Rocket debris finds new home at AFSEC crash lab
By Keith Wright, Air Force Safety Center Public Affairs
/ Published December 08, 2017
KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
The second stage of a Minuteman II rocket was placed at the Air Force Safety Center crash lab here on Nov. 28.
The remnant augments the Space Mishap Investigation Course curriculum by providing students with a hands-on lab that compliments classroom learning.
“Space Safety is taking major steps towards normalizing efforts to the same degree as Air Force aviation, occupational, and weapons safety disciplines,” said Mark Glissman, Air Force chief of space safety. “We must continue to find innovative ways to enhance training for Air Force space safety professionals through initiatives like this.”
Glissman went on to add that space mishaps are relatively rare, many burn up in reentry or stay in space, making the section of rocket an important acquisition for SMIC.
The 4-meter long section of rocket body is the second space-related object to be featured at the crash lab and it sits next to its predecessor, a debris fragment from a reentered Delta Stage 3.
The rocket body was acquired from the Space and Missile Systems Center, Air Force Space Command, in August by Master Sgt. Jared Ortiz, non-commissioned officer in charge of the Space Safety Division, after being used for testing at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.
“This is the first in a series of future additions that will provide a robust learning experience for our SMIC students,” said Ortiz, “Having a rocket allows our students, who have varying degrees of expertise within the space enterprise, the ability to access tangible equipment to supplement their knowledge of space systems they may or may not have access to.”
He explained the goal of SMIC is to have well-trained safety investigators working in the comprehensive environment of space safety.
The 377th Logistics Readiness Squadron supported AFSEC efforts by unloading and placing the 2,000-pound remnant on crash lab property.