AFRL breaks ground on new Fortress Space Laboratory

The Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, held a groundbreaking ceremony Nov. 16, 2022, to begin construction of the 6,200-square-foot, $4.5-million Electronic Radiation Resistance Research Facility for Space and Strategic Systems, or FORTRESS. million facility located next to the AFRL Spacecraft Office’s Deployable Structures Laboratory.

The facility is designed to enable AFRL researchers to research and develop solutions for reliable, high-performance electronic components with the necessary space and strategic resilience to ensure the survivability of key US Space Force and Air Force systems in harsh natural and man-made environments. .

“This new laboratory, which replaces a facility that is more than 50 years old, will provide a state-of-the-art facility to house and operate our indispensable test equipment,” said Erin Pettyjohn, associate director of AFRL’s Space Vehicle Office. “Sources of ionizing radiation are critical to the development of technologies and components essential to our national security and nuclear deterrence systems and operations.”

AFRL scientists and engineers are working closely with the design and construction team to ensure the facility will meet the future needs of researchers in fields critical to the nation’s nuclear and space missions.

“This lab revitalization effort strengthens the U.S. supply of radiation-resistant electronic components and accelerates the transition to high-performance technologies,” said Mark Rovers, head of Spacecraft Technology. “This facility will provide our continued research with access to vanishing sources for critical systems that make up our nuclear and space enterprises.”

QA Engineering, LLC, an Albuquerque engineering and construction firm, will construct the building with an estimated completion date of late November 2023.

“We will continue our long successful history of conducting collaborative research, providing the latest technology and providing unbiased performance assessments to the DoD community,” Pettyjohn said. “Ninety-five percent of U.S. spacecraft are powered by electronics manufactured or researched by this team, and we now have a facility that will usher us into the future — the development of advanced space technologies in support of our nation’s defense.”

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A radar used to detect satellites has been released to the market

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In modern military operations, intelligence and counterintelligence have become the main factors that determine the outcome of a battle. Great powers have an unprecedented reliance on space-based assets, mainly low-orbit satellites, to spy on their rivals and adversaries, which poses a challenge for the parties on how to detect spy satellites and take countermeasures. Experts say the first step to hiding something from spacecraft is knowing the number of satellites in orbit. read on AFRL breaks ground on new Fortress Space Laboratory

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