APL Labs & Facilities

Capabilities, Facilities and Methodology

APL is recognized as a leader in mission design and navigation; instrument development; mechanical engineering; mechanical design, thermal, and instrument accommodation; communications hardware; electrical subsystems and power; precision timekeeping devices, mission operations, and scientific research. Our facilities are essential to support our spaceflight build process and scientific discoveries.

APL operates with an AS9100C certified quality management system. That certification is specific to the Laboratory's spaceflight program management, systems engineering, design, development, production, integration, test and operation processes. APL maintains an impressive record of delivering high-quality space systems on time and on budget.

See Our Labs and Facilities

ACE Laboratory

Teams use the APL Concurrent Engineering Laboratory (ACE Lab) to formulate mission concepts. 

APL Time and Frequency Lab

Atomic clocks in the Time and Frequency Lab support NASA and APL space missions.

Environmental Test Facility

The ETF hosts a range of equipment to prepare flight hardware for the extreme conditions of launch and outer space.  


The Laboratory for Spectroscopy under Planetary Environmental Conditions (LabSPEC) hosts ultraviolet, visible and near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy experiments. 

Meteorite Lab

This planetary science research facility is equipped for investigating meteorites and geochemical processes in our solar system.

Multimission Operations Center

Our Mission Operations Centers (MOCs) serve as "command central" for APL spacecraft across the solar system. 

Optical Calibration Facility

This facility is the proving ground for optical instrumentation for spaceflight. 

Planetary Impact Lab

Researchers use this laboratory to investigate the nature of impacts on bodies across the Solar System.

Planetary Nuclear Spectroscopy Laboratory

Researchers use this facility to design, develop and test gamma-ray and neutron sensors.

Planetary Protection Laboratory

In this Lab, APL's planetary protection team ensures that a mission's flight hardware is clear of microbes or other biological "hitchhikers."

Radio Science Laboratory

The Radio Science Lab is used to build, test, calibrate and deploy surface-based and suborbital radio frequency measuring capabilities.

Satellite Communications Facility

The "SCF" provides commanding, ranging, telemetry and Doppler tracking services for sponsor missions and commercial space activities. 

Simulated Airless Body Emission Laboratory

Researchers use this facility to perform thermal infrared investigations of geologic materials in realistic planetary environments. 

Space Exploration Sector Antenna Test Ranges

Scientists and engineers use these measurement facilities to develop antennas for a variety of space applications and missions.