US Army Space and Missile Defense Command Research and Analysis Center (SMDC-RAC) 


To promote and facilitate USMA cadet and faculty research in support of the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC) objectives; enhance the professional development of the USMA faculty; and inspire cadets through space and missile defense education and research to face technical challenges with confidence. 

Education Model 

  • Host the Army Space Cadre Basic Course as the Space MIAD annually to provide cadets and some faculty with an operational space background for use in their Army careers.
  • Teach one section of SP471, Astronautics, or SP472, Space Physics, to provide baseline space and missile defense knowledge for cadet Space Science majors and minors.
  • Upon return from their summer internship, advise cadets conducting senior-year research sponsored by SMDC. 
  • Credential graduating cadets with a 3Y (Space Enabler) Additional Skill Identifier and induct them into the Army Space Cadre, thereby preparing them for future space and missile defense assignments. 


•    Facilitate the following multi-disciplinary capstone projects:
    o    Black Knight Satellite led by the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science exploring low cost, radiation survivable commercial off the              shelf (COTS) small satellites.
    o    Space Engineering and Applied Research (SPEAR) led by the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering and co-sponsored by the Department of                Physics and Nuclear Engineering, with the goal of a cadet designed and built rocket breaking the Karmen line (100 km altitude).

•    Explore partnerships with DoD, industry, and academia to facilitate the following cadet research projects:
    o    Small satellites
    o    Balloon satellites
    o    Position, navigation and timing resiliency

Black Knight 1 


Black Knigth 1Black Knight Launch



Black Knight 2

(development started in AY 13-14)

Black Knight 2



  • Integrate cadets and faculty into MIT Lincoln Laboratory’s missile defense radar calibration research.  This effort is investigating a small satellite radar calibration sphere – called the A-Sphere – utilizing dielectric technology to create a “cat’s eye” retroreflectivity effect from orbit back to the ground radar.
The A-Sphere