The Space Systems Laboratory engages in cutting-edge research projects with the goal of directly contributing to the current and future exploration and development of space. SSL's mission is to explore innovative concepts for the integration of future space systems and to train a generation of researchers and engineers conversant in this field. Specific tasks include developing the technology and systems analysis associated with small spacecraft, precision optical systems, and International Space Station technology research and development. The laboratory encompasses expertise in structural dynamics, control, thermal, space power, propulsion, microelectromechanical systems, software development and systems. Major activities in this laboratory are the development of small spacecraft thruster systems (see the Space Propulsion Laboratory) and researching issues associated with the distribution of function among satellites. In addition, technology is being developed for spaceflight validation in support of a new class of space-based telescopes that exploit the physics of interferometry to achieve dramatic breakthroughs in angular resolution.
Space Systems Laboratory