Los Alamos National Labs with logo 2021

Space Instrument Realization

Providing expertise to support the design and fabrication of space-based custom instrumentation


  • Deputy Group Leader
  • Paul Kirpes
  • Email
  • Administrative Specialist
  • Sylvia Ann Montoya-Wiuff
  • Email
Scientist sees his reflection as he works on the Cibola satellite. Scientist sees his reflection as he works on the Cibola satellite.

Scientist sees his reflection as he works on the Cibola satellite, which was designed to prove that off-the-shelf computer processors called field-programmable gate arrays can be used for supercomputing in space. The processors can be reconfigured while the satellite is in orbit, enabling researchers to modify them for different tasks, such as studying lightning, disturbances in the ionosphere, and radio-frequency sources.

Engineering and technical expertise for custom instrumentation space efforts

The Space Instrument Realization Group (ISR-5) provides engineering and technical expertise to support the development and deployment of space-based custom instrumentation for national security applications.

ISR-5 is composed of mechanical engineers, technicians, and project control specialists, all of whom contribute to the efforts of producing high-quality space-based instrumentation.

Focus Areas

Mechanical engineering—specialized equipment design

  • Mechanical design and advanced electronics packaging, assembly, design, and fabrication support to all aspects of mechanical and electronic assemblies
  • Mechanical analysis with a focus on space environment—radiation, thermal, vibration analysis and test development
  • Environmental testing (vibration, shock, vacuum, thermal, de-pressurization)
  • Design and fabrication of special tooling, fixtures, and handling equipment as required for assembly and testing of hardware
  • Interface between mechanical design, fabrication, and parts suppliers

Fabrication and assembly

  • Electronic board support electronic design automation layout
  • Electronics troubleshooting and fabrication (NASA-certified) assembly
  • Parts inventory database based on "pc/MRP" software package
  • Quality assurance

System test and integration

  • Space systems engineering support
  • Radio-frequency and analog electronic development, design, and testing for flight-based systems

Systems, production and project controls

  • Hands-on fabrication and manufacturing experience, scheduling, and coordinating activities to complete a project and systems engineering