Except for a shift in launch date due to tropical storm Bertha, the mission went off without a hitch.
“Our system operated flawlessly,” said Griffith. “We detected a host of UASs in the area, but nothing intruded on the restricted air space. Our system gave the operators great awareness of their battlespace and of potential threats in the vicinity. This capability was a terrific addition to the Base Defense Operations Center at Cape Canaveral.”
Over the last decade, drones have posed security threats and grounded flights across the aviation industry. In 2016, the Department of Defense directed the Air Force, Army, and Navy to develop counter-drone technology to combat this issue.
To assist with the launch, the team developed a contingency plan to combat the travel restrictions and shipping delays associated with the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. By reducing air travel and increasing communication with partners, team members were able to get their sensors in place in time for the launch.
“The COVID restrictions did play a role, especially in the beginning, so coordination and teamwork were really important,” said Maguire. “We each had a part in making this successful.”
To execute its mission, C-sUAS collaborated with NASA, the 45th Security Forces and Space Launch Squadrons from Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, the Air Force Research Laboratory, as well as numerous contractors.
The SpaceX launch was the first commercial manned space flight in history. The launch was also the first U.S. space flight in a decade, following the conclusion of NASA’s Space Shuttle program in 2011.
“It was really exciting to be there in person and a big honor to be a part of it,” said Griffith. “I am just so impressed with all of the hard work from everyone involved.”