NH space force

The new sign at the New Boston Space Force Station.

The transfer of a huge satellite tracking station in New Boston from the Air Force to the new Space Force has been completed with the installation of a sign outside the main gate.

The sign was unveiled at an official ceremony Monday, completing the transfer that was announced in December. The station is now part of U.S. Space Force Delta 6 — Space Access and Cyberspace Operations, which is headquartered in Colorado.

It is one of a number of sites providing support to government and civilian satellites as well as some rocket flights, including private flights from Space X.

The base was originally farmland in New Boston and two adjoining towns. In World War II, the farms were bought so it could be used as a practice bombing range by Army Air Force pilots flying out of the Manchester airport, then called Grenier Field. Older locals can recall the planes wheeling overhead while aiming for a small pond in the middle of the base and stories are told of kids collecting shell casings that had fallen from the sky as pilots practiced gunnery.

The 2,200-acre station is still surrounded by fences carrying signs warning of “unexploded ordnance” and on rare occasions old bombs or weaponry is found. A 2,000-pound bomb that had been unearthed in Joe English Pond in the center of the station was exploded a decade ago.

The site is closed to outsiders, although military personnel and veterans are allowed to camp and hunt on parts of the property, most of which is undeveloped.

In 1959, the site began transforming into a tracking station with the installation of the first of a number of radar units, now enclosed in large white domes that from a distance look like enormous golf balls. In 2009 it changed from the New Boston Satellite Tracking Station to the New Boston Air Force Station.

This article is being shared by a partner in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.