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The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved on September 14 a $10.8 million upgrade to University of Alaska Fairbanks Poker Flat Research Range pending full House and Senate approval. The funding will provide for building design, scientific program planning, and initial road and foundation construction. Senator Ted Stevens (RAK) said, “It is an important recognition of the roles Poker Flat, the Geophysical Institute and this university play in the international science area,“ that the Senate approved the money in a time of budget pressure.

Poker Flat's facilities include rocket assembly and launching capabilities, telemetry receiving stations and ground-based diagnostic systems needed for launch decisions for space, aeronomy and atmospheric science experiments.