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Phone: (202) 767-6408




The Spacecraft Engineering Division (SED) designs, builds, and operates pioneering and innovative spacecraft and space systems. The SED functions as a prototype laboratory for new and operationally relevant space based capabilities. From cradle to grave, the division provides expertise in mission design, systems design and engineering, and hardware expertise for every aspect of a space system. The division has a history of transitioning advanced technologies into operations and industry, applying expertise in systems integration, design and verification, dynamics and control systems, electronics and software, and mission operations to develop advanced space technologies.



Core Capabilities 

The SED is a leading expert in spacecraft design, construction, and on-orbit operations. The SED is the focal point for naval spacecraft, and maintains an active, in-house suite of facilities and capabilities to develop satellites from concept to launch and through mission life. The SED has a proven history of integrating multiple complex systems, from research and development, to mission operations, to providing new capabilities. Since 1955, our expansive knowledge of space systems development has included more than 104 spacecraft launches and countless technologies and payloads hosted on other spacecraft missions.

  • Assembly and Integration
  • Attitude Control
  • Blossom Point Tracking Facility
  • Design and Verification
  • Digital Flight Systems
  • Dynamics and Control Systems
  • Electrical Systems Integration
  • Electronics and Software
  • Embedded Flight Software
  • Fluid Systems
  • Mathematics and Orbit Dynamics
  • Mechanical Design
  • Mechanisms
  • Mission Development
  • Mission Operations Branch
  • Mission Planning
  • Power Systems and Instrumentation
  • Propulsion and Fluidic Systems
  • Radio Frequency Systems
  • Robotics and Machine Learning
  • Spacecraft Command and Control
  • Structural Engineering
  • Systems Integration
  • Systems Test
  • Test Systems Software
  • Thermal Systems



The SED and the Space Systems Development Department, together comprising NRL’s Naval Center for Space Technology (NCST), cooperatively develop space systems to respond to Navy, Department of Defense, and national mission requirements with improved performance, capacity, reliability, efficiency, and life cycle cost. The SED facilities that support this work include integration and test highbays, large and small anechoic radio frequency chambers, varying levels of clean rooms, shock and vibration tables, an acoustic reverberation chamber, battery laboratory, large and small thermal/vacuum test chambers, a thermal systems integration and test laboratory, two-phase heat transfer facility, a spin test facility, a static loads test facility, and a spacecraft robotics engineering and control system interaction laboratory.

  • Acoustic Chamber
  • Assembly and Test Area
  • Autoclave
  • Blossom Point Tracking Facility
  • Class-100 Clean Room
  • EMI/EMC Test Facility
  • Machine Shop
  • Radio Anechoic Chamber
  • Space Robotics Laboratory
  • Spin Balance
  • Thermal High-Vacuum Chamber
  • Vibration Facilities