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Hanscom logistics supports US-Japan space partnership

  • Published
  • By K. Houston Waters
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

Hanscom’s 66th Logistics Readiness Squadron recently facilitated secure transport of the first of two Space System Command satellite payloads to Japan.

In support of space security, the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System-Hosted Payload, or QZSS-HP, was delivered from Hanscom to the 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota Air Force Base, Japan. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory is the primary developer.

The QZSS-HP program demonstrates a shared commitment to increase space partnerships in alignment with both allies' national space policies, central to the Space Force priorities of expanding cooperation contributing to integrated deterrence and international security.

"This is an exciting and important mission," said 1st Lt. Joe Santiago, QZSS-HP’s SSC Logistics and Security lead. "QZSS-HP's success depends on the contributions of a number of mission partners in both the U.S. and Japan, including our partners at Yokota and Hanscom."

To facilitate the transfer, 66 LRS Air Transportation Function, or ATF, personnel worked with MIT-LL and Space Force personnel to plan the movement of the hosted payload to Japan aboard an Air Force C-17 aircraft.

ATF supervisor Tyler “Trevor” Lima-Bybell said because this was the first-ever handling and movement of QZSS-HP, it was critical the payload was properly placed onto the aircraft pallets and safely loaded onto the aircraft. The ATF also performed inspections to ensure airworthiness.

 “After over a year of meetings and dry runs, it was great to be able to get in and get our hands dirty and help MIT-LL and SSC with their mission,” he said. “The ATF loves being able to do our jobs, and all the MIT-LL folks were thankful for our expertise in guiding them through the shipment process. We are certainly excited for their next cargo movement so we can do it all over again.”

Timothy Veen, ATF’s Deployment and Distribution flight chief, understood this was an important mission for their team, because without their support SSC and MIT-LL would have needed to import resources from another location.   

“I’m extremely proud of Trevor Lima-Bybell, Nick Taylor, Sean McCusker, and the entire team for making this mission happen,” he said. “They were eager to be involved and were true professionals along the way.”

The QZSS mission has been supported by SSC and MIT-LL since its inception in 2018 as a rapid acquisition and pacesetting partnership effort with Japan.

According to the QZSS-HP program manager, Lt. Col. Brian Fredrickson, the 66th LRS played a critical role in the space partnership between the two nations.  

“Hats off to 66 LRS for their support in making this historic delivery a success,” he said. “Space Systems Command is grateful for our partnership with the 66th Air Base Group and we look forward to working together again on the next shipment.”  

Air Force and MIT-LL personnel have begun mobilizing to Japan to support continued integration and test efforts, said Fredrickson.