The 22nd Space Operations Squadron at Scriever AFB, Colo., will decommission the Colorado Tracking Station, also known as PIKE, during a Sept. 29 ceremony, according to an Air Force Space Command release. PIKE began communicating with military satellites in 1988 and has run 174,900 satellite supports and maintained visibility of 97 of the Air Force Satellite Control Network’s 154 satellites. “During this span, PIKE has provided us with the most reliable satellite operations in the AFSCN,” said Brian Bayless, 22nd SOPS mission support flight chief. “It has also provided the largest ground communications bandwidth in the network [and] … had the highest contact success rate of any antenna in the AFSCN at 99.5 percent.” PIKE did not require onsite command and was the only site that deployed all of the AFSCN antenna types over the last 20 years. The station has not been in operation since the summer of 2012, but has provided test support for next generation transportable antenna for the last two years. Demolition began on the tracking station last week, but the control building will continue to provide network connections for future AFSCN testing.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.