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Charleston Reservists assist with upcoming SpaceX launch

(Courtesy Photo, Senior Airman Ryan Estes)

(Courtesy Photo, Senior Airman Ryan Estes)

(Courtesy Photo, Senior Airman Ryan Estes)

(Courtesy Photo, Senior Airman Ryan Estes)

(Courtesy Photo, Senior Airman Ryan Estes)

(Courtesy Photo, Senior Airman Ryan Estes)


Two Airman from the 315th Airlift Wing, Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina worked with approximately 50 others to move a satellite that will be launched into orbit from Cape Canaveral.

The two Airmen are both loadmasters with the 701st Airlift Squadron, Joint Base Charleston, and helped facilitate the movement of a Lockheed Martin GPS III SV04 satellite after it was brought in via a C-17 Globemaster III from Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado.

“Opportunities like this really do challenge you and make you better at your craft,” said Master Sgt. Thomas McGee, instructor loadmaster, 701st Airlift Squadron. “On a mission like this, everything that you have learned and experienced is applied.”

The new GPS III SV04 will be “three times more accurate than the current satellite, the signals will be more powerful, and up to eight times improved jamming resistance and availability for critical missions worldwide,” according to Lockheed Martin.

The two Reservists were chosen for the mission because of their experience and skill. McGee was one of the senior military members on the mission and assisted with the unloading of the satellite and the uploading of the container that it was shipped in back into a C-17.

This was the fourth and final movement of the satellite and it was moved in record timing, McGee said.

“We were able to move the satellite in under two hours, versus the previous move which took nearly six hours,” said McGee. “With hard work, implementation of our training, and the opportunity to make ourselves better, we accomplished a difficult task in record time.”

The satellite, which narrowly fit into the C-17, was moved using a system of winches down to a site where it will be outfitted onto a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket near a launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center.

The satellite is scheduled to be launched into space on Aug. 1, 2020.

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