Maui News

Space Force retains Maxwell as cultural advisor following 700 gallon fuel spill at Haleakalā

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Dane Maxwell. Maui Now file photo 2018.

The US Space Force finalized a contract with CKM Cultural Resources Feb. 14 to provide a cultural advisor and monitor in support of the remediation project atop Haleakalā following a fuel spill at the site.

Dane Uluwehiokalani Maxwell was selected as the advisor. He was born in Pukalani and is the grandson of the late Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell Sr., who was an outspoken critic of the telescopes’ early development atop Haleakalā.

Dane Maxwell has previously advised on other projects including the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope and the Maui Space Surveillance Complex, both atop Haleakalā.


He comes on board as a cultural advisor in support of remediation at the site where an equipment malfunction of a back-up generator, released 700 gallons of fuel into the ground at the site Jan. 29, 2023. US Space Force officials say the malfunction was caused by a severe electrical storm at the Maui Space Surveillance Complex.

“I’ve met with Dane, and with his background, he will be a vital part of the remediation project,” said Brig. Gen. Anthony Mastalir, US Space Forces Indo-Pacific commander.

Mastalir said he fully expects Dane Maxwell to be as vigilant as his grandfather.


“Dane will hold us accountable for actions at the site, and ensure we are taking the culturally appropriate steps to remediate, while rebuilding trust with the local community at this sacred location,” said Mastalir.

Maxwell will guide coordination with local government and community agencies and advise leadership on cultural impacts, including identification of risks, issues and associated mitigation plans, specifically taking into consideration cultural sensitivities at the site.

The telescopes at the MSSC atop Haleakalā are used for research as well as tracking and monitoring satellites. Authorities say the equipment ensures the safety of the nation’s most critical strategic assets.


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