NASA-GSFC Ref. Pt. G -- Cooper's Island, BM
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 32° 20.922 W 064° 39.222
20S E 344383 N 3580289
Quick Description: One of six Non-NGS joint NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center benchmark disks on a short concrete retaining wall at what was formerly a US Navy base in Bermuda. These BMs were used for tracking the Space Shuttle
Location: Bermuda
Date Posted: 3/7/2017 9:47:01 AM
Waymark Code: WMV75Y
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member bluesnote
Views: 0

Long Description:
Eight Non-NGS disks were located along a concrete retaining wall on board what is now the Cooper's Island Nature Reserve. Six are still there as of 2015; two are missing. All were monumented around the 1980s-1991 timeframe at what was then the US Navy Base at Kindley Field in Bermuda.

The National Aeronautic and Space Administration and the Goddard Space Flight Center set up a tracking station here in the 1960s for use with Apollo, Gemini, Mercury, and Skylab programs. These disks were most likely used as part of ground-tracking calculations for the various NASA space missions from the 1980s until the tracking station was abandoned.

These marks were not set by the NOAA, and are not listed in the NGS Database.

The waymarked disk is inscribed "NASA-GSFC" along the top curve. "Ref Pt G 1991" with a crossed arrow in the center occupies the center of the disk. "Greenbelt, MD" is inscribed at the bottom of the disk.

To reach NASA-GSFC Ref Pt. G, go to the Cooper's Island Nature Reserve and park outside the gate. Walk in on foot along Cooper's Island Road toward the Bird Lookout Tower. As you pass over a narrow neck of land to the tower, look left and right for two retaining walls on either side of the road. NASA-GSFC Ref Pt. G will be on your right, on the retaining wall along the short beach opposite Long Bay.

From the paper "ESTABLISHMENT OF A NASA TEMPORARY TRACKING STATION ON BERMUDA’S COOPERS ISLAND": (visit link)

"Bermuda has played an important role in the United States space program since the 1960s. The former NASA Tracking Station on Bermuda’s Coopers Island had range safety systems for command and control, and Missile Instrumentation Precision Radars (MIPRs) providing exact vehicle position and slaving for command destruct systems. Telemetry systems supported scientific spacecraft and manned space flight (i.e., Apollo, Space Transportation System [STS], and Spacelab) with high gain antenna systems. With the advent of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System and changes in the STS flight envelope in the late 1990s, NASA no longer required Bermuda and deactivated the site. NASA instrumentation was removed in early 2000, and the property returned to the Government of Bermuda (GoB).

This paper defines the process undertaken to secure an agreement with the GoB to establish a temporary tracking site and describes the technical approach and analysis conducted that justifies bringing Bermuda back as a critical NASA tracking site as it was during the Apollo era and the early years of the Space Shuttle. The RRS Program plans to support the COTS Program with a mobile launch range in Bermuda."

From the Bermuda Attractions website: (visit link)

Cooper's Island Bermuda

Cooper's Island is part of St. Davids of Bermuda located at the south eastern end and covering an area of about 44.5 acres. The island which is still largely undeveloped, has a great nature reserve, excellent shallow water public beaches, sun dunes and rocky shorelines. Cooper's island was occupied by the U.S military, and later U.S Navy. A NASA space tracking station was also located here. The island was a restricted area until 1995.

The island was likely named after William Cooper from London who was the member of Somers Isle Company that initially took up the administration of Bermuda during the British colonization. In 1614, Governor Moore had built the Pembroke Fort at the south eastern end of Cooper’s island. It had two cannons mounted on it. The fort was destroyed during the World War II.

U.S army had taken possession of the island since 1941. The Kindley Field airport was built at a close distance in 1944 (which is now the LF Wade International Airport of Bermuda). There was also an army post called Fort Bell that was set up in St. Georges. Due its proximity to both the airport and the army post, the U.S army built a battery with 155mm guns at the Cooper's Island during the World War II. The guns were later removed.

In 1960, NASA had built a space tracking station at the Cooper's Island to gather tracking and scientific data from all its spacecraft, satellites and planetary probes. However, by 1995 the entire base was closed down by U.S and the island was opened out to public.

Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve in the island spans across some 12 acres of unspoiled area. It is heavily wooded and has a diverse range of habitats including salt-water marsh, rocky coastline and upland hillside habitats.

There are number of picturesque beaches located at the Cooper's Island. One of the most popular of them is the Clearwater Beach Park at Annie’s Bay which stretches along the northern coastline of the island. This is a shallow water family beach and very popular for weekend picnics and sporting events.

The other great beaches located at the Cooper's Island include Turtle Bay Beach, Well Bay, Long Bay, and Fort Hill Bay. You can spot turtles from all these beaches.

How to reach Cooper's Island

There is no public transport that goes all the way up to Cooper's Island. Take bus #6 from town of St. George for St. David's Lighthouse. Then walk along the Ruth's Bay Road towards west. Continue on Orange Hole Road along west. You will see Cooper's Island Road. There are also tour boat excursions that take place for Coopers Island."
Designation: Ref. Pt. G

Benchmark Agency: NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center

Nearest Address:
Cooper's IslandSt George's Par Bermuda


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Parking Coordinates: N 32° 21.264 W 064° 39.571

Trailhead: Not Listed

Website: Not listed

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Benchmark Blasterz visited NASA-GSFC Ref. Pt. G -- Cooper's Island, BM 2/22/2015 Benchmark Blasterz visited it