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Onizuka Air Force Station, Sunnyvale, California, USA

July 19th, 2006 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 
 

Onizuka Air Force Station is a United States Air Force installation in Sunnyvale, California at the intersection of Highway 101 and California State Route 237. Its main building is large, pale blue, windowless, known locally as the Blue Cube, with an array of parabolic dish antennas used for communication with remote tracking stations used to control military satellites. Onizuka AFS is operated by the 21st Space Operations Squadron, a geographically separated unit (GSU) of the 50th Space Wing.

Built in 1960 on land near Moffett Field, purchased from Lockheed Martin (then Lockheed), the station was originally known as the Air Force Satellite Test Center. It was later renamed the Air Force Satellite Control Facility, and Sunnyvale Air Force Station. In 1986, the base was renamed in honor of Lt. Col. Ellison Onizuka, one of the astronauts who, on January 28, 1986, died in the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion. On January 26, 1994 Onizuka AFB was renamed Onizuka AFS.

Realignment of Onizuka Air Force Station was recommended and accepted as part of the 1995 round of the Base Realignment and Closure Program. In summary, the 750th Space Group was to be inactivated and its functions relocated to Falcon AFB, Colorado. Detachment 2 of the Space and Missile Systems Center would relocate to Falcon AFB, whilst some other undisclosed tenants would remain in the existing facilities.

Despite this decision, Onizuka Air Force Station is still quite active, although virtually all of its activities are undisclosed, perhaps even classified. Notably, it served as control center for the Mars Pathfinder mission in 1996-1997.

On May 13, 2005, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recommended closing the Onizuka Air Force Station in Sunnyvale as part of a fifth round of military base closures and re-sizing.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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