Space Dynamics Laboratory. Image courtesy of Utah State University
NORTH LOGAN – Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL) is celebrating 25 years as a significant part of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) efforts to maintain essential engineering research and development capabilities.
In May 1996, SDL and five other university research centers were designated to operate in the public interest as University Affiliated Research Centers (UARCs).
It is work that has included researching and developing small satellite systems to playing a vital role in defending the United States and protecting America’s military service members.
Scott Conner, SDL’s Huntsville site and MDA UARC Director, said there are now 24 research centers under the DOD.
“Fourteen of them are university affiliated, like the Space Dynamics Lab, and the others are usually federally funded research and development centers,” Conner explained. “SDL has been able to take advantage of that long term partnership.
“We are a non-profit and that gives us the ability to act in the public and in society’s best interests and be free from conflicts of interest and to put our customers’ missions needs first.”
Conner said SDL works closely with DOD, with the responsibility of developing science and technology as an applied research laboratory in developing systems.
“Some of those systems are systems that take data off of sensors and translate that data into usable products that intelligence analysts, or other war fighters, can use to support their missions,” he added. “So certainly a lot of the legacy of the work that Space Dynamics has done, especially in the space arena, is directly traceable to demonstrating that science and technology and working closely with our DOD customers.”
SDL has been solving the technical challenges faced by the military, science community and industry for over six decades and supports NASA’s mission to drive advances in science, technology, aeronautics and space exploration.
Today, SDL employs over 1,000 professional engineers, scientists, technicians and business professionals contributing significantly to the economic vitality of Cache Valley.
There are 10 SDL locations throughout the country.