PARI History

PARI History

50 Years of Public Service

One Historic Site, Three Important Missions

1963 Rosman Dedication Image

Program cover from the 1963 dedication of the NASA Rosman Tracking Station.

The event was attended by notables from North Carolina including Gov. Terry Sanford, Sen. Sam Ervin, Sen. B. Everett Jordan and many others.

On Oct. 26, 1963, the five-year-old National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) dedicated a new facility in the Pisgah National Forest southwest of Asheville, NC, that would play a critical role in the pioneering early days of the U.S. space effort. On that October day, little did anyone know that 50 years later the same site would be in its third important mission, and would now play an important role in educating and training the next generation of young scientists who will propel the space effort into new frontiers.

The 200-acre campus tucked into the ridges of the Pisgah National Forest west of Brevard now houses the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI), a public not-for-profit foundation bristling with scientific instruments used for research and for providing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education to students of all ages.

  • PARI History – Mission One

    Mission Number One: Early Space Exploration

    PARI is the site’s third mission. During the infancy of the U.S. space program, the site hosted one of NASA’s first satellite monitoring stations and then was an ...

  • PARI History – Mission Two

    Mission Number Two: National Defense

    In 1981, the Rosman Tracking Station was transferred to the Department of Defense (DOD) and used for satellite data collection. At its peak during this era, about 350 people were ...

  • PARI History – Mission Three

    Mission Number Three: STEM Education and Research

    After several years of inactivity at the site, the government decided to dismantle the facility and let it return to the forest. Recognizing the tremendous value and ...