WASHINGTON — The Air Force Research Laboratory has named Andrew Williams the new head of the organization’s space-related science and technology efforts, overseeing the lab’s work with the U.S. Space Force.

As the deputy technology executive officer for space science and technology, or D-TEO, Williams will be the focal point of AFRL’s space activities, ensuring they are developed and executed in an integrated manner. He replaces Kelly Hammett, who was serving as the acting D-TEO.

“Dr. Williams is exceptionally well-qualified, experienced, and a respected leader within AFRL, the USSF, and our Science and Technology stakeholders,” said Maj. Gen. Heather Pringle, AFRL commander, in a Nov. 1 statement.

Williams has served in multiple roles within AFRL’s space vehicles directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, over the last 18 years, most recently holding the position of space mission area lead.

The space vehicles directorate portfolio includes several satellites and experiments, including Navigation and Technology Experiments Satellite 3 (NTS-3), an AFRL Vanguard program that will help guide the future of the GPS program while delivering advanced capabilities to the war fighter. The laboratory also develops technologies still in their infancy, such as a rocket-delivered cargo capability and a satellite that can beam solar energy to war fighters on earth.

“In my most recent role as the Space Mission Area Lead, I oversaw AFRL’s space science and technology investment strategy, ensuring synchronization with the technology needs for Space Force, Space Operations Command, and Space Systems Command,” Williams said in a statement. “[T]hat experience will be very valuable in my new role.”

AFRL has invested heavily in building out the space-related infrastructure at Kirtland Air Force Base since the establishment of the Space Force in 2019.

In 2020, it opened the Deployable Structures Laboratory, or DeSel, a $4 million lab to develop materials for new deployable space structures. And in May 2021, AFRL opened the $12.8 million Space Warfighting Operations Research and Development, or SWORD, lab, which will be used to track objects on orbit, advance satellite cybersecurity and develop autonomous capabilities to help space vehicles avoid each other and space debris.

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

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