AFRL opens the State Of Art Digital Space Legacy Portal exhibition


Col. Eric Felt, Director of AFRL Vehicles Directorate and AFRL Phillips Research Site Historian Dr Darren Raspa cut the ribbon to open the legacy portal’s mission control exhibit from the leadership, during a ceremony Nov. 15 at Kirtland AFB. By supporting them from the left, Project Mgr. Gina Gutierrez, Senior Facilities Engineer Bradley Rieck, Head Dan Von Tom of the Company Information Office and Victor Mace Project Coordinator. Photo by Arturo Cardona

AFRL News:

KIRTLAND AFB – With video of the historic Apollo 11 launch in 1969 shown on the screen nearly two stories behind him, Dr Darren Raspa, the Air Force Research Lab’s Phillips research site historian , hosted guests and colleagues at the inauguration of the AFRL The Space Vehicle Directorate’s Legacy Portal Mission Control Exhibit, during a ceremony on November 15 at Kirtland AFB.

“This project started over three years ago with the idea of ​​using the dark and underused atrium area in the executive headquarters lobby as a viewing and scintillation space where our scientists and engineers could get together to discuss and show their work, ”says Raspa. “Seeing this monumental launch of American astronauts to the moon is just a taste of the potential of this exhibit.”

In the summer of 2018, Raspa and Senior Site Facilities Engineer Bradley Rieck met with Col. Eric Felt, Director of AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate, to outline their vision for a digital interactive exhibit that would bring the AFRL Phillips space history research site to life.

Ahead of this meeting, Raspa visited the museum directors of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, the Central Intelligence Agency museum in Langley, Virginia, and the Sandia Laboratories National Security Technology Gallery Museum. located at Kirtland AFB, to learn about the latest in design and technology for historic exhibits.

“While at the Smithsonian I noticed a phenomenal interactive exhibit at the Air & Space Museum on the Space Shuttle and saw that the designers were a group called Ideum from Corrales, a stone’s throw from Kirtland in the Valley. north, ”Raspa said. “Following a discussion with Colonel Felt, I was convinced that Ideum could create an exciting space exhibition portal for AFRL. “

The contract to build the exhibit was managed by AFRL’s technology transfer collaboration office, as part of the laboratory’s interim partnership agreement with New Mexico Tech.

Dr Hugh McDonald, executive producer at Ideum, addressing those gathered, congratulated AFRL on its history in space and the benefits the project will bring to the lab.

“Ideum designed this exhibit to be what you want it to be by telling the story of space research and development at the Space Vehicle Directorate,” he said. “It has been a great pleasure to work with Dr Raspa and the AFRL team to create a forum to show the revolutionary work AFRL has done and will continue to do for our nation.”

The multi-touch screen will allow visitors to monitor and explore the laboratory’s collection of information and visuals from space vehicles in a “real-time observer” fashion.

“The Legacy Portal exhibit is modeled after a ‘futuristic user interface’ style – an idealized interface design style known for displaying extremely dense arrays of data points in artfully designed, often fascinating kaleidoscopic animated graphics,” Raspa said. “The heart of the experience is the interactivity between the large projection screen and the 65-inch Ideum multi-touch table, which form the centerpieces of the atrium space.”

Raspa further explained that the portal will not only be a ‘historic channel’ for the management’s space programs that allows for updates and modifications, but will also be a source of inspiration for the staff of the ‘AFRL.

Felt described the opportunities the exhibition will provide for understanding the past in order to help AFRL solve space challenges in the future.

“I am delighted to be here today for the opening of our Legacy portal,” said Felt. “Everything revolves around the past, present and future and a chance to shed light on our history. “

“This exciting exhibition will allow us to see how we got to where we are and what we can and must do in the future,” he continued. “It’s a place for the present where we can bring visitors and where we can learn and appreciate our important contributions to the US Air Force and US Space Force. It’s a place for the future and how we can continue our spatial legacy and be an inspiration to those who will come after us.

About AFRL

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is the main scientific research and development center of the Air Force Department. AFRL plays an essential role in the discovery, development and integration of affordable combat technologies for our air, space and cyberspace. With a workforce of over 11,500 people in nine technological fields and 40 other operations around the world, AFRL offers a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from basic research to advanced research and technological development. For more information visit:

Col. Eric Felt, Director of the AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate, addresses his colleagues and guests at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Directorate’s Legacy Portal Mission Control exhibit on November 15 at Kirtland AFB . Photo by Arturo Cardona

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