Poker Flat Range
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Poker Flats Research Range

The Poker Flats Research Range is located 33 miles northeast of Fairbanks, Alaska on the Steese Highway. The 5,132-acre site is the world's largest, land-based rocket range and the world's only scientific rocket launching facility owned by a university. It has an established chain of downrange flight and observing facilities from inland Alaska to Spitzbergen in the Arctic Ocean for monitoring and recovery purposes.

Activities of Facility
The facility is operated by the University of Alaska's Geophysical Institute under contract to NASA's Wallaps Flight Facility, which is part of the Goddard Space Flight Center. In addition to launching sounding rockets, Poker Flat is home to many scientific instruments designed to study the arctic atmosphere and ionosphere. Since the aurora is best studied in the dark of winter, actual launches are scheduled every two years in winter.

Poker Flat Rocket RangeTour Information:
The research facility used to offer guided walking tours. Regrettably, they no longer do.

Their web site can be found here.


If you want to use your trip meter to help you find it, the range is located about 27 miles from the intersection of the Steese Expressway and College Road. Allow yourself at least 45 minutes to get there from Fairbanks, as some of the curves on the Steese are treacherous.

Drive out the Steese Expressway north. In Fox, turn right at the scales (sign is marked "Steese" and means the Old Steese Highway). From there you will be going about 18 miles. When you get to a Y in the road with no signs to tell you what to do, take the left hand fork. You will pass Chatanika Lodge (on your right) about .9 miles before you see a large rocket on your right. Since they no longer do tours, the gates may be locked.

For more information you can try to call (907) 474-7942, or (907) 474-7558.


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