Western Aeronautical Test Range - Code MR

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Point of Contact

Bill McMullen
Chief, Range Operations Branch

DATR Photo Gallery

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Dryden Aeronautical Test Range


overview of dryden complex and lakebed Armstrong’s Dryden Aeronautical Test Range (DATR) 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 DATR 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 Test Center (AFTC) allow for cross utilization mission support systems and Engineering services.

Applications: Experimental flight test programs supported, Space based, Hypersonic, Supersonic, Subsonic, Manned and unmanned, and aircraft- and ground-based vehicles.

Points of Contact

DATR Program Office Manager
Darryl Burkes

DATR Operations Manager
Bill McMullen

DATR Lead Range Control/ Scheduling
Tracy Ackeret


Fixed Telemetry Systems

  • System use must be coordinated through the Armstrong Mission Information and Test Systems Directorate, Range Operations Branch or the Edwards Air Force 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.

Fixed RIR 716C Precision Radar Systems

  • 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.

DATR Communications

  • 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 Armstrong facilities, NASA centers, other government agencies, and industry partners, consists of trunk lines, communication panels, military ground communication networks, fiber optic, and satellite systems.

Click here to view the new Dryden Aeronautical Test Range photo gallery.
Page Last Updated: March 3rd, 2014
Page Editor: Monroe Conner