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PIKE finds a new home

A crane sits in front of the Colorado Tracking Station, commonly referred to as PIKE, on Friday, July 10, 2015, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.  PIKE was decommissioned last year and was deconstructed Monday, July, 14, 2015, to be repurposed for the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

A crane sits in front of the Colorado Tracking Station, commonly referred to as PIKE, on Friday, July 10, 2015, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. PIKE was decommissioned last year and was deconstructed Monday, July, 14, 2015, to be repurposed for the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

Workers with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory watch as a crane prepares to lift the top half off of the PIKE antenna on Friday, July 10, 2015, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. For nearly three decades the antenna stayed inside a giant eggshell in the restricted area of the base.(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

Workers with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory watch as a crane prepares to lift the top half off of the PIKE antenna on Friday, July 10, 2015, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. For nearly three decades the antenna stayed inside a giant eggshell in the restricted area of the base.(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

Workers with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory prepare to lift the top half off of the PIKE antenna on Friday, July 10, 2015, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. During a ceremony last year, the Colorado Tracking Station, also known as PIKE, was decommissioned after 24 years of service.(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

Workers with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory prepare to lift the top half off of the PIKE antenna on Friday, July 10, 2015, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. During a ceremony last year, the Colorado Tracking Station, also known as PIKE, was decommissioned after 24 years of service.(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

The top half of the PIKE antenna is lifted Friday, July 10, 2015, in order for a U.S. Navy Research Lab crew to deconstruct the antenna and take it to be repurposed. During its 24 years of service it ran 174,900 satellite supports and had visibility of 97 of the 154 satellites supported by the Air Force.(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

The top half of the PIKE antenna is lifted Friday, July 10, 2015, in order for a U.S. Navy Research Lab crew to deconstruct the antenna and take it to be repurposed. During its 24 years of service it ran 174,900 satellite supports and had visibility of 97 of the 154 satellites supported by the Air Force.(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

The top half of the PIKE antenna is lifted in order for a U.S. Navy Research Lab crew to deconstruct the antenna and take it to be repurposed Friday, July 10, 2015. PIKE was decommissioned last year and was deconstructed to be repurposed for the NRL.(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

The top half of the PIKE antenna is lifted in order for a U.S. Navy Research Lab crew to deconstruct the antenna and take it to be repurposed Friday, July 10, 2015. PIKE was decommissioned last year and was deconstructed to be repurposed for the NRL.(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

The top half of the PIKE antenna is lifted in order for a U.S. Navy Research Lab crew to deconstruct the antenna and take it to be repurposed Friday, July 10, 2015. PIKE, which was no longer operational since it was decommissioned last year, has found a new home with the NRL.(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

The top half of the PIKE antenna is lifted in order for a U.S. Navy Research Lab crew to deconstruct the antenna and take it to be repurposed Friday, July 10, 2015. PIKE, which was no longer operational since it was decommissioned last year, has found a new home with the NRL.(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

A U.S. Navy Research Lab crew deconstructs the PIKE antenna on Monday July 13, 2015, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The process of lifting the top half of the antenna and deconstructing of the antenna took only days to complete.(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

A U.S. Navy Research Lab crew deconstructs the PIKE antenna on Monday July 13, 2015, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The process of lifting the top half of the antenna and deconstructing of the antenna took only days to complete.(U.S. Air Force photo/Dennis Rogers)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- For nearly three decades an antenna known as PIKE has quietly sat inside a giant eggshell or golf ball, depending on your imagination, in the restricted area of Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, and as of July 14 it has found a new place to call home. You know, as in, "E.T. phone home."

During a ceremony last year, the Colorado Tracking Station, also known as PIKE, was decommissioned after 24 years of service. During that time it ran 174,900 satellite supports and had visability of 97 of the 154 satellites supported by the Air Force.

When the antenna was decommissioned last September it remained inside of its protective shell. Fortunately for PIKE, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, corporate research lab for the Navy and Marine Corps which conducts a broad program of scientific research, technology and advanced development, thought it was worth saving. They reached out to Brad Prescott, National Reconnaissance Office, to make it happen and Alex Snatchko, 50th Network Operations Group, served as a coordinator for the deconstruction of the antenna.

"We got a call from the NRL asking if they could have the antenna and I basically got them in touch with the right people," said Prescott.

The process took months to plan but the actual removal took only days.

"Colorado Tracking Station was the last of the Air Force Satellite Control Network antennas to be put in place," said Snatchko. "Up until the last six months we were using it for testing."

The NRL picks up older antennas, refurbishes them and optimizes the dish to bring the antenna back to life. They basically give old antennas a new shot at life.

"We don't have to dispose of it now," said Snatchko. "If the antenna wasn't repurposed it would've been taken to the boneyard."

According to Snatchko, they'll (NRL) optimize it and be able to put it back together exactly the way it was, not an easy task but these guys are pros.

"It's good to know it'll be used for a good purpose," said Snatchko.

The egg-like structure will remain intact so most members won't even know anything changed.

"The radome will stay and the satellite will leave," said Prescott. "It'll have a new home."

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