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New satellite antenna is operational

Image: 
This new 9-meter dish sits atop the Elvey Building at the University
of Alaska Fairbanks. Photo by Jessica Matthews.
Sue Mitchell

The new blue antenna that sits atop the Elvey Building at the University of Alaska Fairbanks is now operational.

The antenna was installed in March and replaced an antenna that had been a West Ridge landmark for the past 25 years. Staff at the Alaska Satellite Facility ground station have been testing the new 9-meter satellite dish since then.

The new antenna will improve the satellite facility’s ability to download satellite data, which is used by scientists studying a wide variety of Arctic-related topics such as sea ice, coastal dynamics and glaciers, as well as studies in other fields such as urban development.

ASF director Nettie LaBelle-Hamer will host discussions about the antenna systems with visiting NASA personnel, followed by a ribbon-cutting reception on Tuesday, Oct. 3 in the Akasofu Building lobby from 4–5:30 p.m. She’ll be joined by Badri Younes, NASA’s deputy associate administrator of the Space Communications and Navigation program; David Carter, NASA’s project manager for the Near Earth Network; and UAF Chancellor Daniel White.

The new antenna allows NASA to support current and future satellite needs from the UAF West Ridge location. The Near Earth Network is managed by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Virginia and has more than a dozen member ground stations. The ASF ground station is the only university-based member of the network.