Midway Research Center (MRC)
The Midway Research Center (MRC) is a worldwide test range that provides accurate, known signals as standards for performance verification, validation, calibration, and anomaly investigation for national missions and other customers. In this role, the MRC ensures the availability of responsive and coordinated scheduling, transmission, measurement, and reporting of accurate and repeatable signals.
The Midway Research Center (MRC), is located on a 158-acre site in Stafford County, Virginia. Located adjacent to the Quantico Marine Corps' Combat Development Command, the MRC has 10,000 ft2 of operations and administration area and three precision 18.5-m diameter parabolic antennas housed in 100-ft radomes. The MRC, under the auspices of the Naval Center for Space Technology, provides NRL with state-of-the-art facilities dedicated solely to space-related applications in Naval communications, navigation, and basic research.
The headquarters and primary site of the MRC is located on 162 acres in Stafford County, VA, contiguous to the Quantico Marine Corps Base. The main site consists of three 18.2-m, radome-enclosed precision tracking antennas and a variety of smaller antennas. The MRC has a large operation building and multiple other equipment and office buildings within a fenced compound. The MRC has the capability to transmit precision test signals, with multiple modulation types, from 20 MHz to 18 GHz (up to 40 GHz in an experimental mode). In addition to the primary site, the MRC is responsible for and controls multiple assets both in the U.S. and over-seas. These assets include Pulstar Systems (several world-wide locations), "The Dish" (a 45-m tracking antenna in Palo Alto, CA) and "Marlock" (a 25-m tracking antenna system on Guam).
The MRC system is normally configured to support specific customers; however, the system can be reconfigured in a reasonable time frame to support other needs. The MRC instrumentation suite includes nanosecond-level time reference to USNO, precision frequency standards, accurate RF and microwave power measurement instrumentation, and precision tracking methodologies. The instrumentation has been used for MMW projects. Classified and unclassified projects are supported. There is extensive computer control of all assets. The communications system handles wideband data, both classified and unclassified.
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