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SATRACK was developed to validate and monitor the Trident missile guidance error model in the System Flight Test Program. It is the primary instrumentation and processing system responsible for accuracy evaluation of the Navy’s Strategic Weapon System. Instrumentation and processing systems available when the Trident Development Program began could not meet this need. APL conceived and led the development of the SATRACK system to fulfill this requirement. Prototype instrumentation required for the missile and ground station data collection functions were developed at APL to validate the concept, and we generated specifications controlling the development of the operating missile and ground station hardware. We also developed and operate the SATRACK processing facility, which includes a unique preprocessing hardware and software configuration and an extensive post processing analysis capability. Additionally, the APL satellite tracking facility has operated as a backup SATRACK recording site for all East Coast test flights since 1978. SATRACK fully met all its guidance subsystem evaluation requirements and also provided weapon system error model insights that would not have been possible without its unique ability to detect and allocate small error contributors to miss distances observed in the flight test program. SATRACK not only validated the Trident system accuracy, but the test-derived and -validated system error models have allowed the command authority to confidently assign and allocate targets to sea-based strategic resources. According to the dictionary guidance is the ‘process of guiding the path of an object towards a given point, which in general may be moving’. The process of guidance is based on the position and velocity if the target relative to the guided object. The present day ballistic missiles are all guided using the global positioning system or GPS.GPS uses satellites as instruments for sending signals to the missile during flight and to...
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