Videos: Today's Military
    Air Force Reserve

    A Global Positioning Systems (GPS) Satellites Operator(02:26)

    Air Force Reserve Senior Airman Jessica Eastburn works as a Global Positioning Systems (GPS) satellites operator. As part of her duties, she monitors the same satellites that help people — both military and civilian — get to their destinations.

    While in the Air Force Reserve, Eastburn receives the same training as her active-duty counterparts, but she is able to serve close to home and pursue her college degree.

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Senior Airman Jessica Eastburn: My name is Senior Airman Jessica Eastburn, and I am in the Air Force Reserve in the 19th Base Operation Squadron. My job is a satellite operator. We are the only ones who are allowed to physically control the satellite. The satellites are manned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. So the schedule comes out, and you work six days on and four days off.

Well, the satellite's used for navigation, mainly, for all users. Mostly for civilian users, most people they have it on their phones, in their cars. It's also used for war fighting, for navigation. It's also used for nuclear detection and timing.

The main things we do are state of health and navigation, and dumps. What those are, state of health is when you check all the telemetry screens, which is the data on the satellite, and make sure that it's healthy, that nothing's broken, that nothing needs to be fixed by us, and that it's not going where it's not supposed to be. Then for a navigation upload, that's our main mission, and obviously it's global positioning, and we need to make sure that navigation is good for civilian and military users. It's just to make sure that it's in the right plane and that it's sending down the correct navigation signal for where it's at.

One of the missions of the GPS system is that we do nuclear detection, and the dumps collect the nuclear detection information. We work with actually another squadron for that called AFTAC.

The space career field is one of those career fields in the Military that is very secret. It's because we handle classified materials, so it's really interesting to know things that are really important for the security of the nation. It's a big responsibility, but at the same time it goes along with the job, and it's not hard to do if you're a trustworthy person.

When I explain my job to family members, acquaintances and friends, in college and everything, it's hard to communicate sometimes to people exactly what it is, but when I say GPS, global positioning system, it really connects with people, and then they get really excited. They think it's cool because I'm doing something in the Military that benefits them as a civilian.

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