Sgt. Maj. of the Army Dailey visits ‘Space Soldiers’ at Army Astronaut Detachment

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel Dailey visits with the Army Astronaut Detachment at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, Feb. 28. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Ms. Dottie K. White (USASMDCARSTRAT))

By Ms. Dottie K. White (USASMDC/ARSTRAT) March 2, 2018

HOUSTON, Texas — Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey, who is the Army Chief of Staff’s personal adviser on matters affecting the enlisted force, visited the Army Astronaut Detachment at the Johnson Space Center Feb. 28 on behalf of Army senior leadership.

There are currently three active duty Army astronauts who are assigned to the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s NASA detachment — Lt. Col. Andrew Morgan, Maj. Anne McClain and Maj. Frank Rubio (astronaut candidate).

These Soldiers help the Army define its requirements for the space program and enhance the Army’s use of space capabilities.

Morgan, the detachment commander who is assigned for his first mission to the International Space Station in 2019, said it was a real honor for the sergeant major of the Army, or SMA, to take the time to visit them in Houston.

“It’s rare for such a senior member of the Army leadership team to come down to Johnson Space Center to see what we do,” said Morgan. “The SMA told us he wanted to get to every place on the planet that Soldiers serve — off the planet is a little tougher; we can’t get him to the International Space Station. But we were able to give him a detailed tour of the facilities where astronauts train and see Army astronauts at work supporting human spaceflight and training for upcoming missions. The SMA is excited for our mission and anxious to share the story of Army astronauts and how space Soldiers serve our nation’s human spaceflight program.”

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel Dailey discusses human spaceflight with Army astronauts (from left) Maj. Frank Rubio, Lt. Col. Andrew Morgan and Maj. Anne McClain during his visit to the Army Astronaut Detachment at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, Feb. 28. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Ms. Dottie K. White (USASMDCARSTRAT))

During his visit, the SMA was given a tour of the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, which NASA uses not only for astronaut training and the refinement of spacewalk procedures, but also to develop flight procedures and verify hardware compatibility — all of which are necessary to achieve mission success.

He also went to Ellington Field, where the primary function is to train astronauts for spaceflight; the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility, here the mission is to provide world class training for space flight crews and their support personnel; and the mission control center, where flight controllers keep a constant watch on the ISS crew’s activities and monitor spacecraft systems, crew health and safety as they check every system to ensure operations proceed as planned.

Dailey said there were a couple of reasons for his visit.

“First of all, these are Soldiers,” he said. “They belong to the United States Army. We have Soldiers everywhere. They’re out in the world. It’s our job to go out there and see the great things that our Soldiers are doing.

“The second reason is to highlight the importance of the fact that we have Soldier astronauts, and that is amazing even to me,” Dailey continued. “I’m the sergeant major of the Army. I’ve been in the Army a long time. And that’s amazing to me, and it just shows the great contributions that Soldiers are doing from the edge of the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan to outer space. Is that unbelievable or what?

Retired Army Col. Shane Kimbrough, NASA astronaut, describes some of the features of the T-38 jet which is used to train astronauts for spaceflight to Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel Dailey during his visit to the Army Astronaut Detachment at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, Feb. 28. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Ms. Dottie K. White (USASMDCARSTRAT))

“And the third reason is to show our support from the senior leadership perspective,” he added. “There are only three Army astronauts down here right now. They’re just as important as the other 1.18 million Soldiers we have everywhere else in the world. And they deserve that level of attention from the senior leadership of the Army and they deserve that appreciation because every single one of them has worked extremely hard to get here.”

Morgan highlighted the fact that the Army Astronaut Program is about all Soldiers regardless of rank.

“The sergeant major of the Army represents the senior Army Soldier, and the officers and astronauts of the NASA detachment consider themselves Soldiers first,” said Morgan. “The message that we really want to get out there is that the Army Astronaut Program is about all Soldiers. We don’t have a selection very often, maybe once every four years or so, but I want to emphasize that, while there are requirements to apply, rank is not one of them. We take all types. One thing that we’ve proven over and over again is that good Soldiers make good astronauts.”

McClain, who is scheduled for her first mission to the ISS in November, said it was a real privilege to have the SMA visit.

“It’s not often that we can host guests from the Army,” McClain said. “We love showing the Army what we do. We’re very proud of our unit, so to have someone like the SMA who really has the ability to share with others what we’re doing and just seeing his genuine concern for the Soldiers down here is a real honor. It’s been really fun to show him around.”

Please follow and like us:

New Army Missile Defense Strategy Due Out This Summer

Defense News, Jen Judson

WASHINGTON – Given the many emerging changes to strategies, concepts and doctrine over the past several years, the Army is crafting a new air-and-missile defense strategy that is due out this summer.

Lt. Gen. James Dickinson, the service’s Space and Missile Defense Command commander, said Jan. 25 at a missile defense event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington that the strategy has been in the works since March 2017. The final product incorporates priorities noted in the recent National Defense Strategy and the Army Operating Concept, as well as the changing operational environment, evolving threats and emerging technologies.

The new strategy will focus on the 2018 to 2028 time frame and will “nest” with the National Defense Strategy, the Army’s operating concept and the service’s new doctrinal concept of multidomain battle.

The strategy will include a comprehensive review — from doctrine to organization to training to equipment to policy and everything in between, according to Dickinson.

And as the strategy is developed, he added, the Army continues to refine its vision for the future AMD force, which is consistent with the Vision of 2020 Joint Integrated Air-and-Missile Defense strategy: where all AMD capabilities from “defensive, passive, offensive, kinetic and non-kinetic are integrated into a comprehensive joint and combined force capable of preventing an adversary from effectively employing any of its offensive air-and-missile weapons.”

The new Army AMD strategy will come on the heels of a overarching missile defense review that is expected to be released soon.

Please follow and like us:

Celebrating the Army’s Explorer 1 Legacy

By Jason B. Cutshaw, USASMDC/ARSTRAT Public Affairs

January 30, 2018

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama — Since America’s beginning, the U.S. Army led the nation in exploration of the continent, and this year it celebrates the 60th anniversary of leading the nation in the exploration of space.

On Jan. 31, 1958, the Army launched Explorer I, the United States’ first satellite, from Launch Complex 26 at the Cape Canaveral Missile Annex, Florida.

The U.S. Earth satellite program began in 1954 as a joint U.S. Army and U.S. Navy proposal. Called Project Orbiter, its goal was to place a scientific satellite into orbit. The Army’s effort, using a military Redstone missile, was rejected in 1955 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s administration in favor of the Navy’s Project Vanguard which used a civilian booster, considered more appropriate for scientific exploration.

The U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Agency, or ABMA, formed at Redstone Arsenal Feb. 1, 1956, to develop the Army’s first offensive ballistic missiles. It was commanded by Maj. Gen. John B. Medaris with Dr. Wernher von Braun serving as its technical director.

Following the launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957, ABMA’s effort using modified Redstone — Jupiter C rockets was revived to catch up with the Soviet Union. Jupiter C would place an Explorer 1 satellite in orbit. With a deadline of only 90 days, the ABMA team went to work.

“We could have been in orbit a year ago,” von Braun said. “Vanguard will never make it. We have the hardware on the shelf. For God’s sake turn us loose and let us do something. We can put up a satellite in 60 days.”

The ABMA team, under the direction of von Braun, worked closely with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to complete the job of modifying the Jupiter-C and building Explorer I in only 84 days. The Navy’s attempt to put the first U.S. satellite into orbit failed with the unsuccessful launch of Vanguard TV-3 on Dec. 6, 1957.

The Explorer I satellite was 80 inches long, 6.25 inches in diameter and weighed 30 pounds.
Dr. James A. Van Allen of the State University of Iowa, who designed and built the scientific instruments on Explorer I said the period following the launch was an anxious period and silence settled over the whole group. He said they drank coffee and chewed their nails, wondering what had happened after the launch. The expectation was that the satellite would go into orbit, come around Earth, and reach California in about 91 minutes.

He added that 91 minutes after launch, when the satellite was supposed to be in the reception window, there was no reception.

“For about an hour following receipt of the last down-range station reports, there was an exasperating absence of information,” Van Allen said. “The clock ticked away and we all drank coffee to allay our collective anxiety. After some 90 minutes all conversation ceased and an air of dazed disappointment settled over the room.

“Then, nearly two hours after launch, a telephone report of confirmed reception of the radio signal by two professional stations in Earthquake Valley, California, was received,” he added. “The roomful of people exploded with exultation, and everyone was pounding each other on the back with mutual congratulations.”

After the successful launch and signal acquisition, von Braun said, “We have now established our foothold in space, we will never give it up again.”

The primary science instrument on the satellite was a cosmic ray detector designed to measure the radiation environment in Earth orbit. Explorer 1 was the first spacecraft to detect a belt of electronically charged particles emanating from the sun and held in place by the earth’s magnetic field. This belt was later named for Van Allen. The satellite continued to return data until its batteries were exhausted after nearly four months. It reentered the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean March 31, 1970, having made more than 58,000 orbits.

On the night of the launch, then an Air Force first lieutenant, Dr. John Meisenheimer Sr., served as a meteorologist with Detachment. 11, 4th Weather Group, at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, and provided weather forecasts to the launch management team throughout the countdown.

“Had I not correctly predicted the extreme upper air wind shear on Jan. 29 and 30, the rocket almost certainly would have gone off-course and been destroyed by Range Safety,” Meisenheimer said.

Meisenheimer was on the roof of the central control building and remembered it being a clear night and realizing he would be a witness to America’s entrance into the space age.

“It is a wonderful memory to have had a part in that historical event that was so very important for the USA,” Meisenheimer said, not knowing how far future NASA teams would take the nation into space.

Approximately two hours after launch, it was confirmed that Explorer 1 had successfully completed its first orbit around the earth.

Meisenheimer said it was a very exciting time and the people he worked with accomplished amazing things. He added that he still cannot believe how far along the technology used to forecast the weather and launch rockets has come.

“I must honestly say that I am very proud of my role in the Explorer 1 launch,” Meisenheimer said. “It was very exciting during the launch. I left the blockhouse of Pad 26A after giving my last forecast and went up high on the steps of the Central Control building so I could get a perfect view of the launch. I can still remember seeing the upper stage rotating as the rocket was launched.”

Years after the success of Explorer I, Van Allen spoke about the significance of the Army taking the first step in leading America’s journey in space exploration.

“The successful orbiting of Explorer I is one of the landmarks in the technical and scientific history of the human race,” Van Allen said. “Its instrumentation revealed the existence of radiation belts around the Earth and opened a massive new field of scientific exploration in space. It inspired an entire generation of young men and women in the United States to higher achievement and propelled the Western World into the Space Age.”

Please follow and like us:

4th Annual Black Tie Charity Ball

*****SAVE THE DATE for the 4th Annual Black Tie Charity Ball.*****

We are in the initial stages of planning our 4th Annual Black Tie Charity Ball. The event will be at the VBC North Hall on 4 August 2018, the Saturday before the Space and Missile Defense conference.

Our 2018 guest speaker will be Maj Gen (Ret) Lynn Collyar, Deloitte.

2018 proceeds will benefit the North Alabama Veterans & Fraternal Organizations Coalition (NAVFOC).

The North Alabama Veterans and Fraternal Organizations Coalition mission is to serve as a venue and communication conduit for member organizations, providing information sharing; a common voice for the member organizations on matters of common interest; coordination and sponsorship of events and activities of interest to the member organizations; and coordination of activities for charitable and educational purposes in compliance with the Internal Revenue Code Section 501c(3) or other appropriate regulations.

Attached are the sponsorship categories for your 2018 planning budget. You can also donate baskets for the silent auction or door prizes, or sponsor a Vet from the Tut Fann Veteran’s Home.

Please lock this date into your calendars. This will be another memorable evening. Share with as many friends as you can, we want to beat 2017 numbers.

In 2015 we had 150 attendees.

In 2016 we had 214 attendees.

In 2017 we had 230 attendees.

Please follow and like us:

3rd Annual Black Tie Charity Ball

The annual Black Tie Charity Ball fundraising event provides financial support to selected Tennessee Valley nonprofit organizations that provide assistance to all Veterans and serving Soldiers and Civilians – active duty, retirees, and their families. This formal event is dedicated to enriching the quality of life of our Soldiers, Veterans, and Families.

This year’s Black Tie Charity Ball will benefit the following local charities:

Madison County Veteran’s Court

CASA of Madison County

Registration and payments may be made at:




Please follow and like us:

2nd Annual Black Tie Charity Ball


2nd Annual Black Tie Charity Ball

On 13 August 2016, the Army Space Professional Association (ASPA), Rocket City Chapter; the Rocket City Adjutant General’s Corps Regimental Association; and the Legacy 4 Korean War Veteran’s Foundation came together to host the 2nd Annual Black Tie Charity Ball.

The Charity Ball raised over $12,000 for our Veterans at the local Floyd E. “Tut” Fann State Veterans Home. This Veteran’s home offers first-rate senior living and care services for senior citizens.

The guest speaker for this event was LTG(R) William “Bill” Phillips. LTG(R) Phillips retired from the U.S. Army on 31 May 2014 as the most senior Army Aviator on active duty. He has 30+ years of aviation and acquisition experience in command & staff positions, and is qualified in the CH-47, UH-1, & OH-58. His speech was heartwarming and focused on the Veterans. LTG(R) Phillips received a thank you gift from the Treasurer of the Army Space Professionals Association, Rocket City Chapter, SFC(R) Phillis Reid.

In attendance were our most honored guests, 12 Veterans from the Tut Fann Veterans Home. These veterans served in WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and/or the Gulf War. Our hearts were all touched as they all stood and sang along to the National Anthem. The DJ played songs from each era our Veterans were at war. They had such a good time they will be invited to all the Charity Balls from here on out.

Also in attendance was COL(R) Victoria Miralda, Vice President, ASPA National and several members of the ASPA Rocket City Chapter.

The 3rd Annual Black Tie Charity Ball is scheduled for 5 August 2017 at the Von Braun Convention Center in Huntsville.

For pictures of the Black Tie Charity Ball, please click here.

Please follow and like us:

2016 St. Patrick’s Day Parade

2016 St. Patrick’s Day Parade

We had a great time at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade!  Thanks to Chuck and Phillis for setting up our float.  A special thanks to Angie for lending us her bales of hay.  Click on the link above to see all our pictures.

Please follow and like us:

Colonel Harry Xenitelis’ Retirement

Xenitelis retirement - February 16, 2016
Photo courtesy of Ms. Carrie David

Join us in congratulating Colonel X and his family on his retirement after 30 years of selfless service to our nation. Colonel X was awarded the Noble Patron of Space for his significant contributions to the operational success, advancement of missions, and the morale and welfare of Army Space.

To view the pictures of his ceremony, please click the picture above.

Good luck in your retirement X Man!

Noble Patron of Space - COL Xenitelis



Please follow and like us:

Inaugural Super 5K & 10K: Mission Accomplished

ASPA Group

On February 7th, Super Bowl Sunday, the Army Space Professionals Association held it’s inaugural Super 5K and 10K at Columbia High School.  We had over 70 people sign up for our run this year, and next year will be even better.  Click here or on the picture above to see all the pictures on our Flickr page.  Thanks for all our association members and volunteers who helped make this a great success.

Thank you to all the runners that came out on a beautiful Sunday morning and helped us raise some money for our ongoing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math scholarship fundraising.

Also, thanks for the incredible support we received from our local industry ASPA run partners:  Analytix, Inc; Dynetics, and a.i. solutions.  We could not have pulled this off without your support!

Click here to see the results of the 5K & 10K.

Please follow and like us:

ASPA RCC Inaugural Super 5k & 10k

Rocket City ASPA Super 5k10k_Save-the-date

Join us for our Inaugural Super 5k & 10k on 7 February, 2016 at Columbia High School.

Registration is now open at

Please follow and like us:
Visit Us On Facebook