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McCarthy, Garcia, and Obernolte Secure $10.2 Million for the AFRL Rocket Lab at Edwards Air Force Base

Today, Congressman McCarthy announced that the Air Force Research Laboratory Aerospace Systems Directorate Rocket Propulsion Division’s (AFRL Rocket Lab) Test Stand 1-C at Edwards Air Force Base will be reactivated. The U.S. Department of Defense Test Resource Management Center (TRMC) will allocate $10.2 million for the refurbishment of Test Stand 1-C, an important testing facility, to support the development of solid rocket motors and launch vehicle systems. This comes after McCarthy, Congressman Mike Garcia (CA-25), and Congressman Jay Obernolte (CA-08) sent a letter to the TRMC urging the funding of this project.

The Members of Congress released the following statements:

“Some of our nation’s most advanced research and development efforts come out of our community, including the AFRL Rocket Lab. Reactivation of Test Stand 1-C signals a rebirth of the AFRL Rocket Lab, which is making incredible advancements to support our country’s space and defense enterprise. By modernizing and reopening Test Stand 1-C, solid rocket motor testing will be improved and will provide vital information, like early design-risk detection, which will strengthen mission effectiveness and reduce the risk of rocket or missile failure during flight. I want to recognize Test Resource Management Center Acting Director George Rumford and the AFRL Rocket Lab Chief Dr. Shawn Phillips for their efforts to ensure the AFRL Rocket Lab is well-positioned for the future.” – House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy 

“In March, Leader McCarthy, Congressman Obernolte, and I wrote to the Department of Defense expressing the critical need to reactivate and upgrade the Large Vertical Solid Rocket Test Stand at Edwards Air Force Base. This program would enhance our nation’s rocket test capabilities and extend and deepen the critical role the Antelope Valley plays in our national security. I’m pleased to hear that the Department of Defense has heeded our strong encouragement and has decided to reactivate the program. Reactivating the Test Stand 1-C will help America continue innovative research and advance our military capabilities. The continuation of this work will greatly improve our weapon and launch systems and make us more secure against our adversaries. Reactivating this program will also support commercial space vendors and provide job growth and economic opportunity to California’s 25th District.” – Congressman Mike Garcia

 “The design and engineering work occurring at Edwards Air Force Base is critical to accelerating our National Defense Strategy and maintaining the capability of our military. It is also vital to supporting both governmental and commercial space efforts. I am pleased to see the Pentagon agree with our assessment and reactivate Test Stand 1-C at Southern California’s Air Force Research Laboratory to help position our nation’s research and development efforts for continued success.” – Congressman Jay Obernolte

Background:

  • On March 8, 2022, Representatives McCarthy, Garcia, and Obernolte sent a letter to the Department of Defense urging the refurbishing of the AFRL Rocket Lab. You can read that letter here
     
  • On May 4, 2022, the Department of Defense’s Acting Director of the Test Resource Management Center, George Rumford, responded that efforts to refurbish Test Stand 1-C will begin this fiscal year.  You can find the letter here.
     
  • Since 1952, the AFRL Rocket Lab has been a foundation for advancing our nation’s most important rocket propulsion technology. The AFRL Rocket Lab continues this tradition by contributing critical technological advancements and fostering a thriving commercial space industry that are making great strides on national priorities.

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