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NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field (see History for previous names) is a NASAmarker center, located within the cities of Brook Parkmarker, Clevelandmarker and Fairview Parkmarker, Ohiomarker between Cleveland Hopkins International Airportmarker and the Cleveland Metroparks's Rocky River Reservation, and has other subsidiary facilities in Ohiomarker. Its current director is Woodrow Whitlow Jr. and its deputy director is Ramon Lugo.Glenn Research Center is one of ten major NASA field centers, whose primary mission is to develop science and technology for use in aeronautics and space.


The installation was established in 1942 as part of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and was later incorporated into the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASAmarker) as a laboratory for aircraft engine research.

It was initially named the Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory after funding approval was given in June 1940. It was renamed the Flight Propulsion Research Laboratory in 1947, the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory in 1948 and the NASA Lewis Research Center in 1958.

On March 1, 1999, the Lewis Research Center was officially renamed the NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field after John Glenn (Americanmarker fighter pilot, astronaut and politician) and George W. Lewis (head of NACA from 1919 to 1947). Within NASA, Glenn is often referred to by the acronym GRC.

As early as 1951, researchers at the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory were studying the combustion processes in liquid rocket engines.


Plum Brook Station (PBS)
GRC Plum Brook Station Spacecraft Propulsion Facility (B-2)
The Plum Brook field station near Sandusky, Ohiomarker is also part of Glenn. It specializes in very large-scale tests which would be hazardous within the confines of the main campus. The Spacecraft Propulsion Facility at Plum Brook Station (PBS) is the world's only facility capable of testing full-scale upper-stage launch vehicles and rocket engines under simulated high-altitude conditions. The PBS Space Power Facility houses the world's largest space environment simulation chamber. PBS also has cryogenic test facilities and a hypersonic wind tunnel. In 2008 NASA agreed to pay $33.5 million to have its Plum Brook Reactor Facility decontaminated and decommissioned.

Icing Tunnel
An icing tunnel is capable of simulating atmospheric icing condition to test the effect of ice accretion on aircraft wings and body as well as to test anti-icing systems for aircraft.

Zero Gravity Research Facilitymarker
The Zero Gravity Research Facility is a vertical vacuum chamber used for microgravity experiments. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985.

Spacecraft Propulsion Research Facilitymarker (B-2)

Rocket Engine Test Facility
This is a facility that was designated a National Historic Landmark, but de-designated later.

Significant developments

in Aeronautics Science and Technology
in Space Science and Technology
The Glenn Research Center, along with its partners in industry, are credited with the following:

Significant contributions

to Education
Glenn Research Center is home to the LERCIP (Lewis' Educational and Research Collaborative Internship Program) program. It provides internships for high school students, college students, and high school teachers. The high school program is an 8 week internship for sophomores and juniors with interests in science, technology, engineering, math, or professional administration. The college level consists of a 10 week internship and is open to college students at all levels, from graduating high school seniors to PhD candidates. Only residents of the Cleveland area are eligible for high school LECIP, but college LECIP is open to students nationwide. Interns work closely with their NASA mentors and are involved in the day-to-day activities of the Center. They are expected to be available to work 40 hours a week for the duration of the internship. Pay is given biweekly, and is determined by academic level for college students. The LERCIP Teacher program is a 10 week internship for educators in STEM fields.

Future of Glenn

Since 2004, NASA has begun shifting its focus towards space exploration as mandated by the Vision for Space Exploration. It has been perceived by some that in doing so, the regional NASA centers focused on research and technology, such as Glenn, are becoming more and more marginalized in terms of resources and relevance [45319]. The future of these research centers is of course uncertain, and will have a lot to do with the evolution of NASA itself over the coming decades.

On May 13, 2006, it was announced that NASA Glenn Research Center had secured management of the Crew Exploration Vehicle's service module, which promises to generate billions of dollars and hundreds of jobs for the center, which will control management and budgeting for the project. This work will secure the center's future in the near term, and signals a shift in priority for the center from aeronautical research to space exploration, aligning itself closer with NASA's new mission.

NASA Glenn Visitor Center

The NASA Glenn Visitor Center features six galleries with interactive exhibits about NASA, space exploration, John Glenn and other astronauts, satellites and the solar system. The center also features an auditorium for lectures, movies and special programs, and a gift shop. Admission is free. Adult visitors must be U.S. citizens and present photo identification.

The NASA Glenn Research Center also offers public tours of its research facilities on the first Saturday of each month. Reservations must be made in advance.

In July 2009 it was announced that the Visitor Center would be closing in September and negotiations were ongoing to shift some of the displays to the Great Lakes Science Center. This move was being done to reduce the public relations budget. It is hoped that putting the displays at the much more visited science center will bring the NASA Glenn facility more public exposure. The new display area at the science center is being refereed to as the Glenn Visitor Center, and the negotiating points appear to be over the admissions cost, since the visitor center is currently free and the science center charges admission.


  1. NASA Glenn Research Center, Official Web Site [1]
  3. Innovative Engines, NASA [3]

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