60th APS supports upcoming USSF demonstration launch

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alexander Merchak
  • 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.— The 60th Aerial Port Squadron and 176th Wing supported the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command by organizing the cargo load and transportation of a launch vehicle and launch stand from Astra, a wholly-owned U.S. company based in Alameda, California, Oct. 14, 2021.

An Astra Rocket 3.3 launch vehicle and launch stand were relocated from Astra headquarters to the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska in Kodiak, Alaska, where Astra will conduct a demonstration launch on behalf of SSC and DoD’s Space Test Program.

“The resources and expertise of Travis were critical in meeting our short-notice timeline,” said Nicholas Previsich, Space Systems Command chief of airlift operations.

SSC’s focus is to develop, acquire, equip, field and deliver sustainable joint space warfighting capabilities to defend the nation and its allies and disrupt adversaries in the contested space domain.

“If we can’t get it to the pad, we can’t get it to space,” said Previsich. “Airlift is the preferred method when it’s available, and that’s where the APS comes into play.”

Senior Airman John-Michael Jenkinson, 60th Aerial Port Squadron special handling technician and member of the joint inspection team, spearheaded the coordination with Previsich and Astra.

“From an Airman’s standpoint, it was a lot of responsibility… I learned a lot and had some great leaders, but it was business as usual,” said Jenkinson.

Jenkinson explained that planning for the relocation started with a visit to Astra headquarters where the launch vehicle and launch stand were inspected for hazardous materials and to determine if the 60th APS could support the mission.

At the conclusion of the inspection, it was determined that the 60th APS could provide support, and proved that a movement like this could possibly happen again in the future.

“We used to plan for a mission like this six years in advance — we did this in three weeks,” said Previsich. “The team demonstrated epic speed and absolute adaptability, and everyone involved here made it happen.”

This launch mission, referred to as STP-27AD2, will carry a mass-simulator to orbit and serve as a risk reduction effort for future launch missions.

SSC is committed to delivering advanced space capabilities – like demonstrated by this particular mission– that support the joint warfighter while countering increasing threats to our national security.

The rocket successfully reached Kodiak, Alaska.

To learn more about the USSF and Astra, visit: https://www.losangeles.spaceforce.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2727572/smc-partnering-with-astra-for-upcoming-ussf-launch/