by Philip Lorenz III
Arnold Engineering Development Complex Public Affairs
3/14/2013 - ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. -- Arnold
Engineering Development Complex's leadership recently heralded two
firsts at the Complex -- the activation of the Space Combined Test
Force, and acceptance of the new test and evaluation mission that the
CTF will execute.
The CTF integrates Air Force engineers with Aerospace Testing Alliance
contracted engineers and support personnel to jointly conduct testing in
the Space Threat Assessment Testbed, a recently activated space test
STAT is the newest ground test capability at the Complex since the Large
Rocket Test Cell came online in 1993. STAT will reach Initial Operating
Capability in April, followed by Full Operational Capability
certification by September 2013.
"The CTF is responsible for two missions: space sensors testing in our
7V and 10V chambers and space environments testing in STAT," said Chris
Smith, technical director for AEDC's Space and Missile Test. "Our
chambers will continue to be government-managed and contractor-operated.
However, STAT will operate under the construct of integrated USAF/ATA
test planning, design and operations."
Once fully operational, STAT will be able to simulate realistic
operational environments for testing hardware using multiple space
weather generators. STAT will subject test articles to conditions found
outside the Earth's atmosphere, including near-vacuum, extreme cold and
the combined effects of natural and man-made phenomena.
"With commencement of STAT test operations and realization of the CTF,
we will have military personnel, government civilians and contractors
participating collaboratively in test planning, coordination with test
customers, test execution and test data reduction," said Mike Ketron,
Space CTF director. "ATA will be providing support as they always have
with the various test chambers."
Mike Scott, an ATA Test Director for the STAT, sees this organization as a positive step for the future.
"Bringing Air Force and ATA personnel together to work directly toward
the common goal of satisfying test customers will help morale and make
for a more efficient test team," he said.