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Physical Science Laboratory

With over 70 years in the aerospace domain, PSL today is a multi-disciplined, aerospace and defense-oriented scientific and technical organization with over 150 staff members, many with unique subject matter expertise. PSL staff are primarily applied Hardware & Software experts with a variety of engineering, software, technologists, and scientists focused on user needs and have access to on-campus faculty. 

PSL is a world recognized leader in sub-orbital platforms, information modeling for predictive decision making,  specialized intelligence, community support, Unmanned Aircraft Systems testing and integration advanced NASA scientific exploration and experimentation, homeland security sensing and detection technologies, and advanced weapons and countermeasures development and testing. Computational thinking and problem solving are at the core of all of PSL’s research and development efforts. These provide the foundation for field support and operations. As distinguished by its numerous scientific and technical contributions, loyal customers, expert staff and student employees, PSL continues to incorporate ongoing R&D and technical expertise into providing successful real world application solutions in the 21st century.



PSL’s domain expertise is drawn from its main divisions: Telemetry and Missile Systems (TMS), Information Sciences & Security Systems (ISSS), and Aerospace. Located on 7 acres on the main campus of New Mexico State University, PSL is in close proximity to White Sands Missile Range, Fort Bliss, NASA and the El Paso/borderland. The 100,000 sq ft main facility possesses both lab and production areas to include applied engineering and Research Development Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) specialized areas. Production capabilities include:

  • Design, assemble test telemetry systems
  • Mechanical shop
  • Electronics shop
  • Antenna Production/Plating
  • Catalog of Telemetry and Antenna Systems-designed and built at PSL


PSL’s Aerospace efforts have a long history of over 75 years’ experience supporting research and flight missions of all kinds for various aerospace programs. Research and development are focused in the key areas of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Lighter-Than-Air Platforms including large scientific balloons and flight systems.

PSL is home to the one of the seven FAA approved UAS Test Sites which supports the integration of unmanned systems into the National Airspace System and specializes in unmanned systems flight testing for several classes of UAS. The UAS FTS operates under an FAA Certificate of Authorization (CoA) that permits UAS flights in over 15,000 square miles of coordinated airspace in southwestern New Mexico.  The UAS FTS operates its own UAS fleet of systems and supports customer testing of new vehicles and flight systems. Facilities include a 15,000 square foot hangar at the Las Cruces International Airport dedicated exclusively to UAS operations.

PSL supports all phases of balloon flight operations through providing proven flight support systems, mission planning and operations, and launching small to large balloons. PSL has experience at many launch sites/locations worldwide. Domestically PSL has launched balloons from many different locations in the continental US, Alaska, and Hawaii, and can launch from any desired location.  PSL has launched balloons from Antarctica, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, Greenland, and other international locations. We provide proven successful flight support systems. PSL has launched over 80 scientific balloon flights in the past 10 years.


Information Sciences & Security Systems

PSL’s Information Sciences & Security Systems (ISSS) specializes in providing capability based solutions in applied sciences, information sciences, and security systems. ISSS staff develops, produces, and integrates innovative products into reliable and cost-effective solutions our customers need to carry out their vital missions. The ISSS team supports many Department of Defense agencies and commercial companies through contracts geared specifically to defense systems and protection of the war fighter.  ISSS Expertise includes Cyber Security Solutions, Homeland Security Solutions, Information Assurance, Electronic Warfare and full-spectrum Electronic Countermeasures, Modeling and Simulation, Complex Adaptive Systems, Network-centric and Content-centric warfare disciplines, Sensor and Remote Sensing Technologies, Systems Development, Integration and Testing, and Real-time Data Acquisition and Processing.


Telemetry & Missile Systems

PSL’s Telemetry and Missile Systems (TMS) continues the traditional work that helped establish PSL. TMS supports contracts around the world that involve prelaunch preparation, launching, tracking, data acquisition and analysis. In addition, TMS also develops instrumentation and systems in support of sub-orbital flight operations. TMS has been a preferred provider of test and launch operational support services, flight instrumentation components, and antenna systems in support of many projects associated with NASA and DOD programs. TMS personnel have developed and supplied thousands of antenna systems for rocket, missile, aircraft, and spacecraft.  Designs include microstrip, patch, Quadra loop, and spike antennas. These designs have extensive flight heritage in a wide variety of hostile environments.  The WFF93 PCM encoder, designed and manufactured by TMS personnel is the heart of the instrumentation systems used to support DOD and NASA programs and are manufactured to meet their stringent specifications.