The Atmospheric Physics Research Lab helps support atmospheric research by providing a workspace for the design, construction, and testing of instruments for space flight.
Special projects built in this lab and flown in space include a hypersonic velocity shockwave measurement payload called DEBI and two upper-atmosphere cryogenic whole-air sampling payloads called SAMPLER. Also, four sounding rocket payloads have been developed in the lab, including three student payloads that have been flown on NASA sounding rockets.
All the scientific instruments involved in these projects are designed, built, and tested in the lab. Special equipment includes an ultra-high vacuum system for electron beam collision experiments and space-flight instrument testing and calibration, as well as granite optical tables and a cryogenic freezer.
The APRL works with organizations such as NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, the Space Dynamics Laboratory (which is part of the Utah State University Research Foundation), and the Physical Sciences Lab at New Mexico State University, to name a few.