“Our ability to defend ourselves as a nation has become dependent on space,” said Major Jeffrey Rivenbark with Air Force Space Command, 50th Space Wing. He is stationed at New Boston Air Station, an extension of Space Command in Colorado Springs. There are air stations at strategic geographic locations giving the Colorado Springs-based command worldwide reach at all times.
The New Boston station links to satellites. Further south at Cape Cod Air Station, air and space are monitored for ballistic missiles launched toward North America. Supporting military operations and national security are first priority at both stations, but its priority does not allow a pass on responsible spending and environmental stewardship.
It takes a lot of power to run the radar tower at the Cape Code Station. “We are one of the largest energy consumers on Cape Cod. We use about 1.4 megawatts instantaneously on the radar and that’s 24/7,” said Support Officer, Steve Mellin.
A few years back the energy bill for the station was more than $1.5 million a year. Now there are two wind turbines at the station taking advantage of the winds coming off the ocean.
“Our two wind turbines are about 1.68 megawatts when they’re at full production, so it’s reduced our energy bill annually by over a million dollars. A renewable energy source off-setting cost to taxpayers.
The New Boston Station is now dedicated to high tech military operations supported by satellites in space. Previously the station was a bombing site during World War II and into the Korean War.
“The pond was the main target,” said New Boston Air Station, Natural Resources Planner, Steve Najjar. Air Force leadership decided to restore and reclaim the land. “We probably found approximately 50 tons of UXO (Unexploded Ordinance) related scrap and over 100 live items. Out of those 26 were 100 pound lives UXOs”, said Civil Installation Manager, Jeff Oja. The years long process now makes much of the air station natural habitat for wildlife including several endangered species.
These two Space Wing locations show Space Command’s broader approach to the definition of protection. They fulfill key national security missions that also include plans to preserve and protect tax dollars and natural resources.