Range Data Acquisition & Computation (RADAC) System

Engineers at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia have upgraded the range data acquisition and control infrastructure for the nation’s leading suborbital launch range. Wallops’ Range Data Acquisition and Computation system known as RADAC processes flight-tracking data for the Wallops Range Control Center and vans. Range Safety operators rely on RADAC data to make real-time flight termination decisions, monitor and track mission performance, identify recovery locations, and other mission critical operations for suborbital rockets, missiles, remotely piloted vehicles, aircraft, balloons, and satellites.

The new RADAC system supports current and future range operations with smaller operations staff while improving safety and reducing cost. The system will process incoming vehicle and atmospheric data in specialized data formats in a manner that provides faster translation of radar and telemetry information to controllers. Wallops’ RADAC engineering team purchased CCT’s commercial RangeNetTM surveillance software for the RADAC upgrade. RangeNet is the only commercial range safety and operations software that provides real-time impact prediction, range safety decision support and real-time data display. Combined with the Command and Control ToolkitTM RangeNet supports multiple data source types and integration of site-specific data filtering algorithms. The software reduces operator workload through advanced graphics and automation and reduces maintenance and sustaining costs by shifting the support burden to a COTS maintenance arrangement.

A critically important attribute that drove Wallops to select CCT’s command and control product line is it’s open and extensible architecture. The combined RangeNet and CCTK product suit is designed to be easily customized and extended. This has given Wallops engineers the ability to leverage the COTS automation framework, while at the same time, tune their new systems to the way Wallops does business, as well as adapt it to non-standard legacy sensors. Consequently, the new RADAC system was activated with minimal impact to codified safety operations processes. In addition, many of the traditionally time consuming aspects of managing range control systems have been automated, significantly reducing labor required for pre an post mission operations. For example, pre-mission configuration setup, and post-mission data product generation now take hours to perform verses weeks required for the old systems. This is largely due to the RangeNet/CCTK automation framework, including configuration management and data reduction and analysis..

Command and Control Environment

The RADAC architecture approach is based on COTS C3I middleware that integrates sensors, algorithms/fusion, and common components for real-time situation awareness and operations automation. Open & reusable services support interoperation and architecture extension for evolving range control requirements via a fungible C2 toolkit. Core services provide most range software functions out-of-the-box (data acquisition/processing, data recording/reduction, simulation, configuration management, map visualization, track geo-referencing, etc.). Range adaptations consist of extending existing software patterns/templates for creation of specific sensor plug-ins, integration of fusion engine & sensor controls, and configuration of HMI for the range ConOps. While the C3I middleware is indeed proprietary, it is also open and significantly accelerates system time to market.

Contact us at info@cctcorp.com if you would like more information on the RADAC project or wish to talk with a technical representative concerning applying CCT’s command and control product line to your automated range safety, surveillance, and control application.