Although it sounds like huge spending, Col. Eric Felt, director of the AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate, says that this new contract will allow AFRL to bring most of its space-related projects in one place, instead of awarding several smaller individual contracts, which wouldn’t be cost- and time-effective. The main objectives of the Space Dynamics Laboratory will be related to technology development and mission support.
Future research projects developed under this contract will focus on a multitude of areas, including nuclear-related science, advanced satellite navigation, quantum and photonic sensors, plus information-related capabilities. These projects will be overseen by the Space Vehicles Directorate, acting as a center of excellence for space within AFRL.
Earlier this year, the same Directorate inaugurated the Space Warfighting Operations Research and Development (SWORD) Laboratory, a 26,000 square feet (2,415 square meters) facility that integrates several laboratory spaces and offices. SWORD’s mission is to develop technologies specifically related to the deterrence of various types of threats in space. This is because space is not just a source of knowledge, but also an area with high-security threats, especially as the space industry becomes increasingly important.