GABRESKI AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y., Feb. 24, 2017 — Forty-five members of the New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing are heading to Hawaii, Feb. 27, to participate in a joint NASA and Defense Department mission to evaluate recovery techniques and gear that will be used to recover NASA’s Orion spacecraft, the next generation of American space vehicle.
The team of 45 airmen is made up of pararescuemen; combat rescue officers; survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialists; and other support airmen assigned to the 106th Rescue Wing’s 103rd Rescue Squadron based here.
Pararescuemen are trained to rescue downed aviators behind enemy lines and from land and water environments. Each pararescue airman undergoes two years of training that includes extensive medical training as well as training in parachute jumping, scuba diving and survival skills.
The pararescuemen are experienced in dropping fully stocked rescue boats to recover personnel.
The New York Air National Guardsmen will work with experts from NASA, the Air Force and the Department of Defense Human Spaceflight Support Office in developing techniques for air-dropping gear needed to recover the crew from an Orion screw module and fit the floating spacecraft with special equipment.
The New York airmen will conduct airdrops and practice helping astronauts out of the spacecraft, providing medical assistance if necessary. The jumps will help NASA and the military test a number of systems and procedures for future launches.
While the 106th airmen will be testing recovery equipment, they will not be working with an actual or simulated Orion capsule.
This is not the first time the New York Air National Guard has been involved in a spacecraft recovery mission.
The 106th Rescue Wing provided a rescue support package at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, which is located adjacent to the Kennedy Space Center, for 109 of the Space Shuttle missions. The mission of the National Guardsmen was to rescue astronauts who were forced to abandon their spacecraft during the launch sequence...