AFMC Command News

AFRL showcases key programs at 2023 Space Symposium

  • Published
  • By Justin Hayward
  • Air Force Research Laboratory Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFRL) – The Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, will feature several space-related technologies and programs during the 38th Space Symposium at the Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, Colorado, April 17-20, 2023.

“Our competitors understand that space is critical for U.S. military operations, and they believe the space domain will be pivotal in future conflicts, so they are aggressively pursuing a wide range of capabilities to deny, degrade or destroy U.S. space systems and infrastructure,” said Dr. Andrew Williams, deputy technology executive officer for Space Science and Technology, or S&T. “We are in a strategic technology competition in the space domain with the PRC and Russia, who are rapidly developing new and greater counterspace capabilities. The Air Force Research Laboratory is executing science and technology efforts across the nation for the U.S. Space Force as one lab supporting two services to develop resilient architectures and increase the cost of aggression.”

Williams will conduct a Q&A session with members of the media April 19, 2023, from 1-1:30 p.m. MT in briefing room A, located in the Columbine Room, on the second floor of Broadmoor Hall, where he will discuss technologies on display at the AFRL exhibit booth.

Williams will also co-host a fireside chat with Dr. Steven Meier, director, Naval Center for Space Technology, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory or NRL, April 19 from 3:45-4:10 p.m. MT at the Broadmoor International Center. Their discussion will focus on strategic technological competition and the value of collaboration between NRL and AFRL.

AFRL programs

At the Space Symposium, AFRL will highlight a variety of space programs and technologies including Space Solar Power Incremental Demonstrations and Research Project, or SSPIDR; Hack-A-Sat; Neuromorphic Processing and Sensing; Quantum Microscope; and Tactically Responsive Space Access, or TRSA.

SSPIDR is a series of integrated demonstrations and technology maturation efforts at the AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate to develop space-based solar power collection and transmission capabilities. SSPIDR will demonstrate key technologies that could eliminate the need for costly and dangerous convoys, by providing warfighter energy needs from space.
Since the inception of GPS, it has become a global utility extending beyond military use with air traffic control, banking, farming and cellular networks all depending on uninterrupted GPS coverage. NTS-3 is the first position, navigation and timing experiment in over 45 years and will demonstrate a more flexible, robust and resilient, satellite navigation architecture.

Hack-A-Sat is a space focused capture-the-flag hacking competition, designed to inspire the world's top cybersecurity talent. Everything, including GPS, financial transactions, air traffic control and beyond, depends on space systems that can be vulnerable to attack. Hack-A-Sat builds a non-traditional community of security researchers, government, industry and academia working together to inform and improve the cyber resilience of ground and in orbit space systems.

Neuromorphic Intelligent Computing Systems are being developed by AFRL to improve processing power for edge artificial intelligence and machine learning to give operators analytical results, not raw data, to speed wartime decision making. Neuromorphic computing architectures are necessary to achieve advanced and new capabilities in pattern recognition, event reasoning, robust decision making, adaptive learning and autonomous tasking for energy efficient agile Space Force platforms.

The Neuromorphic Camera known as FalconNeuro is an experiment flying on the International Space Station designed and built at the Space Physics and Atmospheric Research Center at the U.S. Air Force Academy. FalconNeuro demonstrates, for the first time, the use of biologically inspired event-based, or neuromorphic cameras for use in space.
Entangled photons provide a unique analytical tool to accomplish difficult sensing tasks supported by a Quantum Optical Microscope. Using quantum states of light opens new avenues to enhance the performance and vision of the warfighter. This ultralow light intensity quantum microscope with novel diagnostic capabilities can be used for sensing and recognition of microscopic structures.
TRSA is a program that is maturing and demonstrating advanced rocket propulsion and space access technologies with commercial and government partners. The effort seeks to facilitate USSF space access that is resilient, survivable, rapid and responsive, while ensuring relevant timelines and supporting a vibrant and stable launch market.
Oracle provides space situational awareness, object detection and tracking in the cislunar space, supporting a resurgence of interest in lunar exploration and development across civil, commercial and international space agencies as part of a collaborative effort between the AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate and the Transformational Capabilities Office.
Representatives from AFRL’s new Strategic Partnering Directorate will be on hand to discuss science and technology challenges, grants and other opportunities. The new directorate is comprised of Small Business Directorate and Plans and Programs Partnerships division, or XPP, which allows them to capitalize on external S&T innovations, leading to future capabilities addressing warfighter challenges. One goal of the new directorate is to simplify accessibility to partnership opportunities for external entities and streamline internal workforce training.
SpaceWERX is the U.S. Space Force-affiliated arm of the AFWERX team, focuses on advancing innovative technologies for USSF Guardians and expanding the space industrial space by guiding additional partners, leveraging commercial investment and rapidly pursuing new technologies, while closely aligning its efforts with space operators and acquisition professionals within the USSF. Innovators can visit Space Force Tech Connect, where users can submit ideas and capabilities to AFRL subject matter experts for potential feedback, collaborations and opportunities.
To view the agenda and register for the 2023 National Space Symposium, visit
About AFRL

The Air Force Research Laboratory is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 11,500 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit