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22 January 2006

Maps from Mapquest.

Aerial photos from which released on January 13, 2006 high-resolution photos taken in April 2004 of Oahu Island, HI.

MISSION: To provide uninterrupted support, including command, tracking and data retrieval to all satellites supported by the Air Force Satellite Control Network.

DESCRIPTION: This tracking station is located on the crest of the ridge near the extreme west tip of Oahu at an elevation between 700 and 1,400 feet. The site includes a Global Positioning System (GPS) Monitor Station. Detachment 4 is one of eight worldwide satellite tracking stations in the Air Force Satellite Control Network. The detachment provides telemetry, tracking and commanding functions for Department of Defense space assets, including weather, early warning, navigation, communications, and other high priority space programs.

LOCATION: West Oahu.
SIZE: 153 acres.
COMMAND RESPONSIBLE FOR OPERATIONS: Detachment 4, 22d Space Operations Squadron
PERSONNEL: 4 Military, 19 Civilian
ANNUAL BUDGET: $2.2 million operating costs; $117,900 civilian payroll

The 15th Airlift Wing(15 AW) leases 153 acres from the State of Hawaii and private landowners for Kaena Point STS. The installation is operated by Detachment 4, 22nd Space Operations Squadron, 50th Space Wing. Systems on Kaena Point STS were originally installed to support the Discoverer Satellite Program and included antennas for acquisition, telemetry reception, and space vehicle command. Through the years, the installation has also supported other Department of Defense (DoD) space programs, including a satellite communications network (Advent), the Missile Detection and Alarm System (MIDAS), the Satellite and Missile Observation System (SAMOS), and the North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) command. In 1968, a Space Ground Link Subsystem (SGLS) antenna was installed. During 1971 and 1972, a second SGLS antenna and an AN/FPQ-14 radar were installed (Higginbotham/Briggs and Associates (HBA), 1995. Kaena Point Satellite Tracking Station, Hawaii. Comprehensive Plan/General Plan.)



American military satellites are controlled in orbit by the Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN), a worldwide system which tracks the satellites, receives and processes data transmitted by them, and sends commands to them. Dedicated control segments support individual satellite systems, but a common user element provides support to all satellites belonging to DOD. The common user element presently consists of two control nodes, two scheduling facilities (one at each node), eight remote tracking sites, and the associated communication links.

At the time this overview was written, there were eight remote tracking stations. Their locations (with the years in which they were built) were as follows: Vandenberg Tracking Station (1959) at Vandenberg AFB, California; New Hampshire Station (1959) near New Boston, New Hampshire; Hawaii Tracking Station (1959) on the island of Oahu, Hawaii; Thule Tracking Station (1962) at Thule AFB, Greenland; Guam Tracking Station (1965) at Anderson AFB, Guam; Oakhanger Telemetry Control Station (1978) near London, United Kingdom; Colorado Tracking Station (1989) at Falcon AFB, Colorado; and Diego Garcia Tracking Station (1991) on the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

Another significant upgrade was the Automated Remote Tracking Station (ARTS) program, which introduced more modern equipment at the tracking stations. The contract for Phase I of the ARTS program was awarded to Ford Aerospace and Communications Corporation on 1 June 1984, and the contract for Phase II was also awarded to Ford Aerospace on 5 August 1988. The Phase II contract expired in March 1995. By that time, ARTS equipment had been installed at all the existing tracking stations and had been used to establish new tracking stations in Colorado Springs and on the island of Diego Garcia. The new equipment offered improved reliability, increased the operational capacity of the tracking stations, and automated many of the functions they performed. Automation and improved reliability reduced the manpower required to operate and maintain the tracking stations and reduced operations and maintenance costs.

SMC awarded a series of contracts dealing with the AFSCN to Lockheed Martin in 1996. These efforts would modernize most segments of the AFSCN and increase its capabilities. They covered range and communications development, network operations, network integration, and command and control sustainment. By early 2003, the contractor had completed most of these efforts except for certain improvements to the AFSCN’s communications segment. However, the program office decided to consolidate sustainment of the AFSCN with ongoing development, systems engineering, and integration. On 18 December 2001, SMC awarded the effort, known as the Satellite Control Network Contract, to Honeywell Technology Solutions. By 2002, SMC was also managing a coordinated series of modernization projects, known as the Remote Tracking Station Block Change, to upgrade and standardize each of the tracking stations in turn. Design reviews took place in 2002 and 2003, and the tracking stations were scheduled to actually receive the changes from 2004 through 2009.


Left: The Air Force satellite tracking station at Kaena Point on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, soon after its construction in 1959. Right: Kaena Point in about the early 1990s.

Kaena Point Satellite Tracking Station


1 and 2 Stations

3 Stations

1 Entrance Station

2 Station

3 Stations