Space Detection and Tracking System

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Space Detection and Tracking System, or SPADATS, was built in 1960 to integrate defense systems built by different branches of the United States Armed Forces and was placed under North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). The Air Force had a program called Spacetrack, which was a network of space-probing cameras and radar. The Navy had a system called SPASUR, a space surveillance system that was "an electronic fence" the protected the southern United States.[1]

SPADATS was developed by the SpaceTrack Research and Development Facility, also called the 496L System Program Office, at Hanscom Field in Bedford, Massachusetts.[2] It first operated at the Electronic Systems Command building at Hanscom and in 1963 was transferred to the Ent Air Force Base[2] and then to the Cheyenne Mountain Complex in 1965[3] or 1966.[4] From that point, the SpaceTrack Research and Development Facility continued to build and test new software, manage contracts for hardware and software, and operate as a backup facility.[2] SPADATS was developed in assembly language and the hardware at all three locations was Philco 2000/Model 212 large scale transistor computers.[4] Spiral Decay, a Special Perturbation Program, was used to model the motion of space objects re-entering the Earth's atmosphere. Project 437 used a second Special Perturbation Program called ESPOD.[4]

SPADATS remained operational until about 1980 at Cheyenne Mountain. Some of its logic, though continued on in Space Defense Operations Center (SPADOC) systems.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Elinor C. Sloan (28 October 2005). Security and Defence in the Terrorist Era. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. p. 194. ISBN 978-0-7735-7320-8. 
  2. ^ a b c Brian C. Weeden and Paul J. Cefola (December 1, 2010). "Computer Systems and Algorithms for Space Situational Awareness: History and Future Development" (PDF). ISCOPS 12th International Conference of Pacific-Basin Societies 138. Advances in the Astronautical Sciences. p. 3-4. Retrieved February 23, 2015 – via Secure World Foundation. 
  3. ^ Office of History, North American Aerospace Defense Command (December 21, 2012). "A Brief History of NORAD" (PDF). NORAD. Retrieved February 23, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d Brian C. Weeden and Paul J. Cefola (December 1, 2010). "Computer Systems and Algorithms for Space Situational Awareness: History and Future Development" (PDF). ISCOPS 12th International Conference of Pacific-Basin Societies 138. Advances in the Astronautical Sciences. p. 3-4. Retrieved February 23, 2015 – via Secure World Foundation.