at reducing expenditures. Missions previously performed by Onizuka AFS are now operated by Schriever AFB in Colorado Springs, Colo. and Vandenberg AFB in Lompoc, Calif.

'We have worked closely with Onizuka Air Force Station during the past five decades and have achieved many shared successes,' said Kevin Bilger, Lockheed Martin's vice president and general manager of Global Communications Systems. 'We look forward to continuing our strong relationship with the Air Force and meeting its most critical national security space requirements and priorities for the future.'

While numerous space vehicles were controlled from Onizuka AFS, one of the most notable Lockheed Martin programs to operate from OAFS was Corona, the world's first photo reconnaissance satellite and a foundation program of the Air Force station. The Lockheed Martin team served as the integrator for the satellite effort, creating the upper stage vehicle that propelled Corona into space and monitored the satellites once they were on-orbit. This program provided more than 800,000 images critical to national security over its 12-year span from 1960 to 1972.

Other significant programs that have been monitored and controlled from Onizuka Air Force Station include: the Agena spacecraft, every Space Shuttle mission, defense satellite Communications System, Defense Meteorological Satellite Program and initial Global Positioning System satellites.

Lockheed Martin is developing several new programs for the Air Force such as the next-generation Advanced EHF military communications system, the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) to provide early detection of missile launches worldwide and the next-generation Global Positioning Systems, known as GPS III.
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