Explore APL’s Critical Contributions to Critical Challenges

  • Artist's rendering of IMAP spacecraft

    Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP)

    Set to launch in 2025, NASA’s Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) mission will help researchers better understand what happens at the boundary of the heliosphere, where the Sun’s protective magnetic field ends.
    Learn more about Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP)
  • DART crashing into an asteroid

    Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART)

    NASA’s first planetary defense mission—the APL-led Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART)—is the first mission to demonstrate what’s known as the kinetic impactor technique, which involves striking an asteroid to shift its orbit and deflect it from Earth.
    Learn more about Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART)
  • Artist's rendering of Europa Clipper

    Europa Clipper

    The search for life in the solar system beyond Earth gets a boost when NASA’s Europa Clipper mission launches in the mid-2020s to explore under the icy crust of Jupiter’s moon Europa.
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  • Artist's rendering of New Horizons

    New Horizons

    Not even four years after NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft left Pluto and its moons in the rearview mirror—and revolutionized humankind’s view of these small, dynamic worlds on the edge of our solar system—the APL-built and -operated probe conducted a flyby of an ancient Kuiper Belt object, named Arrokoth, on New Year’s Day 2019.
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  • Artist's rendering of Parker Solar Probe

    Parker Solar Probe

    NASA’s Parker Solar Probe—designed and built at APL—launched in August 2018 and has already traveled closer to the Sun than any spacecraft in history.
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  • James Johnson and Danielle Nachman in APL’s PFAS research laboratory.

    Eliminating Forever Chemicals

    Multiple studies have linked PFAS exposure to harmful health effects in humans and animals, and without a natural way to break them down, the chemicals persist in soil and contaminate the environment — including water. APL scientists are developing several technologies to capture and destroy these "forever chemicals."
    Learn more about Eliminating Forever Chemicals
  • Climate Security

    Climate Security

    Climate change is reshaping nearly every aspect of life on our planet, with significant implications for national security. APL is bringing all of its core competencies to bear on this critical challenge area, exploring strategic opportunities to make the greatest impact on climate change.
    Learn more about Climate Security
  • The twin CubeSat Assessment and Test, or CAT, satellites shown before launch at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

    CubeSat Signal Preprocessor Assessment and Test (CAT)

    APL has successfully established communications with two miniaturized satellites, or CubeSats, as part of a Lab-led flight demonstration known as CAT.
    Learn more about CubeSat Signal Preprocessor Assessment and Test (CAT)
  • Image of Boundary Layer Transition (BOLT) flight hardware

    Boundary Layer Transition (BOLT)

    Hypersonic vehicles move fast—faster than five times the speed of sound, or Mach 5.
    Learn more about Boundary Layer Transition (BOLT)
  • APL is using the commercially developed Wave Glider to demonstrate how quickly the Navy can field new sensor systems

    Wave Glider Demonstration

    For the first time, we used the commercially developed Wave Glider to demonstrate how quickly the Navy can field new sensor systems.
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  • Artist's rendering of the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (Credit: (U.S. Air Force)

    Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent

    APL has a significant evaluation role in the Air Force program to replace the aging Minuteman III system.
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  • Closeup of person's hands at keyboard and using CAD tool (Credit: Bigstock)

    Rapid Prototyping

    We improved on training aids by rapidly and cost-effectively prototyping an interactive pressurization valve for missile tube launcher training.
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  • An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test Sept. 5, 2016, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

    Dynamic Simulation

    With the clock ticking down to the first Minuteman III test flight to feature a miniature analog translator (MAT)—developed and built by APL to replace the obsolete full signal translator (FST) used for real-time range tracking and GPS signal data on prior test flights—qualification tests identified a need to change a configuration file in the MAT ground equipment.
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  • Special Operations Forces in an Arctic environment (Credit: U.S. Navy)

    Mobile Communications

    Special Operations Forces (SOF) continue to rely on APL expertise to understand the communications technology landscape, inform requirements development, and identify options for mobile communications capabilities across a variety of operational scenarios.
    Learn more about Mobile Communications
  • Abstract representation of data analysis (Credit: Bigstock)

    Better Options for Data Analytics

    The open-architecture tool we developed for U.S. Special Operations Command’s Science and Technology Directorate limits dependence on a single vendor and enables the command to evaluate data analysis and visualization tools against defined data and interfaces.
    Learn more about Better Options for Data Analytics