Earth To Vernon

If anything has put Vernon NJ on the world map, it is the formidable aggregation of antennas - "satellite dishes" - in Vernon which provide signal uplink to and downlink from satellites orbiting the earth, and the Vernon ground stations that control and monitor fleets of satellite spacecraft. The demand for satellite services has further increased with the advent of broadband Internet communications.
Vernon has been a major satellite communications center since the 1970s.

At the Vernon location of ATC (American Tower Corp.) Teleports, formerly Micronet Earth Station, twenty-five satellite dishes provide commercial satellite services for cable and regular network television broadcasting, Internet service providers and other earth stations. ATC Teleports antennas transmit/take downfeed of digital and analog signals upon which, for instance, broadcast networks rely for realtime international news-gathering.

The relatively secluded GE (General Electric) Americom ground station in Vernon is one of four major,strategically located GE Americom installations in North America. The other stations are in Woodbine, MD, Grand Junction, Co and South Mountain, CA. Although separately assigned to control specific satellites, each station is capable of controlling the whole 12-spacecraft GE Americom fleet serving the North American market.

The Vernon station is the Tracking, Telemetry and Command (TT&C) center for GE Americom's satellite fleet. Those satellites provide access to every cable system in the United States.

Click here to read more about the GE Americom earth station in Vernon, a vital center of the nation's satellite communication networks.

All of which gives some folks to think that Vernon's national security significance continues to be, well, major.. That's what the Federation of American Scientists† seem to imply in this excerpt from their longstanding website ADVERSARY FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE OPERATIONS:

"In the past, vans from the Soviet Mission to the United Nations were observed in the vicinity of the GE Americom satellite ground station in Vernon Valley, NJ, and vans from the San Francisco consulate were observed in the vicinity of AT&T microwave towers in Northern California. In both cases, the vans appeared to be conducting SIG1NT [signal intelligence] monitoring at these facilities."

Well, there you have it. Seems like those Russian spies weren't interested in the old Playboy Hotel after all.

BTW, is anyone out there even old enough to remember Sputnik?


The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) is engaged in analysis and advocacy on science, technology and public policy concerning global security. A privately-funded non-profit policy organization whose Board of Sponsors includes 51 American Nobel Laureates, FAS was founded as the Federation of Atomic Scientists in 1945 by members of the Manhattan Project who produced the first atomic bomb. The FAS Public Eye Initiative is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation, with additional support from the W. Alton Jones Foundation, the John Merck Fund, and the Scherman Foundation.

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