Magazine article National Defense

Simulation Cuts Space Surveillance Training Time

Magazine article National Defense

Simulation Cuts Space Surveillance Training Time

Article excerpt

SIMULATION CUTS SPACE SURVEILLANCE TRAINING TIME-A new simulated space operations center is in place at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jeff Werner and Staff Sgt. George Kulick, both members of the 20th Space Surveillance Squadron, developed the center, called SIMSOC.

The SIMSOC replicates the functionality of the actual space operations center, or SOC, which is used to track near-Earth and deepspace objects in orbit around Earth.

According to Kulick, the squadron plans to use the SIMSOC for mandatory unit qualification training of new arrivals, as well as monthly recurring training.

When the center is complete, the unit hopes to reduce qualification time by nearly 70 percent. Currently, it takes about 75 training days to complete unit qualification training.

Officials believe the training will be cut to 21 training days once the SIMSOC is complete and a similar SIMSOC is implemented at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif, where students undergo initial qualification training.

The SIMSOC also will allow trainers to recreate identical scenarios for their students. Since everything from the heads-up display, to track satellite passes, to the direct dial numbers on the telephones, accurately parallels the SOC, the simulator sometimes fools even the experts.

"This is going to be the closest thing to having a Star Trek holodeck without the holograms," Kulick said. …

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