Press Release

Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory: 70 Years of Critical Contributions

Thu, 03/08/2012 - 09:42

On March 10, 2012, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) marks its 70th year of meeting critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. APL, a not-for-profit research division of The Johns Hopkins University, develops affordable leading-edge solutions for government sponsors in traditional areas such as air defense, undersea warfare, precision engagement, strategic systems and space systems, as well as newer areas such as homeland protection and cyber operations.

“Seventy years is a significant milestone for any organization,” says APL Director Ralph Semmel. “As we reflect, it is gratifying to recognize that we have contributed extensively to our nation’s security, taken the world to the edge of the solar system, and changed lives through medical innovations and technology advancements.”

APL is known for its systems engineering leadership and in its early years applied the discipline to advance anti-aircraft weaponry, missile accuracy, satellite navigation and sensor networks. As the world and technology became more complex, the Lab took on increasingly difficult programs that included advanced sensors, data fusion, autonomous operations, networking and applied neuroscience.

APL also is one of only four “end-to-end” space research facilities in the U.S. that can design and build a spacecraft plus manage the mission. The Laboratory has built 64 spacecraft and nearly 200 space instruments for NASA and defense sponsors. Right now, one of its spacecraft is in orbit around Mercury (MESSENGER), and another is headed to Pluto (New Horizons).

Sponsors of current APL programs include the Department of Defense, the intelligence community, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

APL employs more than 5,000 scientists, engineers and support staff on its 399-acre campus in Laurel, Md. It moved to Howard County in 1954 from Silver Spring, Md., where it opened its doors on Georgia Avenue in 1942. Today, APL is Howard County’s largest private employer and is frequently recognized by Baltimore and Washingtonian magazines as a “Best Place to Work.”