Site hosted by Build your free website today!

ARIA (sometimes mistaken for Orion) Control is the 512th Test Wing Operations Center, Edwards AFB, California. They are usually found working ARIA -Advanced (sometimes called "Airborne", & originally "Apollo") Range Instrumentation Aircraft (EC-18/EC-135's, 452nd Flight Test Squadron, AF Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB CA. They were formerly the 4950th Test Wing at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH. Advanced Range Instrumentation Aircraft do provide flight support to launches from the Eastern Test Range (aka Cape Canaveral AFS, Fl, aka Cape Radio) including some shuttle missions. They also support launches from the Western Test Range at Vandenburg AFB (call sign ABNORMAL 10). These special aircraft are used worldwide to track & receive telemetry from rockets, missiles, satellites, etc. during the times they aren't capable of being tracked by the traditional ground-tracking network.

...Apollo 11 rushed on through the night, and after a brief glimpse of the Goldstone station in California where they managed to snatch a minutes worth of television to the ground, they prepared for firing the Saturn rocket to kick them onto the track for the moon. Their orbit had been very accurately measured through the tracking stations, all checks were completed, and now they were positioned ready to leave the Earth. Calculations figured a burn of 5 minutes 47 seconds at 2 hours 44 minutes after liftoff over the Pacific Ocean. In the darkness below them Boeing 707 Apollo Range Instrumented Aircraft, ARIA's, were following their track to record every move they made for transmitting back through tracking stations to Houston later....