Remote Sensing Systems Directorate unveils Heritage Wall

Col. Dennis Bythewood, director of the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Remote Sensing Systems Directorate, addresses an audience of RS personnel prior to the unveiling of the new Remote Sensing Heritage Wall at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, Calif., March 15, 2017. The ceremony commemorates an SMC mission that spans nearly six decades of providing global, persistent, infrared surveillance and environmental monitoring capabilities to our warfighters and the nation. (U.S. Air Force photo / Van De Ha)

Col. Dennis Bythewood, director of the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Remote Sensing Systems Directorate, addresses an audience of RS personnel prior to the unveiling of the new Remote Sensing Heritage Wall at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, Calif., March 15, 2017. The ceremony commemorates an SMC mission that spans nearly six decades of providing global, persistent, infrared surveillance and environmental monitoring capabilities to our warfighters and the nation. (U.S. Air Force photo / Van De Ha)

Col. Tony Meeks, deputy director of the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Remote Sensing Systems Directorate, and Dr. Steve Pluntze, RS Directorate executive director and civilian deputy director, cut a ceremonial ribbon to unveil the Remote Sensing Heritage Wall at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, Calif., March 15, 2017. The ceremony commemorates an SMC mission that spans nearly six decades of providing global, persistent, infrared surveillance and environmental monitoring capabilities to our warfighters and the nation. (U.S. Air Force photo / Van De Ha)

Col. Tony Meeks, deputy director of the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Remote Sensing Systems Directorate, and Dr. Steve Pluntze, RS Directorate executive director and civilian deputy director, cut a ceremonial ribbon to unveil the Remote Sensing Heritage Wall at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, Calif., March 15, 2017. The ceremony commemorates an SMC mission that spans nearly six decades of providing global, persistent, infrared surveillance and environmental monitoring capabilities to our warfighters and the nation. (U.S. Air Force photo / Van De Ha)

Col. Tony Meeks, deputy director of the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Remote Sensing Systems Directorate, and Dr. Steve Pluntze, RS Directorate executive director and civilian deputy director, cut a ceremonial ribbon to unveil the Remote Sensing Heritage Wall at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, Calif., March 15, 2017. The ceremony commemorates an SMC mission that spans nearly six decades of providing global, persistent, infrared surveillance and environmental monitoring capabilities to our warfighters and the nation. (U.S. Air Force photo / Van De Ha)

Col. Tony Meeks, deputy director of the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Remote Sensing Systems Directorate, and Dr. Steve Pluntze, RS Directorate executive director and civilian deputy director, cut a ceremonial ribbon to unveil the Remote Sensing Heritage Wall at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, Calif., March 15, 2017. The ceremony commemorates an SMC mission that spans nearly six decades of providing global, persistent, infrared surveillance and environmental monitoring capabilities to our warfighters and the nation. (U.S. Air Force photo / Van De Ha)

Staff and personnel from the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Remote Sensing Systems Directorate look over the newly unveiled Remote Sensing Heritage Wall at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, Calif., March 15, 2017.  The unveiling ceremony commemorates an SMC mission that spans nearly six decades of providing global, persistent, infrared surveillance and environmental monitoring capabilities to our warfighters and the nation. (U.S. Air Force photo / Van De Ha)

Staff and personnel from the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Remote Sensing Systems Directorate look over the newly unveiled Remote Sensing Heritage Wall at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, Calif., March 15, 2017. The unveiling ceremony commemorates an SMC mission that spans nearly six decades of providing global, persistent, infrared surveillance and environmental monitoring capabilities to our warfighters and the nation. (U.S. Air Force photo / Van De Ha)

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Space and Missile Systems Center’s Remote Sensing Systems Directorate unveiled the Remote Sensing Heritage Wall March 15 at Los Angeles Air Force Base to commemorate a mission that spans nearly six decades.

The Remote Sensing Systems Directorate stood up on Nov. 21, 2014 to provide global, persistent, infrared surveillance and environmental monitoring capabilities to our warfighters and the nation. It combines Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) and Weather Systems teams into one high-functioning directorate with the ability to create more affordable and resilient surveillance capabilities. The RS Heritage Wall details the history and the successes of these missions decade-by-decade.

“Being assigned to L.A. Air Force Base, we learn a lot about the history of these programs,” said 2nd Lt. Zach Nuss, Weather Satellites project officer and lead project officer for the RS Heritage Wall. “But seeing our history and milestones displayed like this really puts into perspective the massive effort and incredible teamwork that got us to where we are today.”

“With Weather and OPIR housed under one directorate, we’re able to leverage existing and planned National Security Space platforms to deliver new products that just wouldn’t have been possible otherwise,” added Dr. Steve Pluntze, RS Directorate executive director and civilian deputy director.

As a former director of the Defense Weather Systems Directorate, he would know.

“The Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) did some very cool things, but it’s amazing to see what can be done when Weather is teamed up with our OPIR programs.”

The RS Heritage Wall covers remote sensing heritage from the early 1960s through 2009. It focuses on several major milestones, including the first launch of the Missile Defense Alarm System, or MIDAS, in February 1960 and the first DMSP launch in 1970, which was partially born from the successes of the MIDAS program.

The RS Heritage Wall also displays 21st century milestones, such as the Mission Control Station at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, being declared Operationally Capable in December of 2001, and the launch of DMSP Flight 18 in October of 2009, almost a half century after the launch of the first DMSP satellite.

“This Heritage Wall will serve as a living testimony to the men and women of the combined military, civilian, and contractor teams who dedicated themselves to these OPIR and Weather missions,” said Col. Dennis Bythewood, Remote Sensing Systems director. “And we’ve left plenty of room at the end of the wall’s timeline to continue to chronicle the current and future teams’ successes.”