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Wallops Island

Trip Planner USA  /  Virginia  /  Wallops Island
(4.4/5 based on 170+ reviews for 2 attractions)
Things to do: museums
Wallops Flight Facility, located on the Eastern Shore of Virginia approximately 100 miles north-northeast of Norfolk, is operated by the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, primarily as a rocket launch site to support science and exploration missions for NASA and other Federal agencies. WFF includes an extensively instrumented range to support launches of more than a dozen types of sounding rockets, small expendable suborbital and orbital rockets, high altitude balloon flights carrying scientific instruments for atmospheric and astronomical research and—using its Research Airport—flight tests of aeronautical research aircraft including unmanned aerial vehicles.There have been over 16,000 launches from the rocket testing range at Wallops since its founding in 1945 in the quest for information on the flight characteristics of airplanes, launch vehicles, and spacecraft, and to increase the knowledge of the Earth's upper atmosphere and the environment of outer space. The launch vehicles vary in size and power from the small Super Loki meteorological rockets to orbital-class vehicles.The Wallops Flight Facility also supports science missions for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and occasionally for foreign governments and commercial organizations. Wallops also supports development tests and exercises involving United States Navy aircraft and ship-based electronics and weapon systems in the Virginia Capes operating area, near the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay. In addition to its fixed-location instrumentation assets, the WFF range includes mobile radar, telemetry receivers, and command transmitters that can be transported by cargo planes to locations around the world, in order to establish a temporary range where no other instrumentation exists, to ensure safety, and to collect data in order to enable and support suborbital rocket launches from remote sites.
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