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Mobility Airmen key to successful satellite launch

An Atlas V rocket carries the Fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite toward space Aug. 8, 2019, after being launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. In April, Airmen assigned to Travis Air Force Base, California, transported the satellite to Florida. The satellite will provide enhanced communications for high-priority military assets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Taylor Nave)

An Atlas V rocket carries the Fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite toward space Aug. 8, 2019, after being launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. In April, Airmen assigned to Travis Air Force Base, California, transported the satellite to Florida. The satellite will provide enhanced communications for high-priority military assets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Taylor Nave)

U.S. Air Force Airmen from Team Travis, Space and Missile Systems Center personnel and civilian ground crews load the fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency communications satellite into a C-5C Galaxy April 19, 2019, at Sunnyvale, California, to transport to Florida. The satellite, was launched into space Aug. 8 and will provide enhanced communications for high-priority military assets.  (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Carnell)

U.S. Air Force Airmen from Team Travis, Space and Missile Systems Center personnel and civilian ground crews load the fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency communications satellite into a C-5C Galaxy April 19, 2019, at Sunnyvale, California, to transport to Florida. The satellite, was launched into space Aug. 8 and will provide enhanced communications for high-priority military assets. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Carnell)

U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center personnel and civilian ground crews load the fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-5) communications satellite onto a C-5C Galaxy aircraft, at Sunnyvale, Calif., April 22, 2019. The AEHF constellation is designed to replace the Milstar satellite constellation. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Carnell)

U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center personnel and civilian ground crews load the fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-5) communications satellite onto a C-5C Galaxy aircraft, at Sunnyvale, Calif., April 22, 2019. The AEHF constellation is designed to replace the Milstar satellite constellation. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Carnell)

A trailer, right, holds the fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite has to be perfectly lined up with a C-5C Galaxy, left, from Travis Air Force Base, California, to be unloaded April 19, 2019, at Sunnyvale, California. The C-5C transported the AEHF that, when operational, will provide survivable, global, secure, protected, and jam resistant communication for high-priority military ground, sea and air assets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathon Carnell)

A trailer, right, holds the fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite has to be perfectly lined up with a C-5C Galaxy, left, from Travis Air Force Base, California, to be unloaded April 19, 2019, at Sunnyvale, California. The C-5C transported the AEHF that, when operational, will provide survivable, global, secure, protected, and jam resistant communication for high-priority military ground, sea and air assets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathon Carnell)

A C-5C Galaxy departs April 20, 2019, from Sunnyvale, California. The C-5, which is assigned to Travis Air Force Base, California, transported the satellite to Florida. The satellite, was launched into space Aug. 8 and will provide enhanced communications for high-priority military assets.  (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Carnell)

A C-5C Galaxy departs April 20, 2019, from Sunnyvale, California. The C-5, which is assigned to Travis Air Force Base, California, transported the satellite to Florida. The satellite, was launched into space Aug. 8 and will provide enhanced communications for high-priority military assets. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Carnell)

The air crew from the C-5C Galaxy, 22nd Airlift Squadron, from Travis Air Force Base, Calif., members of the Space and Missile Systems Center, the 45th Space Wing, and civilian ground crews, unload the fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-5) communications satellite, at Cape Canaveral, Fla., April 22, 2019. The AEHF constellation is designed to replace the Milstar satellite constellation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ian Bush)

The air crew from the C-5C Galaxy, 22nd Airlift Squadron, from Travis Air Force Base, Calif., members of the Space and Missile Systems Center, the 45th Space Wing, and civilian ground crews, unload the fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-5) communications satellite, at Cape Canaveral, Fla., April 22, 2019. The AEHF constellation is designed to replace the Milstar satellite constellation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ian Bush)

Dozens of people observe an Atlas V rocket Aug. 8, 2019, as it carries the Fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite toward space after it was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. In April, Airmen assigned to Travis Air Force Base, California, transported the satellite to Florida. The satellite will provide enhanced communications for high-priority military assets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dalton Williams)

Dozens of people observe an Atlas V rocket Aug. 8, 2019, as it carries the Fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite toward space after it was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. In April, Airmen assigned to Travis Air Force Base, California, transported the satellite to Florida. The satellite will provide enhanced communications for high-priority military assets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dalton Williams)

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Thanks in part to mobility Airmen from Travis AFB, the Advanced Extremely High Frequency-5 communications satellite was launched into space Aug. 8 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

According to Don Ruffin, chief of the U.S. Air Force’s Strategic Satellite Communications Division, the AEHF-5 satellite is built to withstand the electromagnetic effects of nuclear blasts and resist the most sophisticated enemy jamming efforts. The AEHF communications stations “augment our warfighter's ability to fly, fight and win, and do that at epic speed.”

The fifth AEHF satellite, working with four similar relay stations already in orbit, will provide survivable, global, secure, protected and jam-resisting communications for high-priority military ground, fleet and air assets, Ruffin said. 

Before the AEHF-5 could do its job in space, Travis Airmen transported the satellite from California to Florida, April 19. It was vital NASA’s satellite arrived safely and on time.

“We flew out from Travis AFB to Moffett Airfield which is 30 minutes down south in San Jose,” said Airman 1st Class Jerad Domico, 22nd Airlift Squadron C-5M Super Galaxy loadmaster. “We had a loading team prepositioned to load the satellite when we landed. After the satellite was properly secured onto the C-5C Space Cargo Modified Galaxy, we flew over to John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida.”

Without the support of Travis AFB and its aircraft, transporting a satellite cross country would have been nearly impossible.

“We are the only base that use the C-model of the C-5s, which are specifically used for carrying NASA equipment,” said Senior Airman Matthew Warden, 60th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron electrical environmental systems technician. “NASA equipment fits perfectly into the mounts of the C-5C which is why we used it, this aircraft allowed us to transport the satellite safely.”

As a new Airman, Domico said he was amazed by contributing to a mission of this magnitude.

“The whole experience was so surreal, getting to see everything and be part of a mission like this was unbelievable,” Domico said. “Just knowing that I had a part in launching a satellite into space is mind boggling. I never thought I’d be able to say something like that.”

Thanks in part to Travis Airmen, the AEHF-5 satellite is now operational high above Earth, enhancing America’s ability to operate worldwide.

“Strategically, the AEHF-5 mission continues the United States legacy of communications superiority, a force multiplier in America’s ability to project power globally,” said Maj. Ivan Slater, AEHF-5 Program Office chief. “With the AEHF-5 providing a reliable and resilient communications platform, America’s forces abroad can communicate in congested and jammed environments. In addition, the AEHF-5 strengthens America’s alliances with our international partners by providing satellite communications to the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Canada.”

The sixth and final AEHF satellite is scheduled for launch in March 2020.