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Published:March 17th, 2009 20:06 EST
Air Force Helps With Shuttle Launch

Air Force Helps With Shuttle Launch

By SOP newswire3

by Tech. Sgt. Paul Flipse
920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs

3/17/2009 - KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (AFNS)  -- Airmen from Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., supported the successful launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery March 16 from Kennedy Space Center. 

Pararescuemen, along with crewmembers on HH-60G Pave Hawks and an HC-130P/N refueling aircraft of the 920th Rescue Wing were stationed on or around Kennedy Space Center for the 7:43 p.m. launch. 

Discovery is delivering the final pair of power-generating, solar-array wings and a truss segment to the International Space Station. Shuttle mission STS- 119 is commanded by Col.  Lee Archambault.

The 920th Rescue Wing, an Air Force Reserve Command unit, provides first-response, emergency medical and search-and-rescue support for all NASA shuttle and rocket launches. The 920th RQW reservists also were responsible for clearing the Eastern Range of ocean traffic prior to each launch. The Eastern Range refers to the roughly 10-mile-wide by 70-mile-long strip of Atlantic Ocean that extends out from the launch pad in the anticipated direction of flight.

In addition to the aircrew personnel, wing maintenance and life support specialists spent the days leading up to the launch ensuring the readiness and safety of both the aircraft and those who would be riding inside.