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Natsios Young Architects

26 April 2003
Source of photos and maps: Mapquest and Terraserver.

See related: Eyeballing the Air Force Satellite Control Network

23rd Space Operations Squadron
New Boston Air Force Station, N.H.

50th Space Wing

50th Space Wing, a component of Air Force Space Command, is located at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. The wing was originally established on July 8, 1985 as the 2nd Space Wing, and then redesignated the 50th Space Wing on January 30, 1992. The wing manages the worldwide Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN).

Controls satellite programs including the Defense Support Program, the Navstar Global Positioning System, the Defense Satellite Communications System, NATO III, and Milstar.


Provide combat capability through command and control (C2) of communication, navigation, warning, and surveillance satellite weapon systems and conduct of expeditionary operations.

The mission of the 50th Space Wing is to command and control operational Department of Defense satellites and manage the worldwide Air Force Satellite Control Network. The wing operates satellite operation centers at Schriever AFB, and remote tracking stations and other command and control facilities around the world. These facilities monitor satellites during launch, put the satellites in their proper orbits following launch, operate the satellites while they are in orbit, and fix satellite anomalies when they occur.

The 50th Operations Group commands and controls assigned operational Department of Defense satellite systems, trains space operations crews, and provides operational support and evaluation functions for management of satellite control centers and assigned ground stations. The group is composed of eight squadrons.  The group is also responsible for the daily operation of the majority of the AFSCN. The network consists of eight subordinate tracking stations located around the world: 23rd Space Operations Squadron, New Boston Air Force Station, N.H.; Detachment 1, Vandenberg AFB, Calif.; Detachment 2, Diego Garcia, Chagos Archipelago; Detachment 3, Thule AB, Greenland; Detachment 4, Kaena Point, Oahu, Hawaii; Detachment 5, Andersen AFB, Guam; Colorado Tracking Station, Schriever AFB, and Oakhanger, England, operated by the United Kingdom. The tracking stations command, track, record and process on-orbit satellite data in support of DOD, NASA, and NATO programs. The wing assumed operational control of the AFSCN in October 1987.

The New Boston Air Force Station (NBAFS) property is located on Chestnut Hill Road in the towns of New Boston, Bedford, Amherst, and Mt. Vernon, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire. The 2,826-acre property is currently owned by the U.S. Air Force (USAF), and consists of developed areas, including a Satellite Communications terminal, antenna systems, engineering, maintenance, security, and administration systems; and undeveloped areas, including five brooks, 15 ponds, former bombing and strafing ranges, recreation facilities, a remote boresight tower, wells, and a pumping station. The property is bordered to the south by the Joe English Reservation; and to the east, west, and north by undeveloped land, with light residential construction to the east.

From 1942 to 1958, the NBAFS property was used as a bombing and strafing target range. Joe English Pond was the primary target, but much of the remainder of the property is littered with unexploded ordnance (UXO) and explosive residues. Since 1958, the property has operated as an Air Force Tracking Station. During the course of routine USAF training, maintenance, and operating procedures, toxic and hazardous wastes have been used and disposed of on the property. From 1960 until 1968, solid waste, including scrap wire, recording tapes, empty 50-gallon cans, and construction debris, was deposited in a landfill just north of Joe English Pond. From the mid-1970s until 1989, fluids from the vehicle maintenance building and wash stall were passed through an oil/water separator prior to being discharged to the ground outside the building. Analytical results of soil samples collected from this area in 1989 indicated the presence of chlorinated solvents, semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs), and metals including chromium, copper, zinc, mercury, and lead. Currently, these fluids undergo wastewater treatment prior to discharge, and floor drains have been sealed. Since 1974, a chemical spill/drum storage area was used to store hazardous wastes generated by regular on-site activities. Drums and batteries have all been removed from this area; however, stained soils were still visible during a site investigation in 1989. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency investigations conducted on the property to date include a Preliminary Assessment and Site Inspection, completed in 1993 and 1994, respectively.

Groundwater occurs in overburden at depths ranging from less than 1 foot (ft) to 8 ft below ground surface; groundwater flow is toward the on-site brooks and ponds. There are no public drinking water supply wells located within 4-radial miles of the property. The estimated population served by private drinking water supply wells within 4-radial miles of the property is 6,397. The location of the nearest private drinking water supply well is unknown, but it is estimated to be located between 0.5- and 1-radial mile from the property. Two on-site NBAFS drinking water supply wells, previously serving 160 people, were closed in 1992 due to contamination with copper and lead, which was likely attributable to contamination from the oil/water separator area. NBAFS personnel now drink bottled water. Analytical results of groundwater samples collected from the property in 1989 indicated the presence of chromium, cadmium, lead, zinc, and copper; however, based on the proximity of nearby active drinking water supply wells, and the direction of groundwater flow, no impacts to off-site groundwater drinking water supply sources are known or suspected.

Stormwater runoff from upland areas drains radially and via unnamed brooks into Joe English Pond, in the center of the property, then flows for 5 miles along Joe English Brook before entering Baboosic Brook. There are no surface water drinking water intakes located along the 15-mile downstream pathway. Sensitive environments along the 15-mile downstream pathway include Clean Water Act (CWA)-protected water bodies, warm-water fisheries, habitats used by State- and Federally-listed threatened species, and approximately 15.5 miles of wetland frontage. Analytical results of sediment samples collected from Joe English Pond and Joe English Brook in 1989 indicated the presence of copper, lead, zinc, chromium, total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs), and 1,3,5-trinitrobenzene, an explosive residue. As a result, a CWA-protected water body and a fishery appear to have been impacted.

Approximately 160 USAF personnel, including eight permanent residents, work on the property. Approximately 193 and 7,106 people reside within 1- and 4-radial miles of the property, respectively. The nearest residence is located on the property. There are approximately 6 acres of wetlands located on the property. Several hundred acres of wetlands and habitat for State- and Federally-protected species exist within 4-radial miles of the property. Vehicular access to the property is restricted by chain-link fences across access roads; however, pedestrian access is unrestricted through wooded areas. Analytical results of surface soil samples collected from the property in 1989 indicated the presence of tetrachloroethylene; 1,1,1-trichloroethane; fluoranthene; pyrene; butylbenzyl phthalate; benzo(a)anthracene; chrysene; bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate; di-n-octyl phthalate; benzo(b)fluoranthene; indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene; benzo(g,h,i)perylene; cadmium; chromium; copper; lead; mercury; zinc; and TPHs. Based on site observations and conditions, and proximity to nearby residential targets, potential impacts to nearby residential and worker populations are unknown.

Remedial activities conducted by USAF, specifically occasional sweeps for UXO, are ongoing. SAND Fact Sheet Last Updated on: 9 March 2001

Reportedly, the property is not currently being investigated by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Protection.

New Boston
Air Force