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Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

The Air Force Research Laboratory at Edwards AFB is the Air Force’s location for conducting rocket science and developing next generation rocket propulsion technology. Here, premier researchers investigate and develop new rocket technologies to address the nation’s critical rocket propulsion needs. The most advanced concepts in rocket research have been developed here for the Department of Defense needs, tracing its roots back to the development of the Atlas engine for satellite launch and to the F-1 engine for the Saturn-5 launch vehicle. You may wish to download a short unclassified presentation on AFRL (2 MB) to get a feel for the facility and the work that they do.


What type of work is done at AFRL?

The Rocket Propulsion Division of AFRL at Edwards AFB is focused on a multitude of rocket propulsion ideas, from conducting basic chemical synthesis for new propellants, to developing new combustion devices to developing large scale integrated engine testing. We employ the best chemists, physicists, engineers, project managers and technicians to promote the application of advanced propulsion science and technology for military and commercial systems, including participation in joint propulsion science and technology programs with other AFMC, Air Force, and DoD organizations; NASA; other government agencies; other countries; industry; and academia.

Research Opportunities at AFRL for Summer

AFRL will be offering several Fellowships, with each fellowship providing a unique opportunity to work with researchers who study liquid, solid, and plasma propulsion, materials science, and computational research. The lab is located in an austere desert setting, requiring a 40 to 50 minute drive from the residential housing of Lancaster or Palmdale. STAR Fellows may be able to stay with lab-associated host families or locate affordable housing in these two towns, but the remote location means this lab site is most appropriate for Fellows with their own reliable transportation. In addition, this is a secure facility and only US citizens may work at this specific AFRL site. If you are interested in a STAR Fellowship at AFRL, keep an eye on this page. We will update it with additional project information as it becomes available.

Previous summer projects included


Visit the Cal Poly Digital Commons to browse previous STAR Fellow projects at this site.


Additional information about Edwards Air Force Base (see links below):