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Selected Facilities

APL is a 399-acre, self-contained community with more than 20 major buildings, a 500-seat auditorium and conference facility, a broad range of laboratories and technical facilities, and classrooms and computer labs for the on-site JHU graduate engineering program.

  • Kossiakoff Conference and Education Center

    Kossiakoff Conference and
    Education Center

    Named after a former Director of the Laboratory, the Kossiakoff Conference and Education Center—affectionately known to most staff as the Kossi or K. Center—is APL's most distinctive building. The facility's 500-seat auditorium is used for a wide variety of APL activities and events, such as APL's weekly Colloquium series, or as a gathering place for staff to watch an APL spacecraft complete its mission by landing on an asteroid.

    The center features a large reception area that is used for everything from presentations and formal luncheons to holiday receptions and other celebrations. APL-hosted conferences like the Navy's Submarine Technology Symposium are also held in the Kossiakoff Center. Community groups and private organizations use the facility as well.

    In addition to the auditorium and reception area, the Kossiakoff Center contains 16 classrooms and computing facilities that support the JHU Whiting School of Engineering and its Engineering for Professionals program, the largest part-time graduate engineering program in the United States. These on-site classes serve APL staff as well as students from local businesses and government agencies.

  • Advanced Composites Development Laboratory

    Advanced Composites Development Laboratory

    The Advanced Composites Development Laboratory provides a combination of engineering design, analysis, process development, and fabrication support to produce molded polymer and advanced composite parts in support of APL programs.The facility can fabricate tooling, lay-up materials, and autoclave cure parts from a variety of thermosetting or thermoplastic polymer-based composite systems. Facilities also exist for resin injection molding, vacuum thermoforming, and spin casting of polymers and low-melting point metals. In addition, resin transfer molding is used to make large, complex-geometry composite parts at low cost.The facility supports adhesive bonding and potting of parts including the bonding of sandwich panel structures using foam or honeycomb core materials. Coupling process development with materials characterization and nondestructive evaluation ensures that parts fabricated in the facility meet design and performance specifications. The polymer molding capability supports both manual RTV processes and newly installed spin casting technology, where larger numbers of parts are required. Newly installed rapid prototyping technology allows part masters to be produced directly from CAD files for cost- and time-effective mold development.

  • Terahertz Laboratory

    Terahertz Laboratory

    The Terahertz (THz) Laboratory provides imaging and spectroscopy capabilities with electromagnetic waves between roughly 100 GHz and 20 THz (20,000 GHz). Equipment also includes three independent THz time-domain spectrometers (TDS). For a THz TDS, a short electromagnetic pulse is generated by an ultra-short laser pulse in an electro-optic crystal, and the resulting electric field is measured as a function of time. Via Fourier transformation, the frequency spectrum can be obtained, and absorption and dispersion can be calculated as a function of frequency. Two of the setups use a 150-femtosecond laser pulse together with a photoconductive emitter as the THz pulse source, covering the frequency range from about 100 to 2,600 GHz. The third setup uses a 12-femtosecond laser pulse in connection with an electro-optic crystal or polymer, and allows measurements of transmission or reflection over a frequency range from about 1 THz to 12 THz in a dry nitrogen atmosphere to remove water vapor absorption. Current APL projects in THz research involve trace detection of explosives and chemical agents, development of THz sources and imaging arrays, and design of THz meta-materials with novel electromagnetic properties.

  • Environmental Test Facility

    Environmental Test Facility

    The reliability of APL-built spacecraft and instruments is based on our capability to test and qualify complete systems, from microchips to satellites. We test spacecraft under conditions as close to the flight environment as possible. That includes simulating environments from ground handling through launch, and powered and orbital flight. An essential part of our testing and assurance process is the Environmental Test Facility (ETF).

    The ETF provides laboratories, instrumentation, and data acquisition capabilities for thorough thermal and dynamic environmental testing of flight hardware at all levels of assembly. Continual research and development work is conducted in instrumentation related to properly simulating an environment, testing a package, and acquiring and analyzing the environmental test data. ETF structural dynamics and space simulation testing functions are performed in the Vibration Test and Space Simulation Laboratories.

  • Field Testing Aboard Ship

    Field Testing Aboard Ship

    The deck of a ship may not look like other APL facilities, but such on-site locations are a critical part of our work. As a hands-on engineering laboratory, staff members travel wherever projects take them. Testing systems and equipment in the operational environments where a product will be used is a critical part of what we do. Much of our work in the Undersea Warfare Mission Area involves conducting experiments and tests at sea, meaning staff work aboard vessels from submarines to small work boats. We also maintain equipment that is used for submarine and acoustics testing in various oceans, and we develop new products and ideas based on knowledge gained by working in the actual environments where our government sponsors work.

  • Guidance System Evaluation Laboratory

    Guidance System Evaluation Laboratory (GSEL)

    The Guidance System Evaluation Laboratory (GSEL) is a real-time, multiple-mode, hardware-in-the-loop facility for end-to-end evaluation of missile operation. It is used to test the guidance section, interfaces to the weapon system and other sections, and missile performance in all tactical conditions. APL staff evaluate missile guidance and seeker hardware, plus associated flight program software, to verify conformance to performance specifications.

    The missile flight simulation environment in GSEL includes optical target and scene projection for infrared (IR) guidance sections and anechoic chambers with signal generators for radio frequency (RF) guidance sections. Dual-mode (RF/IR) guidance sections can be tested either electrically connected or co-located inside a dual-mode anechoic chamber. The flight environment can also include multiple moving targets, clutter, variable backgrounds, and countermeasures.

  • Collaborative Analysis Center Crystal City

    Collaborative Analysis Center Crystal City

    APL's Collaborative Analysis Center in Crystal City, Virginia, is a dynamic analysis forum for policy and strategy leaders, defense operators, systems engineers, threat specialists, and subject-matter experts to interactively analyze new and advanced concepts, defining new requirements and meeting future needs. Participants with diverse operational and technical expertise examine and evaluate requirements, model alternatives, and develop concepts using facilitated seminars and electronic decision support tools.

  • Collaborative Analysis Center Laurel

    Collaborative Analysis Center Laurel

    The Collaborative Analysis Center on APL's Laurel, Maryland, campus is a dynamic analysis, modeling, simulation, and gaming forum for policy and strategy leaders, defense operators, systems engineers, threat specialists, and subject-matter experts to interactively examine complex problems as well as analyze new and advanced concepts for defining requirements and meeting future needs. Participants with diverse operational and technical expertise examine and evaluate requirements, model alternatives, develop scenarios, and document the process with an automated reporting system. This facility features large-screen, interactive computer displays; a broad range of mission area, force, and theater-level models and simulations; a groupware decision support system; and global access to an extensive array of intelligence and operational data sources.