Master CPO Alex Peterson is the ISDC’s leading EMDAR specialist. EMDAR is technology that allows the detection of other vessels in space based on their electromagnetic emissions. 


While aboard, the EMDAR Chief is responsible for the team of specialists who operate specialist tactical sensor equipment, tasked with detecting other vessels in space as early as possible. This process starts with interpreting patterns of emitted EM radiation to determine which might represent another vessel and what its course might be. By applying their knowledge of what subtle shifts in pattern formations mean, the EMDAR team can pinpoint a vessel’s location and track it.

Detecting and tracking any object in the vessel’s immediate environment ensures that the bridge crew are aware of anything that might represent a threat (or offer assistance). The EMDAR team are therefore crucial to the safety of their own vessel.

Leading up to the launch of Endeavour, Peterson leads a team that is working with simulations to develop techniques and procedures for interpreting EM patterns and translating them into successfully tracked vessels. This will be put into practise during hunt/kill simulations where two crews will compete to be the first to detect and track the other. 


Peterson served with the US Navy as a SONAR operator on nuclear-powered fleet and ballistic submarines. The principles underpinning SONAR are broadly similar to EMDAR: both use passive sensor technology that allows the long-distance detection of other vessels without emitting any active scans which could give their own position away.

Peterson was recruited by the ISDC as a Petty Officer and set about adapting his SONAR experience to the emergent field of EMDAR. As the team grew, a technical specialist capable of leading it became necessary and Peterson was selected.

Recently, Peterson completed the requisite practical experience, training and research to attain master qualification. While not an increase in rank, the combination of his rank and qualification level makes him one of the most senior technical specialists in the service: a master chief petty officer, or ‘master chief’.

Becoming an EMDAR Specialist

Interested in Master Chief Peterson’s role as an EMDAR specialist?

To take on a similar role yourself, you’ll need to sign up as military crew and apply for the tactical branch.

You’ll be given all the training you need to come to grips with EMDAR, including online reference materials, on-demand video lectures and interactive seminars. Once you know the basics, you’ll be able to take part in hands-on simulations so you can put what you know into practise and hone your skills.

The best performing EMDAR specialists will be in the running to join Endeavour’s first crew for launch.