The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is committing up to $1 billion to develop space-related technology and equipment to support a variety of space missions.
Awarded to the Utah State University Space Dynamics Laboratory, the contract would ensure essential engineering, research, and development capabilities for American space programs.
According to AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate head Col. Eric Felt, the agreement will strengthen the long-term strategic partnership between the air force and the university-affiliated research center. It could also allow the US Space Force the necessary technology to deter potential conflicts in space.
“The partnership will accelerate critical space science and technology projects, especially when we need to quickly respond to urgent and unexpected needs,” he said in a press release.
The Space Dynamics Laboratory will research space-related sensor systems, advanced satellite navigation and GPS technology, and precision quantum and photonic sensors as part of the billion-dollar contract.
Solving Space-Related Problems
AFRL Integrated Experiments and Evaluation Division chief Jon Luminati explained that the partnership is a “great example” of how government and university researchers can collaborate to solve complex problems in space.
He also stated that the collaboration could “greatly advance” the service’s understanding of space and various challenges personnel face when operating there.
Meanwhile, Space Dynamics President Jed Hancock said that the US Air Force’s recent investment could uphold the nation’s reputation as a leader in the research and development of space-related technologies.
“The Space Dynamics Laboratory is honored to be a trusted partner of the Air Force Research Laboratory and the US Space Force to develop technologies for new missions and maintain core capabilities for national defense,” the official said.
Earlier this month, the US Space Force ordered three GPS 3F satellites from aerospace firm Lockheed Martin for more advanced anti-jamming capabilities, an upgraded nuclear detection detonation system payload, and greater geolocation accuracy.