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Grand Forks Air Force Base set to host nation's first space networking center

U.S. Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer, both North Dakota Republicans, announced that the Space Development Agency has awarded a nearly $325 million operations and integration contract to General Dynamics Missions Systems, based in Fairfax, Virginia, to establish the Space Networking Center at Grand Forks Air Force Base.

Grand Forks Air Force Base front gate
Grand Forks Air Force Base front gate
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GRAND FORKS — A Virginia-based company has received a large federal contract to establish the first Space Networking Center at Grand Forks Air Force Base, as well as a similar facility in Alabama.

U.S. Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer, both North Dakota Republicans, announced that the Space Development Agency has awarded a nearly $325 million operations and integration contract to General Dynamics Missions Systems, based in Fairfax, Virginia, to establish the Space Networking Center at Grand Forks Air Force Base. The contract will also include a similar facility at Redstone Arsenal near Huntsville, Alabama.

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U.S. Senators Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven announce during a press conference at Grand Forks City Hall that the Grand Forks Air Force Base is poised to host future ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaisance) missions that will keep GFAFB in a central position for future Air Force plans. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

The Space Networking Center will support the Space Development Agency’s new low-Earth orbit mission and serve as the “backbone for all U.S. military communications across the globe,” according to a news release from Hoeven’s office.

Earlier this month, Space Force Chief Gen. John Raymond committed to continue advancing the new center and LEO mission, as the Space Development Agency will become part of the Space Force in October.

“Today’s funding from SDA ensures the continued support of space operations coming to Grand Forks,” Hoeven said in a statement. “We’ve worked to establish Grand Forks Air Force Base as the ideal location to host the Space Development Agency’s first space networking center and appreciate the opportunity to discuss this with U.S. Space Force Chief John Raymond last week.”

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Cramer also gave his support to the project, noting that “Grand Forks plays an important role in defending our country by bolstering our presence in space.”

He added he looks forward to the Space Development Agency “establishing its Tranche 1 operations center in North Dakota.”

“This is vital to improving our space-based defense capabilities, strengthening our national security, and further securing the future of Grand Forks Air Force Base,” Cramer said.

Grand Forks and the base have seen a number of visits from Space Force and Space Development Agency officials over the past year or so. Raymond recently gave the spring commencement speech at UND and has visited the campus several times.

Space Development Agency Director Derek Tournear has also visited the area. Hoeven previously hosted Tournear in North Dakota to outline efforts to establish the new center and announce the new laser communications project, which the agency is pursuing in conjunction with General Atomics.

Related Topics: KEVIN CRAMERJOHN HOEVEN
Sydney Mook has been the managing editor at the Herald since April 2021. In her role she edits and assigns stories and helps reporters develop their work for readers.

Mook has been with the Herald since May 2018 and was first hired as the Herald's higher education reporter where she covered UND and other happenings in state higher education. She was later promoted to community editor in 2019.


For story pitches contact her at smook@gfherald.com or call her at 701-780-1134.
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