Oakman Aerospace, Inc. (OAI) and Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) have created a partnership to establish a ground station, referred to as the Homestead ground station, at Chippewa County International Airport (CIU).
The Homestead ground station, expected to be fully assembled by first-quarter 2021, will use a high-gain, 5.5 meter, parabolic dish antenna that supports S-band uplink and downlink as well as X-band downlink for satellite communications and data processing.
This announcement comes at an opportune time as Chippewa was recently named a finalist in Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association’s (MAMA) site selection search for a new command center to support satellite launch and daily operations. Oakman Aerospace’s new Homestead ground station paves the way for a complete command and control (C2) center in Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula (EUP).
The site for the new ground station was selected for its strategic location that supports both Polar Orbiting Space Vehicle Command and Control, as well as, lower-inclination Space Vehicle missions due to CIU’s ideal latitude and longitude. Homestead and the eventual Common Integrated Ground – Command & Control (CIG-C2) center will enable U.S. Government, Commercial, and Academic missions; and, increase mission assurance associated with future Hybrid-Architectures that seamlessly connect disparate systems through standardized interface and interoperability constructs.
Homestead will provide enhanced space communication capabilities to the Upper Peninsula and its effects will be apparent in the advanced workforce development planned for the area. OAI and CCEDC are working to establish a training & certification program for mission controllers, mission engineers, and various IT support functions for the future C2 center. MAMA is anticipated to announce the C2 site selection by November 2020. The future command center, along with two launch sites in Marquette and Oscoda, are projected to create over 2,000 jobs.
“The Homestead project provides critical pathfinder understanding and is a risk reduction effort that will enable cost-effective and highly efficient mission operations for the future command and control center initiative,” said Maureen S. O’Brien, Co-founder and CEO of Oakman Aerospace, Inc.
“I am excited to see both the Homestead and CIG-C2 projects being implemented in the EUP. As a long-time resident of Pickford, Michigan these efforts will bring high-paying, high-tech jobs to the local economy. OAI is confident that CIU and our partner CCEDC are on the right path,” stated Stanley O. Kennedy, Sr., Co-founder, Executive Vice President, and OAI board member.
“The CCEDC is very pleased with the site selection of Chippewa County for OAI’s Homestead expansion. We view this as an important step forward for economic opportunities in the region and greatly enhances our competitiveness for site selection of the command and control center. The future of space is U.P.,” added Chris Olson, President of the Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation.