For the first time in the history of the Department of Defense's annual gathering of the Space Experiments Review Board (SERB), the U.S. Army served as the host for the event.

Under the leadership of the Technology Center of the Space and Missile Defense Command / Army Force Strategic Command (SMDC/ARSTRAT), the Army served as the logistical host for the 2010 SERB, whose membership consists of 16 board members from the Air Force, Army, Navy, NASA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, and DoD staff agencies.

SMDC/ARSTRAT supported the DoD's Executive Agent for the Space Test Program (STP) and chair of the DoD SERB, Maj. Gen. John Hyten and his staff from the Directorate of Space Acquisition under the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition.

"SMDC/ARSTRAT's hosting of the SERB reflects our emphasis on increasing the effectiveness of evolving space-based technologies to support the tactical fight," said Steve Cayson, deputy director of Space and Cyberspace Technology at SMDC/ARSTRAT and SERB board member.

The SERB provides a means of evaluating and ranking space experiments from across the DoD that are requesting STP launch and/or on-orbit support services.

Through the Department of Defense's Space Test Program, administered by the Air Force Space Development & Test Wing at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, space experiments are selected for an STP-arranged launch to space based on criteria such as the military relevance, mission requirements, technology transition plans, and experiment quality.

Due to the large number of participants across the R&D space community, SERB evaluation is a highly competitive process. The Space Test Program allocates their resources to acquire space flight opportunities for R&D payloads based upon the rankings established by the SERB.

This is a significant cost savings for many of the research facilities that cannot support the budget required for acquiring their own space launch capability, and it is usually the only means for getting important experiments into the space environment.

The 2010 SERB met in Huntsville, Ala., Nov. 1-5, 2010, at the Dynetics office facility in Research Park. It was attended by 160 people during the week.

This year's SERB was very well received by all of the board members due to several improvements initiated by SMDC/ARSTRAT and developed in coordination with Hyten's staff. The most significant improvement for the 2010 Board was to implement a paperless process which not only streamlined the multitude of administrative tasks from registration to experiment scoring, but also saved more than 24,000 pieces of paper that would have been printed using the previous evaluation system.

The paperless process, called the Collaborative Environment for Paperless SERB (CEPS), featured components such as electronic registration, presentation compilation and viewing, and automated scoring and data review. Hyten previewed the CEPS tool in August and was excited about the prospect of applying it for the SERB.

"Beyond saving all the paper, it will also save a lot of long nights by my staff that had to manually tally all the scores," Hyten said.

Hyten attended the week-long SERB, which demonstrated senior leader commitment to ensure the SERB and the space experiments maintain a degree of relevancy for the DoD and eventually transition some technology or process to improve DoD capabilities for the warfighter.

This year's board evaluated 77 experiments, under the following categories: Space Weather; Space Control/Space Situational Awareness; Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance Experiments; Spacecraft Subsystems/Technology Demo Experiments; and Other.

The Army sponsored six experiments from organizations such as SMDC/ARSTRAT, Walter Reed Research Institute and the United States Military Academy. Experiments included topics such as small-satellite imaging, power, control, and computing systems, wound healing, and soil moisture monitoring.

Hyten complemented SMDC/ARSTRAT for its excellent support for this year's SERB, stating that "the implementation of the new paperless process and the dedication of the entire SMDC team made this year's SERB a complete success."

"I'm very proud of the team we assembled," Cayson said. "It is first-class events like this SERB that continue to demonstrate the Army's engagement with the space community to bring relevant capabilities to our Soldiers."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16