North Dakota will host the first space networking center

(TNS) – A Virginia-based company has received a major federal contract to establish the first space networking center at Grand Forks Air Force Base, along with a similar facility in Alabama.

American senses John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer, both Republicans from North Dakota, announced that the Space Development Agency has awarded an operations and integration contract worth nearly $325 million to General Dynamics Missions Systems, based in Fairfax, Va., 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.

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 around the world,” according to a press release from Hoeven’s office.

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

“Today’s funding from the SDA ensures continued support for future space operations in Grand Forks,” Hoeven said in a statement. “We have 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 the Chief of the U.S. Space Force. John Raymond last week.”

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

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

“It’s critical to improving our space 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 received a number of visits from Space Force and Space Development Agency officials over the past year. Raymond recently delivered the spring commencement address at UND and has toured the campus several times.

Space Development Agency Director Derek Tournear 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.

© 2022 The Grand Forks Herald (Grand Forks, ND). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.