Building the Structures to Explore Space

APL’s Mechanical Systems Engineering team delivers large and complex flight systems in support of civilian and military space sponsors. The team has worked on challenges such as sending a spacecraft closer to the Sun than any other spacecraft has gone before and ensured that a durable satellite is able to survive the cold reaches of the Kuiper Belt. Our mechanical engineers have deep expertise in designing, analyzing and testing mechanical components and systems from the electronic board level to full spacecraft systems. This extensive experience allows design approaches to be assessed quickly and optimized efficiently for a faster path to the launchpad. When needed, our team partners with outside vendors and organizations to supply specialty systems, such as propulsion or other parts. Before delivery, our team uses its expertise and facilities to properly validate hardware for the harsh environment of space.


APL has designed, built and operated more than 70 innovative spacecraft over its six decades of spaceflight experience. Click below to learn about some of the missions that made revolutionary discoveries, and spacecraft that will push the boundaries of exploration and investigate outstanding scientific mysteries.


Scientists and engineers at APL have designed, built and operated more than 300 novel space instruments and methods to conduct cutting-edge research and make groundbreaking discoveries. Click below to learn about some of these instruments and their role in shaping our understanding of space and the solar system.


Go inside APL’s space missions and research, and check out the latest news, features and discoveries from the teams that are probing mysteries from the Sun to the edge of the solar system and beyond.