(U) In effort to develop a premier satellite integration and test facility at Kirtland AFB, the Aerospace Engineering Facility (AEF) was inaugurated in April 1996. In addition, a SCIF-rated adjunct to the AEF, the Secure Experiment Facility (SEF), will become operational in the fourth quarter of FY97. A third facility, the High Altitude Balloon and Tethered Aerostat Operations Center at Holloman AFB, has been acquired to add a new dimension to our test capabilities. These aerospace experiment integration, verification, and test facilities will be fully manned by an Integrated Product Team, formed of government and contractor personnel. On-site contractors are supplied under the Integration Support Services contract, a contract designed to bring in the expertise of industry to work with the civilian and military engineers and technologists from Kirtland, Edwards, and Hanscom Air Force Bases. The Phillips Laboratory offers the capabilities of these facilities to the populace of the Laboratory as well as the DoD, encouraging organizational partnerships in support of a common goal: success in space.
(U) Satellite development breaks down into two missions: integration and verification. PL has the capability to perform both these missions in the AEF. Here, NASA-certified technologists can lay out electronics boards, populate the boards with their components, and apply polymerics. They can also design, fabricate, and install the miles of cable harnesses associated with all flight experiments. As the experiment matures, it moves into the mechanical integration room. Additional certified technologists integrate these sub-systems and systems onto structures creating flight experiments. Throughout this entire process, the experiment undergoes constant functional and baseline tests, assuring all systems and components meet design specification. All these activities are conducted under the watchful eye of NASA-certified Quality Control and Assurance personnel.
(U) To mitigate the risk involved with space flight, a space experiment must pass rigorous verification tests that emulate the space environment. The AEF has the capability to perform thermal cycling, vibration, and thermal-vacuum testing. These tests give the experimenter the confidence that his or her experiment will operate as it should in space. Other ancillary capabilities within these facilities include a portable class 10,000 clean room as well as a 600 square foot class 100 clean room, a light machine shop for fabrication and repairs, and a telemetry laboratory for communications and data acquisition development, test, and verification. In FY97, we will add a mass properties table to the AEF's equipment roster for measurement and balancing.
(U) The High Altitude Balloon and Tethered Aerostat Operations Center at Holloman AFB adds an inexpensive test and verification method for risk mitigation. A high altitude balloon can be a very useful tool to pre-qualify space experiments. The control regime and environment are very close to that of space. The facilities at Holloman include a machine shop for payload and gondola fabrication, a high-bay for payload integration, and instrumentation integration facilities. Payload telemetry and command facilities have the ability to downlink telemetry at 1 Mbps, and command uplink at 9600 bps. Fully developed launch sites are available on Holloman, and White Sands Missile Range, but launches can be supported world-wide with the mobile telemetry and control vans. Personnel at Holloman have been flying high-altitude balloons and tethered aerostats for more than 20 years, with payloads ranging from atmospheric testing to Mars landing vehicles.
(U) Facilities and trained personnel dedicated to the integration and test of small satellite, sounding rocket, and balloon experiments adds a new facet to Kirtland's Phillips Laboratory capabilities, and stepping up the Space Experiments Directorate's commitment to science and technology in support of the Air Force mission in space. By bridging the gap between the experimenterÔs benchtop and space, PL supports the rapid transition of technology to the warfighter and augments the technical base present at the laboratory. In addition to many walk-in projects, the AEF has successfully integrated and tested the PASS, LMTE, and Alpha I experiments, and is currently hosting work on the MightySat I spacecraft. The AEF team is making excellent progress toward becoming the Air Force's cornerstone for integration and testing of small, rapid deployment aerospace experiments in support of the warfighter.
(U) To be supplied.
|Adv Tech Integration & Demos||Advanced Technical Integration and Demonstrations|
|TECHNOLOGY- RDT&E||SPACE TECHNOLOGY|
(U) National Security Space Road Map Team, NSSA, Open Phone: (703) 808-6040, DSN 898-6040.
(U) 16 July 1997
(U) Road Map Production Date: 23 June 2001