CEDAR email: Status of HAARP

Robert McCoy kdcummins at alaska.edu
Thu Dec 10 17:32:43 MST 2015

Dear Respected Members of the HAARP Community,


Last year we at the Geophysical Institute (GI) reached out to all of you to speak up to save the High frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) from the bulldozers.  The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) decided it no longer needed the facility and, by prior agreement, was required to remediate the site.  You responded and your message was heard.   Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski collected your petitions and letters and forwarded them to Secretary of Defense Hagel asking him save the facility.  Subsequently, the Secretary of the Air Force James agreed to delay the Air Force’s decommissioning plans to allow for an alternative plan for continued operation of the facility for ionospheric research.  


This past summer, after extensive negotiations the AFRL and the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to allow the UAF access to HAARP for two years, and an Education Partnership Agreement (EPA) to transfer ownership of the HAARP equipment to the UAF.  In a ceremony at HAARP on August 11, 2015 Major General Masiello, Commander of AFRL, ceremonially transferred the keys to HAARP to UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers.   We are still working with our Alaskan Congressional Delegation to transfer the facility land to the UAF for “public use benefit.” 


The HAARP facility was last operated in June 2014 at the tail end of the DARPA BRIOCHE campaigns.  Since then the facility has been in cold storage, i.e. transmitter tubes were removed from the 30 electronic shelters and stored in the main building to keep them warm.  Last summer AFRL ordered spot checks to make sure the transmitter tubes were still operational.  All of the scientific diagnostics at HAARP were disconnected and many removed from the site the summer before last but as part of the transfer of ownership to UAF, AFRL replaced and reconnected most of them.  At the moment all the critical diagnostics (digisonde, magnetometer, etc.) are back at HAARP and operational.  We have some EPA and FCC permitting to complete but hope to have the facility operational and fully functional within the year.


Marty Karjala and Tracy Coon, long-time HAARP operators and maintainers were hired as UAF employees and will continue to support the facility.  Jessica Matthews, recent Commander of the 213th Space Warning Squadron at Clear Air Force Station was hired at the UAF as the HAARP Manager.  We are augmenting the small HAARP team with staff from our Poker Flat Research Range and plan to support science operations with our GI Space Physics and Aeronomy faculty.   Long-time HAARP expert Mike McCarrick now at NRL will provide advice to the GI team.  We have an innovative approach to minimize “standing armies” and hope to operate the facility economically.   With the approval of the University of Alaska President and UAF Chancellor we have a plan to re-invest certain distributions of overhead recovery generated by HAARP while we build a new business plan to sustain the facility long term.  Our goal is to operate HAARP as an international ionosphere-thermosphere-magnetosphere laboratory using a pay-per-use model at as low an hourly rate as we can.


We’ve made the rounds of government agencies (DOE, NSF, NASA, AFOSR, DARPA, ONR, etc.) and are reaching out to the international scientific community.  We already have our first government customer who has allocated funding for a campaign, but we need more to sustain the facility long term.  We are hoping that the scientific community will write proposals to these agencies to perform science experiments at HAARP.  We have been asking governmental agencies to coordinate among themselves and organize proposals from various agencies to build HAARP science campaigns to maximize efficiencies and science return.  We will be making announcements at upcoming scientific meetings (AGU, AMS and URSI) and encouraging the community to write proposals to their favorite funding agency.  More information on the scientific potential of HAARP can be found in the 2013 National Research Council Workshop Report “Opportunities for High-Power, High-Frequency Transmitters to Advance Ionospheric/Thermospheric Research.”


http://www.nap.edu/booksearch.php?booksearch=1 <http://www.nap.edu/booksearch.php?booksearch=1&term=sale&record_id=18620> &term=sale&record_id=18620


Our sincere thanks to all of you for your help so far, but we need your help again.  Please think about how HAARP can contribute to your research program and conceive new and innovative science experiments than can be performed at the world’s premier ionospheric heating facility.  The HAARP location is fantastic for a wide range of scientific investigations in the subarctic.  Please bring your ground-based instruments to HAARP and we will help you install and operate them as part of a cooperative international laboratory.  Consider employing existing satellites in conjunction with HAARP and think of new space experiments to exploit HAARP capabilities.


Thank you again and we look forward to working with advancing science with HAARP.




Bob McCoy



Robert P. McCoy, Ph.D.

Director, Geophysical Institute

University of Alaska, Fairbanks

903 Koyukuk Dr., P.O. Box 757320

Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320

P: (907) 474 7282

F: (907) 474 5882

rpmccoy at alaska.edu



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