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Defense

When experiments go quiet: maintaining the National Ignition Facility

For two weeks last April, the lasers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s National Ignition Facility stopped firing. Experiments may have been on pause, but the facility was anything but quiet. “To do world-class science, you need a world-class facility. And you can’t just maintain that facility, you must anticipate problems and seek out improvements,” said Stanley…

FAA awards first approval for drone swarm testing

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) Autonomous Sensors team has received the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) first and — to date — only certificate of authorization (COA) allowing autonomous drone swarming exercises on the Lab main campus. These flights will test swarm controls and sensor payloads used in a variety of national security applications…

LLNL leads successful execution of subcritical experiment in Nevada

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) recently led the successful execution of the first U.S. subcritical experiment (SCE) since 2021 at the Principal Underground Laboratory for Subcritical Experimentation (PULSE) facility, formerly known as the U1a Complex, at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). The last LLNL-led SCE was in February 2019. The experiment —…

Manufacturing optimized designs for high explosives

When materials are subjected to extreme environments, they face the risk of mixing together. This mixing may result in hydrodynamic instabilities, yielding undesirable side effects. Such instabilities present a grand challenge across multiple disciplines, especially in astrophysics, combustion and shaped charges — a device used to focus the energy of a detonating explosive…

LLNL’s El Capitan debuted on new Top500 list of world’s most powerful supercomputers

Three new systems currently or soon-to-be sited at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) on Monday debuted on the latest Top500 list of most powerful supercomputers in the world, including the first portion of the exascale machine El Capitan. Unveiled at the International Supercomputing Conference in Hamburg, Germany, the June 2024 Top500 lists three systems with…

Lab to provide optical payload for upcoming U.S. Space Force mission

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) Space Program is now building an optical space domain awareness payload for an upcoming mission by the U.S. Space Force. The planned mission, known as VICTUS HAZE, will be a tactically responsive space mission to demonstrate the ability to rapidly characterize an on-orbit threat. The U.S. Space Force selected Long Beach,…

Hot stuff: A new thermal pathway for a high explosive

TATB (1,3,5-triamino-2,4,6-trinitrobenzene) is an important explosive compound because of its extensive use in munitions and world-wide weapons systems. Despite its importance, researchers have been trying to understand its response to temperature extremes for the past 50 years. A Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) team has uncovered a new thermal decomposition…

Strategic Deterrence Academic Collaboration Team awards six scientists to support collaborative research

Six scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) were recently granted awards through the Lab’s 2023 Academic Collaboration Team (ACT) annual call for proposals. Awards support university research partners for up to three years to perform research in collaboration with Lab scientists and offer an important way to build long-term connections with…

Unlocking gas phase uranium oxidation is key to nuclear debris modeling

In the quest to understand how nuclear debris forms, a team of scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has developed an approach to studying the oxidation mechanism of gas phase uranium in extreme environments. In research recently published in Scientific Reports, the team outlined their work, which combined experimental data from a plasma flow reactor …

Richard W. Mies awarded Livermore’s 2023 John S. Foster Medal

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Director Kim Budil today announced that the 2023 John S. Foster, Jr. Medal is awarded to retired U.S. Navy Admiral Richard W. Mies. The eighth recipient of the prestigious Foster Award, Mies has served as a member of the LLNL Board of Governors since 2004 and is recognized for his exceptional and inspirational career dedicated to…

W87-1 Modification Program enters Phase 6.3, Development Engineering

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) recently approved the W87-1 Modification Program to enter Phase 6.3, Development Engineering, through the Nuclear Weapons Council. During this phase of the nuclear weapons lifecycle process, NNSA will continue to work closely with DoD to conduct experiments, tests…

Defense Programs Awards of Excellence recognize innovation and achievements in 2021

In virtual ceremonies held May 4 and June 26, Marvin Adams, deputy administrator for Defense Programs at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), honored individuals and teams at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and partner sites for their outstanding contributions to nuclear security. The Defense Programs Awards of Excellence recognition events…

Sandia and LLNL team successfully execute second W80-4 abnormal thermal environment test

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia) recently successfully executed the second joint abnormal thermal environment (ATE-2) test for the W80-4 Life Extension Program (LEP). Carried out at Sandia’s Cross Wind Test Facility in New Mexico, ATE-2 was a fast-heat, fully engulfing system-level fuel fire test, the first for LLNL in…

W80-4 Life Extension Program enters Phase 6.4, production engineering

In March, the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration's Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs approved the W80-4 Life Extension Program (LEP) to transition into Phase 6.4, Production Engineering. The W80-4 LEP achieved Phase 6.4 entry following successful execution of the Preliminary Design Review and Acceptance Group Review and the System…

#YourPlaceInSpace: LLNL planetary defender promotes career opportunities in the federal space workforce

Planetary defense physicist Megan Bruck Syal on Wednesday represented Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) at “Space STEM Task Force Pathways to the Federal Space Workforce,” an outreach event hosted by the National Science Foundation. Multiple federal government agencies came together in a virtual interactive session to provide information for students, early…

Study looks at velocity impact to asteroid Dimorphos

The first peer-reviewed results from NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission were published Wednesday by Nature, including contributions from LLNL’s planetary defense team. The DART spacecraft executed a successful hypervelocity impact of 150-meter asteroid Dimorphos on Sept. 26, 2022. Analysis by Earth-based telescopes determined that the impact…

Lab’s Tom Ramos reflects on ‘From Berkeley to Berlin’

Physicist Tom Ramos has had several roles for the past 40 years at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He served as a member of the nuclear team that developed the X-ray laser for President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, he supported United States arms control negotiations for START, and over a span of seventeen years he created and ran a program for the…

The people of stockpile stewardship are the key to LLNL’s success

The last nuclear test, code-named Divider, took place 30 years ago, on Sept. 23, 1992. That year, President Bush declared a temporary moratorium on nuclear testing, which became permanent during the Clinton administration. This ending of the era of nuclear testing was also the beginning of stockpile stewardship. Leaders from the Department of Energy (DOE), and Lawrence…

Developing technology to keep the nuclear stockpile safe, secure and reliable

The last nuclear test, code-named Divider, took place 30 years ago, on Sept. 23, 1992. That year, President Bush declared a temporary moratorium on nuclear testing, which became permanent in 1995, during the Clinton administration. This ending of the era of nuclear testing coincided with a Presidential announcement of the beginning of stockpile stewardship. As the decision…

30 years later, Hunters Trophy participants recall LLNL’s final underground nuclear test

The year was 1992. At 10 a.m. on a balmy September morning in the desolate Nevada desert, a countdown began. And for a few brief moments, the ground violently shook. In a NASA-esque control room at the Nevada Test Site (NTS), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) engineer Jack Cutting watched as monitors and oscilloscopes began sending back data collected on the…