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Airmen support space shuttle launch

by Ken Warren
45th Space Wing Public Affairs

10/23/2007 - CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (AFPN) -- Members of the 45th Space Wing here supported NASA's successful launch of Space Shuttle Discovery Oct. 23 from Space Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center on the 23rd mission to the International Space Station. 

The wing's support included providing weather forecasts, helping organize and train Department of Defense contingency response forces and assuring a safe launch by tracking the vehicle with an array of radar, telemetry, communications and optical instrumentation via its Eastern Range.

"The Air Force's Eastern Range is a national treasure," said Brig. Gen. Susan J. Helms, the 45th SW commander. "It serves as our East Coast flightline for assuring safe access to space for the shuttle and our expendable vehicles.

The general said the shuttle launch is the third major space launch within 13 days.

"The Air Force/NASA partnership continues to reap huge benefits for our nation" she said. "Nobody does space better."

The Eastern Range supported the launches of an Atlas V carrying the first Wideband Global SATCOM satellite Oct. 10 and a Delta II carrying a Global Positioning Satellite Oct. 17. Discovery will deliver a connecting module that will increase the space station's interior space. Retired Air Force Col. Pamela Melroy is commanding the shuttle mission.

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