Grand Forks air base selected for new satellite mission

September 17, 2021 GMT

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — The Grand Forks Air Force Base has been selected for a military satellite mission, North Dakota’s U.S. senators announced Friday.

Republican Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer said the base will be home to a Space Networking Center, which is part of the Pentagon’s Space Development Agency’s new low-Earth orbit mission.

NASA defines low-Earth orbit as having an altitude of 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers) or less.

Hoeven says the mission serves as the backbone for all U.S. military communications.

“Grand Forks is the ideal location to house this new Space Networking Center,” Hoeven said in a statement. The mission “provides essential support for our national security and will help our nation stay ahead of our adversaries in developing critical new technologies,” he said.

Hoeven’s office said a military installation in Alabama also was selected as a center for the mission.