Delivering space weather support

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Aaron Edwards
  • Peterson-Schriever Garrison Public Affairs

The 21st Logistics Readiness Squadron weather flight supports U.S. Space Force assets by delivering valuable terrestrial and space weather information to units at Cheyenne Mountain Space Force Station, Peterson Space Force Base, Schriever SFB and geographically separated units around the world, 24/7.  
To help the USSF avoid operational complications due to weather, the 21st LRS weather flight tailors space-weather data gathered by the 2nd Weather Squadron headquartered at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, to brief operational U.S. Space Force units across the Front Range and Peterson-Schriever Garrison's geographically separated units around the globe.

Satellites traveling though severe space weather have an increased chance of being struck by positively charged ions, possibly damaging or overwhelming sensors, solar cells and wiring. Additionally, space weather can elevate the in-orbit particle density, inflicting increased drag on assets causing them to change position and path. 

Terrestrial weather, or weather on Earth, can interfere with space operations the same way it affects more common devices such as TVs and radios. Terrestrial weather like rain, snow and dense cloud cover can disrupt and block signals traveling between satellites and ground stations, making it difficult to control space assets and gather information.

“Space weather is going to affect the satellites themselves,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Jaime Albarran, 21st LRS weather flight commander. “Terrestrial weather is going to impact the sensor on the ground and the potential communications link between the sensor and the satellite.”

21st LRS weather flight personnel are innovating the future of weather support. U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Bryan Fossick, 21st LRS weather flight space support cell noncommissioned officer in charge, completed the Space Weather Support Course at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, as both a student and moderator, assisting with the technical review and development of the program. His experience will help further the advancement of the 21st LRS weather flight space support capabilities and the overall weather support to the USSF.

“It was cool to be out there with other weather people, seeing what their mission is and integrating what I learned from the course into our mission,” said Fossick. 

Fossick was just the first from his unit to complete the SWSC. Frank Simon, 21st LRS weather flight chief of weather training and geographically separated units weather support, will be the next student to attend the course in February. Simon will first attend two weeks of the SWSC via Zoom before traveling to Keesler AFB to complete the last three weeks of the course in person. 

To keep their office properly manned as well as current and up-to-date on space-weather operations, the 21st LRS are sending their personnel one-by-one to the SWSC ensuring they are doing their part in keeping the USSF ready to fight and above, always.