The effects of any budget/program decisions made since the information was collected during 1997-98 are NOT reflected in the National Security Space Road Map (NSSRM).

(U) Millstone Haystack

-Road Map
-Text Version

Overview (U):

(U) The Millstone Haystack radars support the imaging and cataloging of satellites and space debris. The radars are located at the Haystack Observatory in Tyngsboro MA.

Description (U):

(U) The Millstone Haystack complex consists of two radars that share hardware and power which precludes simultaneous operations. The two radars are the Haystack Long Range Imaging Radar (LRIR) and the Haystack Auxiliary Radar (HAX). These radars support missions for USSPACECOM, the National Science Foundation, and for NASA. Their primary function is for deep space imaging of foreign and domestic satellites and orbital debris. The radars image every new foreign space launch in near earth, and image domestic satellites in trouble.

(U) The LRIR takes two-dimensional images of earth satellites by processing highly stable, coherent signals to extract target return range and doppler information. The radar is capable of tracking and imaging near-earth satellites, 200-4,000 km altitude, as well as deep space objects out to 40,000 km range and beyond. The maximum tracking rate of the Haystack antenna is 2 degrees/second, and this sets the limits on observation of near-earth satellites, especially those passing nearly overhead. The limitation on deep space objects is their size: a one square meter radar cross section at 40,000 km is roughly the detection threshold of the radar. The radar operates at 10-GHz center frequency and transmits over a broad range of pulse widths and pulse repetition frequencies, including a 1-GHz linear FM pulse which, when compressed, is used for radar imaging. The radars also provide detection of objects in space and gather information about their estimated size, velocity, altitude, and direction of travel.

(U) The central element of the Haystack radio telescope is a fully steerable paraboloidal antenna, 37 meters in diameter, enclosed in the world's largest space frame radome. The radome is 46 meters in diameter and its 932 triangular membranes are made of 0.6 mm-thick Tedlar-coated dacron cloth which has minimal signal loss at the frequencies of operation.

(U) Haystack is currently tasked for 1,000 hours of imaging per year by U.S. AFSPC, 12 weeks per year by USSPACECOM/J2FS, 8000 hours per year by NASA, unreported block of time by the National Science Foundation, and minor tasking by the NAIC.

User Impact (U):

(U) Principal imaging radar for SSN. Provides empirical data for understanding the orbital debris (down to a few millimeters) environment.

Programmatics (U):

(U) Operational.

(U) Organizations and Funding:

Images (U):

Millstone ComplexMillstone Complex
Millstone HaystackMillstone Haystack Radar
This Table Is Unclassified.

Related Initiatives (U):
Haystack LRIRHaystack Long Range Imaging Radar (LRIR)
Millstone-Haystack AuxillaryMillstone-Haystack Auxillary
This Table Is Unclassified.

Related Requirements (U): None.

Related Categories (U):
Contibuting SensorsContibuting Sensors
RadarRadar - Contributing Sensors
This Table Is Unclassified.

Road Map Placements (U):

This Table Is Unclassified.

Requirements, Funding and Additional Hotlinks (U):

(U) None.

Lead Office (U):


Point of Contact (U):

(U) Dr. Gerry Banner, Open Phone: (781) 981-7915.

Date Of Information (U):

(U) 26 February 1998


(U) For comments/suggestions contact: Office of the National Security Space Architect (NSSA), 571-432-1300.

(U) Road Map Production Date: 23 June 2001

The effects of any budget/program decisions made since the information was collected during 1997-98 are NOT reflected in the National Security Space Road Map (NSSRM).