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Satan Antenna System

June 3, 2011

Earlier this year we conducted surveys for federally listed endangered Hawaiian Drosophila on land up in Kokee (Kauai) that the Navy manages.  The sites are situated right against the critical habitat boundary, so we basically conduct our surveys along the fenclines and permiter of the property lines (this is the second year we have done these surveys).  The last site in this area consists of a NASA facility with a giant antenna (access is prohibited, so there is a locked gate preventing unauthorized personnel from driving up to it).  The big dish is pretty impressive, but I was more interested in the remnants of the previous antenna system that sit behind the current facility.  There are some old footings and a small rusting blue structure labelled “Satan Antenna System”, complete with pitchfork logo.  Evidently this stands for Satellite Automatic Tracking Antenna, and it dates back to the ’60s.  While at the site, the remote feeling created by the combination of being in the middle of the forest and having an expansive view of the Pacific Ocean, together with standing in the shadow of a giant satellite dish that seemed to randomly come to life every 30 minutes and orient itself towards some unknown celestial target, tended to prompt the imagination to create images of what might be inside the little locked blue building…perhaps a long staircase into the darkness? Ernest Borgnine in a hooded robe?

Location of the NASA site.


NASA Kokee Antenna.

SATAN building.


SATAN building.

SATAN building.

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