From the collection
The coin was made to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Haystack Observatory in Westford (1964-2014), which is operated by the Northeast Radio Observatory Corporation (NEROC) and MIT Lincoln Labs. The Haystack Radio Telescope was built by MIT Lincoln Labs, and was extensively renovated and updated by 2009. Haystack now has multiple facilities, including the Haystack Radio Telescope, Westford Radio Telescope, Millstone Hill Radar, Deuterium Array, and Atmospherics Optics Facility.
Scientific use of the multi-town area of Millstone Hill goes as far back as the 1950s, with the still in operation UHF Transmitter tracking Sputnik in 1957. The transmitter is part of today’s Millstone Hill Radar facility. NEROC itself was formed in 1967 by MIT and several other universities to facilitate astrophysical research in the Northeast, ultimately running Haystack by 1970. In the 1970s, laws shifted, necessitating the requirement to separate public and private research. This change led to NASA Jet Propulsion Labs having separate operations on the hill. Today, NEROC facilitates collaborative and educational research with MIT’s Haystack Observatory.