LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE,Calif. --
El Segundo, California is home to the Headquarters of the Military Satellite Communications (MILSATCOM) Systems Directorate, but it’s not the only place that MILSATCOM personnel work. What many people don’t know is the MILSATCOM division providing logistics and operations support to fielded satellite and ground systems, is actually located at Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs, Colorado. One of the division’s unique missions is to operate a set of terminals at Camp Parks Army Base, California.
Chris Gray, Site Manager for the Camp Parks Communications Annex, manages a team of six Lockheed Martin contractors who operate two terminals used for test missions on Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) and Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) satellites. The terminals have been operating for several years, but were upgraded to support the WGS and DSCS missions in 2009. Camp Parks houses seven total antennae that support a range of frequencies and data rates. One of their most critical missions Gray and his team perform includes on-orbit testing of WGS payloads in the 60 days following launch.
As the U.S. government employee in charge of the terminals at Camp Parks, Gray has a large responsibility. Although he is in contact with his government team in Colorado Springs almost daily, he’s physically located at Camp Parks. The Camp Parks Communications Annex sits on 11 acres of land approximately 35 miles outside of San Francisco.
The popular television program “Mythbusters” filmed many of their experiments near the Alameda County Sheriff’s office located just outside the base; Gray recounts one experiment in which the show’s team launched a cannon ball close to the terminal – but not close enough to cause any real concern.
As one of its most unique mission sets, MILSATCOM is proud to have Chris Gray and his team performing the mission at Camp Parks.