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NEWS | April 2, 2024

NRL to highlight revolutionary technologies at Space Symposium 2024

By Emily Winget, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Corporate Communications

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) will highlight cutting-edge space-related programs and technologies during the 39th Space Symposium in exhibit booth #625 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs April 8-11, 2024.
NRL’s Dr. Steven Meier will speak at the “Inventing the Future for Space Superiority” panel discussion, April 11, 2024 at the International Center: North. Dr. Andy Williams, Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Deputy Technology Executive Officer (TEO), and Dr. Andrew Gray, Office of Technology Maturation NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will join Dr. Meier to discuss the significance of advancing in space technology and research.
Visit booth #625 to learn more about NRL technologies and capabilities:
CTAR: The Coalition Tactical Awareness and Response utilizes commercial satellite imagery to produce actionable intelligence on operational timelines. The open architecture allows access to various commercial satellites and hosting of many exploitation algorithms.
LARADO: Light sheet Anomaly Resolution and Debris Observation, and its space-based design concept for using satellite and laser technology to detect orbital debris in sizes that currently are not detectable from the ground.
LEO Laser Retroreflector Array: The LEO Laser Retroreflector Array is a lightweight and compact satellite laser ranging (SLR) retro-reflector array for low Earth orbiting smallsats at ranges below 2200 km.
NCST SED Spacecraft Integration & Test Facility: The Naval Center for Space Technology (NCST) has complete in-house facilities dedicate to the research, design & development of spaceflight instruments, systems, and spacecraft. Flight hardware development ranges the full-breath of size and complexity; from card & component level items, up to national security space launch (NSSL) class instruments and spacecraft.

Under the NCST, the Spacecraft Engineering Division (SED) serves as the focal point for the Navy’s in-house spacecraft bus capability. Space systems research and development activities range from basic and applied research, to concept and feasibility studies, through launch integration and initial on-orbit operation. Design, assembly, integration, and test activities are performed in conjunction with NCST’s Space Systems Development Division (SSDD).
Neptune: NRL’s Neptune® software is award-winning government-owned & managed command and control software with a rich operational heritage on more than 100 satellites set in all orbital regimes. Neptune runs at more than 10 ground stations and operations facilities providing command and control (C2) for a diverse set of missions at all classification levels. The software can support any satellite and any set of ground station equipment in one government-owned and supported software baseline. Neptune can support any satellite operations concept, from fully staffed to completely “lights out” automated.
NIMO: The Navy Ionosphere Model for Operations is an ionospheric data assimilation system and physics-based forecast model that provides global 3D specifications of electron density at a 15-minute cadence and regularly updated 24-hour climatological forecasts. The model will transition to operations at Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center (FNMOC) in FY23.
OCEAN: Orbit/Covariance Estimation and Analysis is a state-of-the-art orbit determination, ephemeris propagation, and timing calibration software suite. OCEAN applies high fidelity models and advanced estimation techniques to provide precise and accurate satellite ephemeris, orbit predictions, and covariance products throughout the mission lifetime.
Optical Interoperability Testbed: The Space Development Agency (SDA) is developing a proliferated low Earth orbit (LEO) constellation of spacecraft. Spacecraft in this constellation will communicate with each other using optical intersatellite links. The NRL has built and operated a laboratory testbed for investigating the interoperability of optical communication terminals in the SDA constellation.
PRAM: The Photovoltaic Radio-frequency Antenna Module is testing functional components of what would be part of a power satellite network that could transmit energy from space to anywhere on Earth.
PROTEUS: PROTEUS is a maritime domain awareness system that is used to identify, query, and filter maritime vessels based on user-defined criteria and provides near-real time global maritime situational awareness. This is accomplished by supplying multi-source data ingestion and fusion services and automatically generating and maintaining worldwide vessel tracks. The PROTEUS system comprises a data collector and aggregator, a multi-source data fusion engine, a complex event processor, a maritime domain awareness services layer, a web-based common operating picture and analytic tools.
Space robotics and satellite servicing: NRL has spent nearly two decades working to transition unmanned space robotic satellite servicing from an R&D concept to a fielded national capability. Robotic servicing promises to bring in a new era of increasingly resilient on-orbit operations by providing the ability to finely inspect, reposition, repair, and upgrade existing spacecraft. NRL has developed safe autonomous robotics controls and has focused development on understanding the interactions between all of the unique elements that must work together to make satellite servicing a reality.
Space Solar Power Beaming: Allows for the transfer of energy without moving mass. Microwave power beaming is the efficient, point-to-point transfer of electrical energy across free space by a directive microwave beam. Space Solar, also called Solar Powered Satellites, is where we capture the abundant sunlight that exists in space and send it where it needs to be on earth.
VMOC: Virtual Mission Operations Center is a space-qualified, government-owned, cloud-based satellite mission-planning framework that provides offline and real-time mission planning capabilities through a web-based system.
Variable-Speed Hypersonic Wind Tunnel: The NRL Hypersonic Wind Tunnel is a long-duration mid-size aerodynamics test facility capable of real-time altitude and speed variation. The range spans sea level to over 30km and Mach 1.5 to 5+ in a 12” x 12” x 24” test section.

Additional Technologies and Facilities: The National Space Symposium is a platform where attendees represent all sectors of the space community from multiple spacefaring nations, space agencies, military, national security and intelligence organizations, cyber security organizations, federal and state government agencies and organizations; research and development facilities, educational institutions, private space travel providers, and more. There are over 10,000 attendees expected from more than 25 countries, and more than 15 heads of space agencies expected to speak.

About the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

NRL is a scientific and engineering command dedicated to research that drives innovative advances for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps from the seafloor to space and in the information domain. NRL is located in Washington, D.C. with major field sites in Stennis Space Center, Mississippi; Key West, Florida; Monterey, California, and employs approximately 3,000 civilian scientists, engineers and support personnel.
For more information, contact NRL Corporate Communications at (202) 480-3746 or

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