Hoeven: SDA Awards Funding to Establish Space Networking Center at Grand Forks Air Force Base

Senator Worked to Advance Center & Secure LEO Satellite Mission, Which Will Serve as Backbone for All U.S. Military Communications

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, today announced that the Space Development Agency (SDA) has awarded a nearly $325 million operations and integration (O&I) contract to General Dynamics Missions Systems to establish the Space Networking Center at Grand Forks Air Force Base, as well as a similar facility at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. The Space Networking Center will support the SDA’s new low-Earth orbit (LEO) mission and serve as the backbone for all U.S. military communications across the globe. The award builds on a commitment that Hoeven recently secured from U.S. Space Force Chief General John Raymond to continue advancing the new center and LEO mission, as the SDA prepares to become part of the Space Force in October. 

“Today’s funding from SDA ensures the continued support of space operations coming to Grand Forks,” said Hoeven. “We’ve 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 U.S. Space Force Chief John Raymond last week.”

Last year, Senator Hoeven announced Air Force approval to stand-up SDA’s new LEO satellite mission at Grand Forks, following his efforts with the SDA, including Director Derek Tournear, and Senator Kevin Cramer. As a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, Hoeven then worked to secure $18 million in Fiscal Year 2022 funding to establish SDA’s space networking centers. Over time, the mission could include not only operating SDA satellites but linking them with unmanned aerial systems (UAS), which would complement the base’s role in the Air Force’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.  

Prior to this, Hoeven hosted SDA Director Tournear in North Dakota to outline efforts to establish the new center and announce the new laser communications project, which SDA is pursuing in conjunction with General Atomics. The senator also joined Tournear to review launch operations at Cape Canaveral, where the SDA launched five satellites central to the space networking center and the General Atomics project.