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Capabilities and Facilities

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Research Facilities | Research Airport | Launch Range | Control Center | Machine Shop
Engineering | Institutional Services | Safety | Environmental

Launch Range

The Wallops launch range is the only commercially accessible facility with access to the Mid-Atlantic Test Range warning area. Our local restricted area (R-6604) connects the launch range with the offshore warning area, making it possible to achieve virtually unrestricted airspace. Wallops personnel also can coordinate additional open airspace and surface area with the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Navy Fleet Air Control and Surveillance Facility to accommodate specific missions and projects.

Trajectory Options

Wallops offers a wide array of launch vehicle trajectory options. The coastline of Wallops Island is oriented such that a launch azimuth of 135 degrees is perpendicular to the shoreline. In general, launch azimuths between 90 and 160 degrees can be accommodated depending on impact ranges. For most orbital vehicles, this translates into orbital inclinations between 38 degrees and approximately 60 degrees. Trajectory options outside of these launch azimuths, including polar and sun-synchronous orbits, can be achieved by inflight-azimuth maneuvers. For example, wider northerly options are possible by maneuver around Assateague Island after passing 5 nm downrange. The North Carolina Outer Banks are generally the restricting landmass for southern launch azimuths. Specific trajectory options and the operational impact area are determined in consultation with our Flight Safety Group.

Launch Facilities

The Wallops launch range includes six launch pads, three blockhouses for launch control and assembly buildings that support the preparation and launching of suborbital and orbital launch systems. The launch pads and blockhouses typically are connected by various combinations of multi-pair 12-gauge and/or 16-gauge shielded and twisted pair cables, as well as fiber optic cables. User-provided launch systems can be accommodated. We also have the capability to support launch operations worldwide with mobile range instrumentation and equipment.