Propulsion Lab Construction Takes Off

Left to right: Dr. Wanda Austin, Dr. Sherrie Zacharius, Dr. Rami Razouk, Dr. Jeff Emdee, and Dan Barbee. (Photo: Eric Hamburg/The Aerospace Corporation)

Aerospace is building a new laboratory that will allow safe testing of propulsion systems. With a symbolic flip of their chrome-plated shovels, Aerospace executives officially started the construction of the new building on Feb. 18.

“The Propulsion Research Facility will enable us to safely and efficiently test and research space propulsion systems that will be used in national security space systems,” said Dr. Sherrie Zacharius, the vice president of Technology and Laboratory Operations, during the groundbreaking ceremony.

The main testing lab will be constructed of reinforced 16-inch thick concrete walls and roof  for high energy system containment. There will also be a chemical and propellant preparation lab, as well as a laser lab for diagnostics for combustion characterization.

The new building will be 1,300 square feet, and adding in the courtyards for gas storage brings the total area to 4,000 square feet.

“With this enhanced testing ability located conveniently here onsite, we will be able to provide even greater support to our customers, continuing the well-recognized expertise we’ve been providing for more than five decades,” Zacharius said.

Dr. Wanda Austin, Aerospace president and CEO, agreed that the facility will help Aerospace’s customers.

“The inception and construction of the Propulsion Research Facility is just the latest manifestation of Aerospace’s commitment to assuring mission success through innovation and delivering value,” she said. “The increased capability and efficiency that will be realized through this facility will give the company even greater flexibility to meet the needs of our customers for years to come.”

—Laura Johnson