Members from both NASA Crew-9 and the 3rd Space Surveillance Squadron pose for a photo in front of “Fred,” a radome at Buckley Space Force Base, Colo., March 28, 2024. The NASA Crew-9 members learned about the functionality and mission set involving the radomes. (U.S. Space Force photo by Senior Airman Shaun Combs)
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We have the watch: NASA Crew-9 visits Space Delta 4

BUC__KLEY SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) --__ "The first time I launched, my rocket didn't go where it was supposed to go, it had an in-flight anomaly, came apart and we landed in the middle of the Kazakhstan step,” said U.S. Space Force Col. Nick Hague, NASA astronaut. “It was nice to be able to come and meet the people (Guardians) that were providing a little bit of over watch and making sure the rescue forces were going to get to where we ended up."

Hague, NASA Crew-9 pilot, along with Crew-9, Zena Cardman, mission commander, and Stephanie Wilson, mission specialist - 1, embarked on a visit to the 11th Space Warning Squadron, Overhead Persistent Infrared Battle Space Awareness Center at Buckley Space Force Base, March 28.
OBAC stands as a cornerstone of our nation's defense strategy, harnessing the data gleaned from the Space-Based Infrared System constellation. This system is instrumental in detecting ballistic missile launches, monitoring space activities, and identifying infrared signatures in real-time. Crew-9’s visit underscores the importance of understanding these operations to enhance our national security efforts.
“NASA human spaceflight doesn't happen without this mission," Hague said. “NASA depends on the entire mission set that the Space Force helps provide. These guardians are providing it every day in the OBAC, and what they do here is one of those critical missions."
When Crew-9 launches in mid-August, Hague will become the first Space Force officer to launch beyond Earth's atmosphere. Crew-9’s mission during this visit was to gain crucial insights into the operations of the Overhead Persistent Infrared Battlespace Awareness Center.
“Manned spaceflight missions are significant in the space operations community, as we prioritize the safety of all astronauts as they transit into orbit,” said U.S. Space Force 1st Lt. Darrell Miller, 11th SWS crew commander. “When our Guardians see a successful human space flight launch, it is a reminder to them that 11th SWS operates on the cutting edge of technology and innovation.”
Beyond its military implications, Crew-9’s visit to 11th SWS highlights the broader significance of space surveillance in maintaining global stability. In an era where space dominance is coveted by nations worldwide, initiatives like OBAC emphasize the imperative of international partnership, collaboration and innovation.
“Without that foundation of capabilities, we just don't explore space," Hague said. “These Guardians make it happen; they just need to know that they make human spaceflight happen.”
The meeting between these space pioneers and the guardians of the skies marks a significant milestone, heralding the endless possibilities beyond Earth's boundaries.
“If you've ever thought of riding a rocket or bounding around on the surface of the moon you need to apply,” Hague finalized.
NASA is currently accepting applications to join the astronaut corps, and the application window is open until the 16th of April.
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