Virtual Tours: Ascension Island
The Full Tour
Features of Natural Interest
Features of Other Interest, including Cultural
Threats / Problems / Issues
Projects / Conservation Actions
Organisations and Links
Tour Selection
Features of Other Interest, including Cultural

Ascension undertook another important role during World War II, whereby the United States Government built the “Wideawake Field” airstrip by agreement with His Majesty George VI’s Government. The airstrip was named after sooty terns that nest on the island and which are also known as “wideawakes” because of their call. The Territory subsequently saw the transit of 25,000 US planes heading for the World War II battlefields. In 1967, a NASA tracking station was constructed on the island which provided support for the Apollo Lunar Landing programme. Ascension was also designated as an emergency landing site for NASA's Space Shuttle. While the tracking station has since been closed down, NASA is returning to Ascension in 2015 to track man-made space debris in orbit around the Earth with a telescope called MCAT. This project is co-sponsored by NASA and the United States Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). More information can be found here. The European Space Agency (ESA) also has a ground station on Ascension Island used for tracking Ariane spacecraft launchers. Additional information can be found here

Ascension Island Base.

© Ascension Island Base
(Features of Other Interest, including Cultural, 9 of 10 - Slide ref. 652)