Space Dynamics Lab Breaks Ground on Calibration Facility

October 19, 2001

LOGAN — Utah State University's Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL) and the USU Research Foundation will host a groundbreaking ceremony for the Lab's Calibration and Optical Research Center

Construction of the 43,000 square foot facility was sparked by continuing growth in research contracts and staff increases, said Allan Steed, SDL director. "It has been seven and a half years since we moved into the Jake Garn Research building. I thought it would be 20 years before we outgrew that space."

The new facility is SDL's fifth building, bringing its total square footage to 173,000. Estimated completion date for the building is late 2002.

The building will house a large calibration facility donated to SDL by Boeing last year. It features a vacuum chamber with cryogenic capabilities to accommodate testing and calibration of large space hardware systems.

"This will allow us to test and calibrate completely assembled systems in a simulated space environment," said Steed.

Developing methods of accurately evaluating and calibrating electro-optical sensors has been a major thrust for SDL over the past 20 years, said Steed. "SDL has gained national and international prominence in this field."

"In the '60s you could impress people with pretty pictures from space platforms. Since then it has become critical to make measurements with great precision," he said. "Now, calibration of instruments is of paramount importance."

The research center will include offices, conference rooms, storage areas and an auditorium. The auditorium will be used for company meetings and conferences such as the Annual Conference on Characterization and Radiometric Calibration for Remote Sensing, which SDL has hosted for the past decade.

"We are excited about this new building and the opportunity it will bring us to grow and accomplish the tasks we are capable of," Steed said. "We are looking forward to adding more buildings in the near future."

Charles Watt, PhD, Chairman of the USURF Board of Trustees, will conduct the groundbreaking ceremony, to be held at the southwest corner of the USU Research and Technology Park at 1695 North Research Park Way in North Logan. Scheduled speakers include USU President Kermit Hall, along with USU Research Foundation officials.

Headquartered in North Logan, SDL is a nonprofit research corporation and a unit of the USU Research Foundation. SDL has designed, fabricated and operated over 400 payloads in the past 42 years, including space shuttle experiments and satellite-based sensor systems. Core competencies include infrared and hyperspectral sensor development, data compression and processing, cryogenic systems, and sensor calibration. SDL employs more than 300 people at facilities in North Logan, Bedford, Mass., and Washington, D.C.