AEDC to add new space test capability

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The Air Force awarded a $26.1 million contract to ATK Mission Research of Santa Barbara, Calif., Wednesday to produce the Space Threat Assessment Testbed (STAT) ground test capability at the Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC), Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn.

"We are very excited to have awarded this contract to develop a much-needed space test capability," said AEDC Commander Col. Art Huber. "STAT will create a realistic space environment to perform developmental and early operational testing of space hardware for the Department of Defense, the National Reconnaissance Office and other agencies against man-made threats and naturally occurring environmental phenomena.

STAT will simulate the environmental conditions existing at various orbits and self-induced effects. STAT will also emulate man-made threats to perform system test and evaluation."

STAT will also lay the foundation for near real-time connectivity to a satellite operations center, said STAT Technical Director Lance Baxter.

"STAT will allow us to do integrated system testing, training, tactics, techniques, and procedures development," Baxter said. "It is a significant step towards the development of an important new national capability."

ATK's Utah facility will coordinate and execute the design, fabrication, installation and testing of the STAT system.

ATK's Tullahoma, Tenn., office will handle the onsite assembly, testing and checkout.

STAT will reside in AEDC's Space Systems Effects Facility, formerly known as DECADE, a test facility designed for nuclear weapons effects testing. Test systems within this facility were dismantled earlier this year.

STAT is slated to be completed and functional in 54 months.