Commentary: WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 14, 2018) - U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, welcomed an announcement from the U.S. Air Force that it will fund a $3.8 million project at Kirtland Air Force Base to construct additional satellite testing infrastructure. The Air Force was able to secure this funding through a provision Senator Heinrich included in the fiscal year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to revitalize and recapitalize facilities at labs and test ranges. Through this funding, Kirtland will construct additional lab space required for proper deployment testing for three key mission areas: Satellite Communications; Positioning, Navigation and Timing; and Space Situation.
“New Mexico is the Center of Excellence for small satellites, and our military has become increasingly dependent on satellites for daily operations,” said Senator Heinrich. “This project will create jobs during construction and continue New Mexico's integral role in major advances in the development of the military’s more responsive and resilient space architecture.”
The project provides the necessary facilities to create and test large deployable structures in an operational scale, such as tensioned precision structures, high strain composite booms and antennas, and high compaction solar array deployable structures.
Senator Heinrich has fought to support and expand small satellite missions such as Space Rapid Capabilities Office, Space Test Program, Space Vehicles Directorate, and the SMC Advanced Systems and Development Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, which is emerging as our nation’s leader in developing and testing small satellite technology for the military.