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45th SW launches ORBCOMM, lands first stage booster

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (AFNS) -- The 45th Space Wing successfully supported the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket during its mission to put ORBCOMM's OG2 communications satellites into orbit Dec. 21. 

Nine minutes following the launch was the first-ever successful landing of the Falcon 9's first stage booster at Landing Zone 1, formerly Complex 13, at on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

"Today clearly placed the exclamation mark on 2015, by closing out another successful year for the Eastern Range in historic fashion," said Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, the 45th SW commander and launch decision authority. "This launch and flyback speaks volumes to the hard work this team puts in every single day driving innovation and success. This was a first for us at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and I can't even begin to describe the excitement the team feels right now having been a part of this historic first-stage rocket landing."

The Falcon 9 launch was the second and final launch of ORBCOMM OG2 from Cape Canaveral AFS. The OG2 is a commercial satellite network that uses low-Earth orbit satellites to provide reliable and cost-effective machine-to-machine communications to and from in the most remote areas of the world.

Before any spacecraft can launch from Cape Canaveral AFS, a combined team of military, government civilians and contractors from across the 45th SW provide the mission assurance to ensure a safe and successful liftoff for their range customers. 

Eastern Range instrumentation provides radar tracking, telemetry, communications, command/control sites, camera and optical sites, and other support capabilities such as meteorology. Instrumentation is necessary to safely and successfully conduct civil, commercial, and national security spacelift operations and ballistic missile tests and evaluation. Eastern Range assets are based on dependable designs and technology and are arrayed in a highly efficient architecture designed to ensure safety of the launch environment and the public at large.