Eastern Test Range

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Eastern Test Range

 

(until 1965, the Atlantic Missile Range), the largest space vehicle launching site in the USA. The launch complexes are located on Cape Canaveral in an area whose center has the coordinates 28°30’ N lat. and 80°50’ W long. The area of the launching site is 400 sq km, and its range over the Atlantic and Indian oceans is 20,000 km. Along the range there are 15 tracking stations equipped with optical, telemetric, and radiolocation devices. There are in addition dozens of ships and airplanes, as well as more than a hundred separate ground observation posts to track rocket flights. The system of tracking stations at the Eastern Test Range allows rockets to be launched under an azimuth of 44° to 110°. The system also permits the launching of artificial earth satellites into orbits inclined from 28.5° to 52.4° to the equatorial plane, given an eastward launch direction. The control center of the launch site coordinates the functioning of all systems and services of the Eastern Test Range. Inside the control building there are seven indicator boards (including one measuring 2.4 m by 2.4 m) that show the actual and calculated parameters of the rocket trajectories and the expected impact point. There are also 34 television screens, 137 control panels, and 800 status boards for monitoring the work of the tracking stations. All of these means of representing information are staffed by about 100 operators. The basic space research of the USA is done at the launch complexes at the Eastern Test Range.

Complexes for the launching of various space objects with the aid of such space carriers as Atlas, Titan, and Saturn have been built on Cape Canaveral. The main work on such important American space research programs as the launching of the Mercury and Gemini manned spacecraft was conducted at the Eastern Test Range. A launch complex for the launching of the Saturn 5 space carrier was built at the Eastern Test Range in accordance with the Apollo program to send astronauts to the moon. In addition to conducting space research, the Eastern Test Range is widely used for conducting test programs of US military missiles. Including service facilities personnel, the staff of the Eastern Test Range exceeds 20,000 persons.

In the course of a year more than 200 flying tests and several thousand stationary rocket tests are carried out. The yearly cost of the range facilities exceeds $100 million.

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