Kirtland welcomes new lab

  • Published
  • By Connie Rankin
  • 377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
A ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 21, officially opened of the Air Force Research Laboratory's Battlespace Environment Laboratory building. The 145,000-square-foot facility will house more than 300 people with an annual operating budget of approximately $89 million. The facility is operated by the Battlespace Environment division of AFRL's Space Vehicles Directorate.

The division was previously, at Hanscom AFB, Mass., and moved to New Mexico as a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process. The primary mission of the division is to detect and understand threats to warfighting systems in the aerospace environment and to provide a means to eliminate or mitigate those threats.

The $59.5 million facility has two centers: the Space Weather Center of Excellence, which conducts research on measuring, forecasting and determining the mission impacts of the natural environment, including space, and the Battlespace Surveillance Innova tion Center, which develops space-based detection capabilities. The division also has scientists and engineers at Sacramento Peak Observatory in southern New Mexico, and the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program facility in Gakona, Alaska. The facility will accommodate approximately 220 tons of equipment.

On March 28, the first of 74 semitrailer trucks arrived. Current personnel are being relocated and all the moves should be complete by September 2011.
Hiring has been underway since 2009 to fill highly technical as well as traditional support staff positions.