WASHINGTON — The U.S. Space Force opened a new satellite operations center July 7 at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico designed to advance the still nascent service’s space war-fighting capabilities.

The Rendezvous and Proximity (REPR) Satellite Operations Center was established by the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Innovation and Prototyping Directorate as a new workspace to drive on-orbit experimentation and demonstrations with prototype satellites and payloads.

“The REPR Satellite Operations Center allows us to carry out on-orbit experiments and prototyping efforts, develop innovative concepts of operation, and demonstrate game-changing technology for the United States Space Force and our mission partners,” said head of the directorate, Col. Timothy Sejba, during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The $17 million facility will be part of the Research, Development, Test & Evaluation Support Complex located at Kirtland. The 5,930-square-foot space includes an operations floor, mission planning and collaboration areas, and conference rooms.

“The REPR Satellite Operations Center was constructed by applying innovative architecture and pulling in the latest technology available, allowing operators the ability to command multiple missions concurrently, dramatically increasing the Space Force’s mission capabilities,” said Dan Crouch, senior materiel leader of the Innovation and Prototyping Directorate’s Prototype Operations Division.

The center is just the latest space-related facility established at Kirtland Air Force Base, which serves as a home to SMC’s Innovation and Prototyping Directorate, the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate, and the Space Rapid Capabilities Office. In November, AFRL opened the Deployable Structures Laboratory, a $4 million building dedicated to developing deployable space structures. A few months later, AFRL began construction on the $3.5 million Skywave Technology Laboratory, which will house its space environment research. Most recently, AFRL announced the opening of a $12.8 million Space Warfighting Operations Research and Development, or SWORD, lab to track objects on orbit, advance satellite cybersecurity, and develop autonomous capabilities.

Nathan Strout covers space, unmanned and intelligence systems for C4ISRNET.

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