May 24, 2019

Air Force to close weather-satellite tracking station

CONNOR — A landmark in central Aroostook County will disappear when the golf ball-like structure visible from Route 1 in Connor is disassembled May 14.

Operations of Detachment 2 of the Satellite Operations Group of the U.S. Air Force’s Space Command have been transferred to Thule Air Force Base, Greenland.

Since 1963, the station has tracked weather satellites, recorded the information and simultaneously transmitted to a second satellite, which relayed the weather information to the Global Weather Central office at Offut AFB in Omaha, Neb.

The weather information is used by all branches of the U.S. military. The information was taken initially by a rotating dish housed in the golf ball-like structure and transmitted to the Nebraska site by a stationary disk.

Commonly known as the Blotner Site, for Samuel Blotner, who leased the site to the Air Force for $1, the 8.5-acre parcel will remain under federal control.

The Blotner station, with its 30 military personnel, has received commendations for its 99 percent success rate in gathering weather information.

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