New Tool Monitors Satellites’ Health

The Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., now has the ability to monitor the status of Wideband Global Satellite Communications spacecraft in real time thanks to a pilot program known as Blue Force Status. The 3rd Space Operations Squadron at Schriever AFB, Colo., recently began transmitting telemetry data from the BFS system directly to the JspOC. “BFS is transformational technology,” said Lt. Col. Greg Karahalis, 3rd SOPS director of operations. It monitors the WGS satellites (three are on orbit), learns their normal behavior over time, and then provides alerts when and if abnormal behavior occurs. “We’ll be able to identify events we didn’t know were happening before,” said Karahalis. BFS is still in its testing phase, but “will become an operational tool” at some point, he said. The system helps enhance overall US awareness of activities in space. (Schriever report by Scott Prater)