In its 75-year history, the NASA Glenn Research Center has been an essential component of NASA as well as a major contributor to Northeast Ohio. Founded in 1941 as the Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory, NASA Glenn has undergone a series of name changes over the years yet one thing has always remained constant: the Center’s ongoing pursuit to innovate new technologies. In its long history, NASA Glenn has made significant contributions to spaceflight, creating cutting-edge aeronautical technologies that have revolutionized air travel. Perhaps just as important, however, are the contributions NASA Glenn has made to Northeast Ohio.
Situated on 350 acres, NASA Glenn’s main campus, Lewis Field, contains more than 150 buildings and an astounding array of world-class facilities such as wind tunnels, drop towers vacuum chambers and an aircraft hangar. Glenn also oversees Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, which encompasses 6,400 acres. Both locations serve as prime testing grounds for government agencies as well as academic and industry partners.
In all, NASA Glenn employs more than 3,200 workers, including civil servants and contractors making Glenn a significant Northeast Ohio employer. Additionally, “according to a report by the Center for Economic Opportunities at Cleveland State University, Glenn’s $612.5 million budget in fiscal 2014 spurred $1.382 billion in business earnings statewide, including $1.253 billion in Northeast Ohio” (Cleveland.com). As an important economic engine for our region, NASA Glenn’s contributions to Northeast Ohio have been felt in many ways over the last 75 years.
To celebrate its 75th anniversary, NASA Glenn has scheduled a series of public open houses where community members are encouraged to visit NASA Glenn and see firsthand the tremendous work being done. Open houses will take place May 21 at Lewis Field and June 11 and 12 at Plum Brook Station. NASA Glenn will also host a Technology Day at Lewis Field on May 24. For additional information about these events, please visit http://www.nasa.gov/glenn75.
Historically, NASA Glenn has played a major role in the development of aerospace technology and that tradition continues. For example, NASA Glenn recently released information related to the work it’s doing to develop a hybrid-electric airplane. As part of a larger NASA initiative, Glenn will play a leading role in creating a single-aisle hybrid plane with the ability to travel 4,000 miles, carrying 150 passengers. NASA hopes to make this dream a reality by 2025. While the concept for the hybrid plane is still in the early planning stages, 22 Glenn employees are already involved in bringing this idea to life.
Just as Glenn has played an integral role in innovating new aeronautical technologies in its long history, it has also been an important player in NASA’s quest to explore the great unknown. In fact, just recently it was announced that funds have been earmarked for NASA Glenn to play a significant role in NASA’s eventual mission to Mars. With a goal of reaching Mars by the 2030s, Glenn has been tapped to develop critical technologies to make the 48.6-million-mile journey. While there are many obstacles to overcome to make this quest a reality, NASA Glenn’s expertise will prove highly valuable in the decades to come.
As NASA Glenn looks ahead to the next 75 years, we’re likely to see continued innovation and aeronautical ingenuity leaving Glenn’s doors. What is more, Northeast Ohio looks forward to celebrating another 75 years of success as NASA Glenn serves as a valuable economic contributor and community partner to all of Northeast Ohio.