Reduction in Force: It’s about the position

Though facing a layoff is never fun, the Civilian  Personnel Section is doing all it can to help place and assist affected civilian employees keep jobs and find the help they need in the midst of a civilian layoff, referred to as "Reduction in Force."

Col. Doug Schiess, 21st Space Wing Commander, and Sharon Bowman, chief of affirmative employment with the 21st Space Wing Civilian Personnel Section, led a town hall meeting Jan. 28 in the base auditorium to focus on the RIF and address questions people might have concerning the action.

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Sentinel-3C & 3D contract signature

At an event in Paris on 9 February, 2016, CEO of Thales Alenia Space, Jean-Loïc Galle, and Director of ESA’s Earth Observation Programmes, Volker Liebig, signed a €450 million contract to build two more satellites for the Sentinel-3 mission.

From left to right: Jean Jacques Juillet, European Programme Director, Thales Alenia Space; Volker Liebig, Director of ESA’s Earth Observation Programmes; Jean-Loïc Galle, CEO of Thales Alenia Space; Jan Woerner, ESA Director General; Peter Breger, Deputy Head of Copernicus Unit, EC DG GROW; Joël Barre, General Director CNES; and Guido Levrini, Copernicus Space Segment Programme Manager, ESA, attended the contract signature ceremony.

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Landing on an asteroid

This is the microlander that ESA’s proposed Asteroid Impact Mission would put down on its target asteroid.

The asteroid body in question is just 170 m in diameter – the smaller body of the binary Didymos system – so roughly the same size as the Great Pyramid of Giza. It orbits just 1.2 km above the larger 800-m diameter primary Didymos asteroid (shown in the background here), to complete a circuit every 12 hours.

Around the size of a microwave oven, the microlander would be ESA’s first lander on a small body since Rosetta’s Philae lander touched down on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in November 2014.

The asteroid lander, named Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout-2 (Mascot-2), is under study by the German Aerospace Center DLR. Mascot-1 is a lander already on board Japan's Hayabusa 2 mission, which was launched on 3 December 2014 to reach its target asteroid in 2018.

Like its predecessor, Mascot-2 would carry a compact wide-angle camera and a radiometer for close-up examination of the asteroid surface.

In addition, Mascot-2 would be equipped with a low-frequency radar to help probe the interior of the asteroid it rests on – with AIM picking up the radar signals from the asteroid’s far side. Accelerometers will record full details of its impact with the surface, while solar panels should give the micro-lander at least three months of working life.

AIM, currently undergoing detailed design work in preparation for a ‘go/no go’ decision at the end of this year, would be humanity’s first mission to a double asteroid system.

NASA’s own Double Asteroid Redirection Test probe, or DART, will impact the same asteroid, with AIM providing detailed before-and-after mapping to help assess the effects and test planetary defence techniques. The two missions together are known as the Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission.

ESA has teamed up with the organisers of the annual Asteroid Day on 30 June to increase public awareness of potential asteroid impacts with Earth, and the importance of increasing our knowledge about these small bodies. 

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2 SOPS to host 2nd annual GPS Heritage Gala

The 2nd Space Operations Squadron will gather, along with past operators and the general public, to celebrate the heritage of GPS during the 2nd annual GPS Heritage Gala Friday, Feb. 19, at the Space Foundation in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Themed "Setting the Gold Standard," the event will celebrate GPS's success and the people who make that success possible.

"We hope to inspire the GPS community by sharing stories of our valued users," said 2nd Lt. Jacqueline Salas, a member of 2 SOPS and one of the event's organizers. "Although we do day-to-day operations, we don't always get the luxury of seeing how this signal can have a significant impact on people's lives."

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Airman earns elite Army Ranger tab

What started out as curiosity became a great responsibility then turned into a rare achievement.

"Knowing I was the sole representative of the Air Force, it was bigger than just me," said Senior Airman Aaron Inch, 13th Air Support Operations Squadron radio operator maintainer and driver, "I was there for the Air Force and for the 13th ASOS so there was a lot of weight on my shoulders to make a statement that we can do this too."
Inch graduated from the U.S. Army Ranger School in December. He is one of about 300 Airmen to ever complete the grueling 61-day training course and one of only a handful of senior airmen to graduate. He was accepted to the school as an airman first class, something even rarer.

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Speaker optimistic about space cooperation

Developing space capabilities in Asian countries like China, Japan, India, South Korea and North Korea certainly call for close attention and current developments require greater U.S. attention and engagement if existing Asian rivalries in space are to be prevented from spilling over into conflict, said Dr. James Moltz during his presentation "Asia's Rise in Space and Implications for the United States," Jan. 29 at the Peterson Air Force Base auditorium.

It was the first of the National Space Security Institute's Speakers Series. The aim of the series is to bring in authors of the books on the NSSI Space Professional Reading List and have them address faculty, students and interested parties.

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Peterson hosts ribbon cutting for new medical facilities

The 21st Medical Group hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony on Feb. 8 to celebrate the completion of renovations to the main Medical Clinic, building 959, Medical Group Annex, building 725, and the Area Dental Lab, building 2012.

The three-phase, $18 million construction project began in 2012 and was a partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District and the U.S. Air Force. The project's goal was to optimize and provide state-of-the-art medical treatment services for patients of the 21st Medical Group and the Colorado Springs Military Health System.

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Smart Watches: Latest tech trend carries security implications

It can connect with your phone, alert you to emails, receive text messages, notify you of appointments and even monitor your health. But that new stylish smartwatch could very well be a gateway to stealing your personal information or worse.

With more smartwatches going on the wrists of users all of the time, and many security vulnerabilities reported for them, it pays to take a close look at what precautions should be taken to assure privacy as well as operational security. Marketing data published by C/Net said 30 million smartwatches were sold in 2015 and predicts 50 and 66.7 million in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

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Feb. 9, 1995, Bernard Harris and Michael Foale Ready For a Spacewalk

STS-63 astronauts Bernard A. Harris, Jr., payload commander (right), and C. Michael Foale, mission specialist (left), are ready to exit space shuttle Discovery's airlock for a spacewalk on Feb. 9, 1995. On this extravehicular activity (EVA), which lasted 4 hours and 38 minutes, Bernard Harris became the first African-American to walk in space.

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