Western Aeronautical Test Range
Dryden’s Western Aeronautical Test Range (WATR) supports flight operations and low Earth-orbiting missions. Precision radar provides tracking and space positioning information on research vehicles and other targets. Fixed and mobile telemetry antennas receive real-time data and video signals from the research vehicle and relay this data to telemetry processing areas. WATR Integrated Next Generation System (WINGS) processes radar and tracking data for display and analysis to researchers in the WATR Mission Control Centers (MCCs). Audio communication networks support research operations; video monitoring provides real-time and recorded data for the control and safety of flight test missions. Mission data is processed in real-time and near real-time as well as archived to provide a means of support for subsequent post-mission analysis. Alliance agreements with Edwards Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC) allow for cross utilization mission support systems and Engineering services.
Applications: Experimental flight test programs supported, Space based, Hypersonic, Supersonic, Subsonic, Manned and un-manned, aircraft and ground based vehicles.
Points of Contact
WATR Program Office Manager
WATR Operations Manager
WATR Lead Range Control/ Scheduling
Fixed Telemetry Systems
Fixed RIR 716C Precision Radar Systems
- System use must be coordinated through the Dryden Code M Test Systems Directorate, Range Operations Branch or the Edwards Air Force Flight Test Center depending on Project support agreements.
- DS-3 Data Links to other Test Range Facilities can provide Telemetry, Radar, Video and Communication interface for real-time support at Edwards to remote Mission Control Centers.
- Expertise supporting flight test and ground test programs requiring test vehicle communications, data retrieval, upland link command and control within local and extended test range facilities through established alliance agreements and shared system.
- High accuracy C-band instrumentation radars provide Time Space Positioning Information (TSPI) of research aircraft and low earth orbiting spacecraft to the mission control center.
- Targets tracked out to 3,000 nautical miles with accuracies to 0.0006 degrees in angle and 30 feet in range.
- The radar antennas have the capability to accept acquisition data in various formats, record the data onsite, and provide post-flight radar data in engineering parameters.
- Differential Global Positioning Satellite (DGPS) ground station that can up-link error corrections to research vehicles.
- Down-linked GPS embedded in the aircraft telemetry signal can provide positioning information to ground controllers.
- Federal Aviation Association (FAA) radar surveillance data is also available in the mission control center.
- The Radio Frequency (RF) Communications facility provides more than 40 ultra high frequency (UHF), very high frequency (VHF), and high frequency (HF) transmitter receivers, and a UHF flight termination system
- Available Test Range intercommunication system between Dryden facilities, NASA centers, other government agencies, and industry partners, consists of trunk lines, communication panels, military ground communication networks, fiber optic and satellite systems.
to view the new Western Aeronautical Test Range photo gallery.