Poker Flat Celebrates 50 years and draws in big crowd to celebrate

Published: Mar. 11, 2019 at 9:34 PM AKDT
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Located 30 Miles North Of Fairbanks, Poker Flat Research Range Opened It's Gates And Welcomed Hundreds Of People To Celebrate The Facilities 50th Birthday.

Jen Alspach Is A Graduate Student At UAF's Atmospheric Sciences Department. She Spoke About The Lidar Facility At Poker Flat.

"So Were Here At The Lidar Lab Showing The Public Around. We Use Lasers To Study The Atmosphere. Specifically We Get Atmospheric Density Profiles Here And We Derive Temperature From That. Were Interested In The Middle Atmosphere, So The Upper Stratosphere, Mesosphere And Lower Thermosphere," Said Alpach.

She Says This Is Really Important Because This Is A Region Of The Atmosphere That Is Sometimes Ignored Or Not As Fully Studied.

"When People Think Atmospheric Science They Usually Think Of The Lower Atmosphere, So This Is A Region That We Are Interested In And We Are Just Excited To Show The Public Around And Give Them An Idea Of What We Do Here," She Said.

Poker Flat Is Best Known For Launching Scientific Sounding Rockets And Performing Satellite Tracking. It Is Also A Hub For Flying Unmanned Aircraft, Aurora Research And Home To The Study Of The Arctic Atmosphere And Ionosphere.

Mark Conde, Professor Of Physics UAF Said, "I Work At The Geophysical Institute And The Subject That I Am Interested In, My Research Field Is In How The Aurora Disturbs The Weather In The Upper Atmosphere. How The Aurora Disturbs The Winds And Temperatures In The Upper Atmosphere. And So Those Interactions Are Occurring At Altitudes Above 100 Kilometers And There Are Ways You Can Measure Temperatures From The Grounds But For A Lot Of The Detail Measurements You Need To Go To The Place Where You Have To Be And That Means You Want To Go There," Conde Explained.

Many Came To Honor The Facilities Achievements And Those Who Have Been a part Of All The Research Over The Years.

Scott Kawasaki, Alaska Legislator For The Fairbanks District Was There To Share A Citation With Those At The Event.

"To Date The Number Of Launches Here Totals In An Impressive 1800 Metrologic Rockets, 342 Sounding Rockets, And Poker Flat Remains The Only, I’ll Say This Again, The Only University Owned Rocket Range In The World. And It Operated Under Contracts With Nasa, Which Is Part Of The Goddard Space Flight Center. So The 30-Th Alaska Legislature Celebrates The 50-Th Year Of Research At Poker Flat Research Range, And Honors It's Continued Excellence," Kawasaki Said To The People In The Room.

For 50 Years Poker Flat Research Range Has Been On The Forefront In Arctic Science And Research And Is Looking Forward To Celebrating The Next 50 Years. This Is Julie Swisher Reporting.