Hoeven: Cavalier Air Force Station to Join U.S. Space Force

Re-designation Aligns with Senator’s Efforts to Grow North Dakota’s Role in Nation’s Space Operations

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, today announced that the Cavalier Air Force Station will join the U.S. Space Force on July 30. The site will be re-designated as the Cavalier Space Force Station and will continue to serve in the tracking of Earth-orbiting objects.

This aligns with the senator’s efforts to ensure a role for North Dakota, including the Cavalier station and the Grand Forks Air Force Base, in standing up the Space Force. To this end, Hoeven raised this priority in discussions with:

  • Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown, Jr., along with Senator Kevin Cramer, during the general’s recent visit to the Grand Forks region.
  • General John Raymond, Chief of the U.S. Space Force, including during a recent Senate Defense Appropriations Committee hearing.

“The Cavalier Air Force Station has long been an important part of America’s space operations, and that’s why we made the case with military leadership for ensuring the station continues in this role as we stand up the Space Force,” Hoeven said. “This re-designation is part of our broader efforts to build a central role for North Dakota as we move into this new chapter in the race in space, building on the low-Earth orbit satellite mission and the UAS laser communications project that we’ve worked to bring to Grand Forks.”

Today’s announcement builds on Hoeven’s work to grow North Dakota’s role in U.S. space operations. This includes:

  • Establishing a new space networking center in Grand Forks and linking it with unmanned aircraft operations in the Red River Valley, including the 319th RW in Grand Forks.
    • Hoeven recently hosted Space Development Agency (SDA) Director Dr. Derek Tournear in North Dakota to review these efforts.
  • Securing a $6 million award from the SDA to General Atomics to demonstrate satellite to MQ-9 Reaper laser communications.
    • Utilizing high frequency lasers, rather than radio frequencies, enables transmissions between satellites and unmanned aircraft to use less power and be more secure against detection and interference.
    • These capabilities could be used to enhance the MQ-9 mission flown by the North Dakota Air National Guard’s 119th Wing in Fargo.

The SDA recently launched five satellites central to the space networking center and the General Atomics project. The satellites will fly in low-Earth orbit (LEO) and be used to demonstrate the capabilities of a planned, broad network of satellites, which will serve as the backbone for all U.S. military communications across the globe. Of these, the two Laser Interconnect and Networking Communication System (LINCS) satellites will demonstrate laser communications between satellites and MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial systems (UAS).