Alaska Satellite Facility
Delivering Remote Sensing Data Since 1991

Milestones, ASF Satellite Tracking Ground Station

2017: New 9-Meter Antenna

AS2, the first antenna installed at ASF, is removed in March 2017 from the top of UAF's Elvey Building to make way for its replacement. The rocket is an exhibit installed next to the Geophysical Institute.

ASF's first antenna, installed on the Elvey Building in 1988, is replaced with a new antenna, provided by NASA. The 9.1-meter antenna, known as AS2, significantly upgrades the capabilities of the ASF Satellite Tracking Ground Station, positioning the facility as both the predominant university-operated ground station in the world and the leading NASA ground station in Alaska.

A crane assists with finishing touches on the newly installed 9.1-meter antenna on top of UAF's Elvey Building. © PWP Photography

2014: New 11-Meter Antenna

Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) AS3 DeploymentASF's third antenna, provided by NASA, becomes operational. The 11-meter antenna, named AS3, significantly upgrades the capabilities of the ASF Satellite Tracking Ground Station. The antenna was installed in the fall of 2013.

Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) ribbon cutting at ground station for AS3
Ribbon-cutting ceremony in June 2014. Left to right: Wade Albright, ASF Production Supervisor; David Carter, NASA NEN Project Manager; Brian Rogers, UAF Chancellor; Badri Younes, NASA SCaN Deputy Associate Administrator; Nettie La Belle-Hamer, ASF Director and UAF Associate Vice Chancellor for Research; Peter Vrotsos, NASA Director of Network Services; Jeremy Nicoll, ASF Project Engineer. Photo credit: Lisa W. Drew, ASF.



2004: Uplink Upgrades

Command telemetry uplink capabilities are added to the ASF Satellite Tracking Ground Station control room (pictured) and the AS1 11-meter antenna.

Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) Old Control Room
 Photo © Lester Lefkowitz.

1995: First 11-Meter Antenna

ASF installs the facility's first 11-meter antenna, AS1, in a forested area 300 meters from the Satellite-Tracking Ground Station control room. The structure is mounted on a concrete extension that puts the receiving feed almost 19 meters above the ground surface.

Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) AS1

Photo © Lester Lefkowitz.

1992: First JERS-1 Downlink

ASF's first successful downlink of data from Japanese Earth Resources Satellite 1 (JERS-1) captures part of the Yukon River.

Scientists have used SAR images of the Yukon River Basin to study ecological change, including the ecosystem’s absorption and release of carbon, a greenhouse gas.

Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) image of the Yukon River basin
© 1992 JAXA / METI.

1991: First Downlinks

ASF starts downlinking data from European Remote Sensing Satellite 1 (ERS-1). The facility soon receives 70 minutes of data a day — seven times more than the 10 minutes originally anticipated. 

Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) First ERS-1 image downlinked at ASF

The first ERS-1 SAR data downloaded by ASF records the wetlands of Point Barrow as well as the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas surrounding this  northernmost tip of the United States. The two seas meet at Point Barrow. Wind patterns can be seen in the water. SAR imagery yields significant information about water and moisture status of landscapes. © 1991 ESA.

1988: First Antenna

Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) AS2

After installation of AS2 was completed in 1991. Photo © Lester Lefkowitz

Work begins on modifying the top of the Elvey Building at the University of Alaska Fairbanks for installation of a 10-meter receiving-station antenna, now named AS2. Anticipated data volume for the antenna will be 10 minutes of reception a day. The eight-story building is able to support the weight of the antenna because it was originally constructed to bear an additional two floors. 

Get SAR Data

Get SAR Data

Select and download SAR data online using Vertex.

Use the ASF API for downloading SAR data via a command line.