Poker Flat Research Range Behind the Scenes Tour

We had an opportunity to visit the Poker Flat Research Range facilities during their 50th year anniversary. They have put out flyers to invite the community to come out 30 miles away from town on Steese hwy to celebrate the 50th year of Poker Flat Rocket Research Range with them.

There was a free bus ride from University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) but when I called them to make reservations, the buses were already booked. I decided to drive there with my husband and my son. The road was great, barely had any snow on the road but it was dark out though.

When we arrived at the Poker Flat Research Range, the parking lot was full. We had to park on the overflow parking area. The first building we got into is the Admin Center. There was a lot of people inside so we didn't stay long. We then went outside to wait for transportation to take us to the upper range facilities. The line was long and we were told they did not anticipate to have this many people show up there.

While waiting in line, one of the personnel approached us and offered to show the Blockhouse and Launch Pad 3. My family and I left our space on the long line and joined them for a short walk there. It was interesting to see the launch pad, the rocket, and the building (Blockhouse) where the buttons are located to launch a rocket. After the tour there, we then walked back to the end of the long line. My husband waited in line, while my son and I went to Weather Balloon building. It was so interesting to see how the weather balloons work.

We waited on that line for about 2 hours. At one time we were told that they may not be able to take us all because of the timeframe. They only have 3 Vans I believe and can only take 12 people at a time each and it will take 20 minutes to get back down. After few minutes of waiting, we were told again that they will try to accomodate us all.

The employees there were great and just had good attitude. Even though it was a long night, they stayed and accommodated us.  The UAF patrol officer even used his vehicle to transport people. My family and I were picked up by another employees who were on their way up there. They dropped us off  at Lidar Laser Lab. We then hopped on a van to Telemetry building, then to Neal Davis Science Operation Center.

We didn't get to see a lot of the presentations nor the party at Neal Davis Science Operation Center due to we got there a little late. It was 12:55am when we finally left Poker Flat Research Range.

For more information about the facility please visit

Rocket at the main gain of Poker Flat Research Range

The flier that was posted at my workplace.
50th Year Celebration at Poker Flat Research Range
The world's only university-owned rocket range

Long line waiting for the ride up to upper facilities

The BlockHouse -  the picture below is located inside this building
This is where the buttons for launching a rocket

Alan's touching the tip of the rocket

Alan can't get enough of this weather balloons. He wanted one to take home with him.

Blowing up the weather balloon

UAF Police also helped transporting people up to upper range facilities

Van - transportation to Upper Range Facilities

Lidar Laser Lab 
 The following pictures below (with green lights) were taken inside the Lidar Laser lab building

Alan moved the Lidar

Alan's certificate for operating the lidar

Telemetry Building

Inside Telemetry Building

Three dishes by the Telemetry building

He was showing us the stars constellations and what they mean to different cultures around the world.

We also got to talked to Sacha Layos with Northern Light photography

One of the plier I picked up and I think it's so cool.
Poker Flat Research Range
The nation's only high-latitude rocket range
Poker Flat launches scientific sounding rockets and provides ground-based research instrumentation tailored for the Arctic. Sounding rockets are used to study the aurora, Earth's upper atmosphere, and the sun.  

Please continue to join me in my journey to blogging from A to Z for this month of April.