Under the Naval Center for Space Technology (NCST), the Spacecraft Engineering Department (SED) serves as the focal point for the Navy's in-house spacecraft bus capability. Research and development activities range from concept and feasibility studies through initial on orbit space systems operation. Design, assembly, and test activities are performed in conjunction with NCST's Space Systems Development Department (SSDD). The SED provides analysis, design, and hardware expertise in structures and mechanisms, attitude determination and control systems, propulsion and reaction control systems, thermal control systems, satellite integration and test, launch vehicle integration, and satellite-to-boost-stage integration.

The SED functions as the Program Manager for Navy Space Programs. In this role, systems engineering and technical directions are provided while maintaining an active in-house satellite development capability. The SED performs as a prototype laboratory in this role and ensures that designs are transferable to industry for follow-on satellite builds. The facilities include: Spacecraft Vibration Test Facility, Modal Survey Test Facility, Robotics Engineering and Controls Laboratory, and Radio Frequency Anechoic Chamber.