A team at Arnold AFB, Tenn., completed initial site-acceptance testing for the base’s new Space Threat Assessment Testbed that is designed to simulate realistic orbital operational environments so that engineers can evaluate and validate satellites and other hardware before they go into space. “We lose billions of dollars worth of assets a year in Department of Defense and commercial satellites just because they fail due to atmospheric conditions, the natural environment in space,” said Keith Holt, Aerospace Testing Alliance’s STAT program manager, in an Oct. 4 release from the Arnold Engineering Development Complex. He added, “STAT is being built to try to do that testing pre-launch and understand what’s destroying our satellite capabilities and what can we do to protect [them].” The one-of-its-kind testbed is now about at the halfway point to providing mission capability, but must still undergo the final site-acceptance test before officials declare it fully mission-ready, according to the release. ATK is the testbed’s prime contractor. (Arnold report by Philip Lorenz III)
In a nighttime ceremony contrived to continue concealment of many of its features, the new B-21 bomber rolled out of Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif. plant Dec. 2. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the aircraft's advanced technology represents "deterrence, the American way."