KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, NM (AFRL) – The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) held groundbreaking 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 facility at a cost of $4.5 million Facility located adjacent to the AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate Deployable Structures Laboratory.
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 .
“This new lab replaces a facility more than 50 years old and will provide a state-of-the-art structure to house and utilize our irreplaceable testing equipment.” said Erin Pettyjohn, Deputy Director of the AFRL Directorate of Spacecraft. “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 US supply of radiation-tolerant electronic components and accelerates the transition to the highest-performing technologies,” said Mark Rovere, Head 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, delivering the latest technology, and providing impartial performance assessments to the Department of Defense community.” Pettyjohn said. “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.”
By Joanne Perkins, Air Force Research Laboratory Public Affairs Released November 18, 2022