The General Dynamics Mission Systems HOOK3 Combat Survival Radio team recently joined an Air Force Operational Unit Evaluation which included a simulated search and rescue mission to locate a downed NASA crew.
The exercise simulated a NASA Commercial Crew Program launch abort and subsequent splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean, out of range and out of reach of existing planned rescue resources. This weeklong test event was held at Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Using an Air Force C-17 serving as the rescue vehicle carrying pararescue jumpers (PJs), rafts and gear, the craft flew to the last known position of the capsule and began the search. Our HOOK3 radio team joined in the week of testing, culminating in simulated rescue efforts. General Dynamics HOOK3 radio technical team member Jon Wootten was on board the space capsule with our HOOK3 radio. He successfully communicated with fellow team member Tom Hams who was using our QuickDraw2 Interrogator inside the C-17 aircraft.
The exercise was a success, with our radio and system able to communicate with the capsule 90 nautical miles away. Using the HOOK3 radio, the rescuers and capsule crew quickly communicated to ensure the raft had all the emergency gear necessary before the Air Force pararescue jumpers parachuted from the C-17 to stabilize the capsule and wait for rescue.
After the exercise, Jon Wootten said, “This is why it’s so important to equip the C-17 with combat search and rescue gear, which hopefully never has to be used. Before this, the C-17 was not a rescue aircraft.”
Lt. Col. Christopher Tacheny, chief human space flight support at the Johnson Space Center, who played a major role in organizing the test, praised the work of our HOOK3 team for their “diligence, professional and can-do attitude” during the planning and execution of the mission.