AFRL lays groundwork for new FORTRESS space laboratory > Air Force Material Command > Article display

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That Air Force Research Laboratoryor AFRL, held a groundbreaking ceremony on November 16, 2022 and began construction of the Facility for Radiation Tolerance Research on Electronics for Space and Strategic Systems, or FORTRESS, a 6,200 square foot, $4.5 million facility that located next door to AFRL Directorate of Spacecraft Laboratory for Deployable Structures.


The facility is designed to enable AFRL researchers to study and develop solutions for trusted, high-performance electronic components with the requisite space and strategic hardening to ensure the survivability of critical U.S. Space Force and Air Force systems in harsh, natural and man-made environments ensure .



“Replacing a facility more than 50 years old, this new laboratory will provide a state-of-the-art structure to house and use our irreplaceable test equipment,” said Erin Pettyjohn, associate director of AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate. “Ionizing radiation sources are essential to the development of technologies and components needed for our national security systems and nuclear deterrent systems and operations.”



AFRL scientists and engineers have worked closely with the design and construction team to ensure the facility will meet the future needs of researchers in areas critical to the country’s nuclear and space missions.



“This lab revitalization effort strengthens the United States’ supply of radiation-tolerant electronic components and accelerates the transition to the highest-performing technologies,” said Mark Roverse, director of Spacecraft Technology. “This facility will ensure our continued research access to vanishing sources for critical systems that make up our nuclear and space companies.”



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



“We will continue our long, successful history of conducting collaborative research, bringing the latest technology and providing impartial performance assessments to the Department of Defense community,” said Pettyjohn. “Ninety-five percent of US spacecraft are made possible by electronics manufactured or researched by this team, and we now have a facility that will lead us into the future – the development of cutting-edge space technologies in support of our nation’s defenses.”



About AFRL


The Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development and integration of affordable combat technologies for our air, space and cyberspace forces. With more than 11,500 employees in nine technology areas and 40 additional operations around the world, AFRL offers a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from basic research to advanced research and technological development. For more information visit: www.afresearchlab.com.



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