Prior to the outbreak, the site was a regular patch of forest. As for the satellite, it was launched into orbit by the Soviet Union at some point prior to 1991, where it remained even after the fall of the USSR and the outbreak.
Roughly a decade after the globe was swept by the outbreak, the satellite re-entered the Earth's atmosphere and crashed into a patch of woods near Oceanside. Despite the crash site being in the Whisperers' territory, the Coalition survivors were forced to trespass in order to put out the fire, which threatened to spread to Oceanside. They were successful in doing so, with Eugene even salvaging parts of the satellite.