WASHINGTON — The Air Force Research Laboratory announced Nov. 15 it has awarded its largest-ever contract for space technology development to Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory.

 Space Dynamics, based in North Logan, Utah, received a $1 billion five-year indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for “space and nuclear advanced prototypes, experiments and technology,” according to a news release.

The sole-source award, announced by the Defense Department on Nov. 10, was not competed. Space Dynamics is one of 14 nonprofit DoD-affiliated University Affiliated Research Centers. UARCs are considered “trusted agents of the government.”

“This contract solidifies the long-term strategic partnership between AFRL and USU SDL,” said Col. Eric Felt, director of the AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate. “The partnership will accelerate critical space science and technology projects, especially when we need to quickly respond to urgent and unexpected needs.”

Felt said this contract allows AFRL to “conduct scientific investigations and technology, research and development in the UARC’s core competency areas without the bureaucracy and delay of awarding multiple smaller individual contracts.”

Areas covered under the contract include space sensors, space cybersecurity, nuclear science and technology for deterrence, advanced satellite navigation and Global Positioning Systems technology, precision quantum and photonic sensors, space environmental research, small satellites and radio-frequency sensing.

Jed Hancock, president of Space Dynamics, said the lab is “honored to be a trusted partner of Air Force Research Laboratory and the U.S. Space Force to develop technologies for new missions and maintain core capabilities for national defense.”

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...