Keewenaw Rocket Range

First Nike-Apache launch, 1/29/71, photograph by Roland Bruce Burgan



The Keweenaw Rocket Range 1962-1971

In the Copper Country of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan


In the fall of 1996, a friend (Bill Higgins) told me via e-mail that he had found out from one Glen E. Swanson that there had been a rocket base not far from my home in the Keweenaw Peninisula of Michigan's U.P. Bill sent me a detailed and technically accurate story written by Glen E. Swanson about the establishment, life, and demise of the rocket range in the years 1962-1971. This contained some clues as to the location of the site so, feeling adventurous, I set out to find it; sometimes with friends (the Eiseles) and more often than not, alone. After bumbling around for awhile in the summer of 1997, I finally asked the logical person, the postmaster of the nearest town (Copper Harbor). I was then able to find my way in from the north end of Highway 41 to the correct junction (about 5 1/2 miles on the left), cycle about 3 miles to another left junction and a mile further to the rocket base site. It was close to the Lake Superior shore line and High Rock Point, and while not much was left to see, it was exciting to have finally found it. The rest of the story follows...


NASA Historian Glen Swanson's story of Spaceport Michigan

Letter (1997) from Glen Swanson to Dr. Harold Allen, retired Keweenaw Range director

Map* of Keweenaw County showing old rocket base site

*Approximate GPS coordinates: From the end of US 41 to a dirt road at the left at:
N47 degrees, 25.959' W87 degrees, 45.822' elev. 855 feet.
Turn left to a fork at: N47 degrees, 25.772' W87 degrees, 43.433' elev. 734 feet
Turn left and go to the base at: N47 degrees, 25.816' W87 degrees, 42.887' elev. 626 feet.

Old Newspaper Articles (Courtesy of the Daily Mining Gazette, Houghton, Michigan)
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Old Newspaper pictures (Courtesy of the Daily Mining Gazette, Houghton, Michigan)

1, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e, 3f, 3g, 4, 5a, 5b, 5c, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 7c, 7d, 7e, 7f.

Old pictures by Guy Snyder
Arcas launchings (winter, 1967)
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, 11 and 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

(Migration from old site not complete. More later)