Hidden History-MIT Haystack Observatory/MIT Lincoln Laboratory Millstone Facility

MIT Haystack

MIT first broke ground at this location in 1956 with the Millstone Radar antenna, which served as an early warning prototype system for incoming ballistic missiles and is today a deep-space satellite tracking radar. Construction of the Haystack and Westford antennas started in 1961; the Haystack Observatory Radio Telescope was the largest instrument of its type in the world at the time. The first Millstone Hill atmospheric science dish was built in 1963, and the second installed in 1978. In 1970, under the Mansfield Amendment to the Military Authorization Act, work at this complex was divided between MIT Lincoln Laboratory (defense-related research and radar operations under the sponsorship of the U.S. Air Force) and MIT Haystack Observatory (openly available radio science and engineering research). Today, the Lincoln Space Surveillance Complex (LSSC) and MIT Haystack Observatory share this 1,300-acre campus, with many trails available for public access.

Produced by Carter Purple of Boy Scouts of America, Troop 159 as an Eagle Scout project (2021) for the Westford Historical Society