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Wallops Flight Facility

Government Agency
Agency nameWallops Flight Facility
Agency overview
Pilotless Aircraft Research Station
Wallops Station
HeadquartersWallops Island, Virginia, United States  
Operational structure
Agency executivesWilliam Wrobel, director
Parent agencyGoddard Space Flight Center

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Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) , located on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, is operated by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, primarily as a rocket launch site to support science and exploration missions for NASA and other U.S. government 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.

The WFF range supports science missions for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and occasionally for foreign governments and commercial organizations. It 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 radars, telemetry receivers, and command transmitters that can be deployed by aircraft 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. The WFF mobile range assets have been used to support rocket launches from locations in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, South America, Africa, Europe, Australia and at sea. Workers at Wallops include approximately 1,000 full-time NASA civil service employees and contractors, 30 U.S. Navy personnel, and 100 NOAA employees.

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