Schriever Air Force Base operates missions in Colorado Springs and at sites all around the globe. FOX21 went to the east coast to see what goes on at the New Boston Air Force Station.
It all began in 1960, and it used to be a bombing range used by the U.S. Air Force, but now it’s the New Boston Air Force Station.
“When you tell people that we’re a former bombing range it blows their mind,” said Jeff Oja, the Civil Engineering Installation Manager.
In the rolling hills of Hillsborough County, New Hampshire sits the 22,826-acre installation of the 23rd Space Operations Squadron.
“Our mission is very, very important for communications to keep Americans safe,” Oja explained.
The NBAFS is one of eight Air Force Satellite Control Network Remote Tracking Stations that works right alongside Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.
“Schriever is where the satellite operations occur, so the actual flying of the satellites and performing of the missions of the satellites,” said Maj. Jeffery Rivenbark, of the 50th Space Wing, 50th Network Operations Group, 23rd Space Operations Squadron. “We are here to provide an operator the ability to contact those satellites around the globe.”Maj. Rivenbank added that satellites won’t fly themselves, “In order for a satellite to do its mission, you have to be able to communicate with it. Our role here is to be able to provide that communication.”
In order for airmen at Schriever AFB to be able to contact those satellites they have to know where they are, and that’s where the NBAFS comes in.
Rivenbank puts it simply, “What I tell my family and friends about what we do here at New Boston Air Force Station… We provide the ability for an operator, located somewhere else around the globe, to speak to their satellite on the other side of it. Without that capability, satellites don’t fly, data doesn’t flow, missions don’t get accomplished.”
“Basically, we have to have the capability to communicate with a satellite as far as 22,000 miles out in space in geosynchronized orbit,” Rivenbank added.
The satellites are 43 feet in diameter, and service that purpose of tracking satellites in orbit. There’s no days off when supporting USSTRATCOM.
“There’s no down time with satellite operations. We have to man our ops floors to be able to provide that coverage, whether someone gets sick or someone needs to take leave,” Rivenbank said. “We have to account for that, to make sure that these sites are up and running 24/7 365.”
Rivenbank added, “At any given time, any one of these eight facilities worldwide is in contact with every single satellite that the United States has in space.”
The 23rd Space Operations Squadron says space has become a facet of everyday life for all of us, whether we realize it or not.
“Our ability to operate every major military operation depends on space,” Rivenbank said. “Our ability to defense ourself as a nation has become dependent on space.”