Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Touring NASA Wallops Flight Facility

Ocean Pines put together a bus trip and tour to NASA Wallops Island Flight Facility, I immediately signed us up. I made a call to Vince just to make sure he wanted to go and he agreed. Instead of typing a bunch I'll post the pics that I have, thanks to Vince for his most excellent camera work.  If the picture is meh...  I took it with my phone.

From Pilot and wire reports:

The Navy plans to hold landing practice at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore this summer.
E-2 Hawkeye
The Navy said that Norfolk-based E-2 Hawkeye and C-2 Greyhound aircraft will run up to 20,000 passes annually at the site, which was selected over the Emporia-Greensville Regional Airport.
C-2 Greyhound
Diverting the twin-engine, turboprop aircraft to Wallops will take pressure off of Fentress Naval Auxiliary Landing Field in Chesapeake. The Hawkeyes and Greyhounds have practiced at Fentress, which is primarily used by squadrons of F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets from Oceana Naval Air Station.

A sounding rocket, sometimes called a research rocket, is an instrument-carrying rocket designed to take measurements and perform scientific experiments during its sub-orbital flight.
heat treatment for nose cone. Material resembles bed liner spray.
The NASA Balloon Program provides low-cost, quick response, near space access to NASA's science community for conducting cutting edge science investigations. This includes observatory-class payloads with advanced technologies and large aperture/mass. The program also serves as a technology development platform for future space missions Instrument & Subsystem development for NASA Flight Projects and it provides hands-on training of Students and Young Scientists.
scale model balloon
Wallops Island launch area and Naval training was the last stop on the tour.  This was strictly on the bus but the Wallops guide along with fellow Pilot Steve H did a fabulous job providing details and behind the scenes info on the facility.
Pad 0B
Launch pad 0B with Minotaur V rocket in September 2013.
Launch pad 0A with Antares rocket, April 2013
Surface Combat Systems Center Wallops Island

Three main facilities make up SCSC Wallops. The AEGIS Engineering and Training Complex houses destroyer/cruiser AEGIS and ballistic missile defense (BMD) baseline testing. The Ships Self Defense Facility houses live and simulated operations for ships self-defense systems as well as large-platform (aircraft carriers and amphibious ships) baseline testing. The Wallops Island Engineering Test Center houses the CVN 78 and DDG 1000 radar development and testing.

When ships in the fleet are getting outfitted with the latest technology, SCSC Wallops is the place they can rely upon to put their hands on the exact equipment they'll be operating on the ship. The bonus is that they can throw everything they have at the system, break it, and have the support they need to get the system back online and do it all again in a controlled environment. This helps build the confidence and muscle memory the crew will need when operating these systems in a real-world scenario.
Aegis Combat System training
US Navy Ford Class Carrier Training
I am looking forward to my next visit to the facility. I hope they will have the hangar open once the aircraft services are completed. I would also like a tour of the horizontal integration facility (HIF) that houses the Antares rockets being readied for launch.

It was an awesome tour and we had a blast!! 


Jim and Sandie said...

I think even I would like a tour like that. Amazing.

Gary said...

Its such a quiet out of the way place on the peninsula that is so busy with the latest and greatest technology....worth a stop for the tour.