by courtesy of Merrick Peirce
by Jason Ahrns
by Merrick Pierce
by Merrick Pierce

Welcome to Poker Flat

Welcome to Poker Flat Research Range – the largest land-based rocket research range in the world and the only high-latitude rocket range in the United States. Poker Flat launches scientific sounding rockets, performs satellite tracking and is home to a growing fleet of unmanned aircraft.

Poker Flat Research Range is perfectly located in Interior Alaska. From this site, rockets can launch and fly over the sparsely populated tundra hundreds of miles north of the range with special permission from federal, state and tribal landowners. Additionally, the range is situated beneath the auroral oval – a ring across the circumpolar north where auroras typically occur – providing ample opportunities to continue scientists’ examination of the aurora. Most sounding rocket launches occur between January and March and scientists come from around the world to use the facility for their research projects.

General Information

Poker Flat Research Range is the world's only scientific rocket launching facility owned by a university. Poker Flat is located approximately 30 miles north of Fairbanks, Alaska and is operated by the University of Alaska's Geophysical Institute under contract to NASA's Wallops 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.

Contact Us

Physical Address

Poker Flat Research Range 30 Mile Steese Hwy Fairbanks, AK 99712

Geophysical Institute

Poker Flat Research Range Geophysical Institute P.O. Box 757320 903 Koyukuk Drive Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320

Phone Numbers

Our hours are from 8am to 5pm, Monday through Friday, Alaska time. Office: (907) 455-2110 Fax: (907) 455-2120


The following staff are located at Poker Flat and may be reached at (907) 455-2110.

Kathe Rich
Range Manager

Bob Valdez
Assistant Range Manager

Cheryl Berrong
Admin Assistant

Jason Avila
Facilities Maintenance Lead

Tony Tyree
Facilities Maintenance Assistant

Dave Hill
Special Projects

Dr. Don Hampton
Optical Science Manager

Dr. Rich Collins
Chief Scientist – Poker Flat Research Range


Kevin Abnett, Contractor
Optics & Communications Engineer

Jonathan Sawyer
Consulting Webmaster

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