Tracking station gets new work

Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The Gilmore Creek satellite tracking station north of Fairbanks will get new work and upgrades following an agreement between Japan and the United States.

The upgrades will allow the United States to control a geostationary satellite that collects weather information over the western Pacific Ocean.

The satellite is in ''storage mode,'' according to a news release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, but is needed to back up a Japanese satellite that is starting to fail.

The Japan Meteorological Agency will pay for the upgrades and operations at Gilmore Creek. No dollar figures were provided.

Fairbanks elected officials and business leaders have expressed worries about the future of the Gilmore Creek station because NOAA is seeking new methods, and perhaps a new location, to control the next generation of polar-orbiting satellites.

Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, said he has been assured the station will continue to operate. NOAA officials also have said that regardless of whether Fairbanks continues to handle the polar-orbiting satellites, the Gilmore Creek station will continue to serve various purposes.

NOAA spokeswoman Pat Viets said Monday that the Japan agreement is an example of that work.

The Gilmore Creek tracking station has operated since the 1960s.



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