DSCS Satellite Reaches Ten Years on Orbit

B6, one of the Air Force’s Defense Satellite Communications System spacecraft, reached 10 years on orbit, according to the satellite’s operators at Schriever AFB, Colo. The satellite hit the milestone on Aug. 29, said 3rd Space Operations Squadron members in a release. “DSCS B6’s 10 year anniversary represents an important milestone for current and former members of 3rd SOPS,” said Lt. Col. Chadwick Igl, the squadron’s commander. B6 is the newest DSCS satellite on orbit, but is not the youngest DSCS satellite. The Air Force originally planned for one of the space shuttles to carry B6 aloft in the late 1980s, but the loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986 derailed those plans and the Lockheed Martin-supplied satellite didn’t reach orbit until years later. B6 will continue to serve in a residual capacity after a Wideband Global Satellite Communications spacecraft comes online to replace it, states the release. In July 2012, DSCS B12 reached 20 years on orbit. (Schriever report by Scott Prater)