National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Plum Brook Station – NASA GRC

Tuesday July 22, 2008 – Plum Brook Station – Sandusky, OH

The Glenn summer interns were treated to a tour of GRC’s sister center today – Plum Brook Station. About an hour ride to the west of the Lewis Field Center, Plum Brook Station sits on a very large plot of land, approximately 6400 acres! The research station is spread out over such a large area to accommodate the extremely large and potentially hazardous testing facilities on the premises.

The first tour stop on the day was the Space Power Test Facility, which was easily recognizable from the road due to its enormous dome shaped roof. The SPTF just happens to house the world’s largest vacuum chamber! While touring inside the monstrous chamber the interns were informed that the up and coming Orion spacecraft would be tested in this facility in the not too distant future.

The second and final tour stop on the day was Plum Brook’s B-2 Test Facility. The B-2 facility is unlike anything else in the world due to its ability to hot-fire test rocket engines in a simulated space environment (fire rocket engines inside a giant vacuum chamber). While standing on the rim of the over 200 ft. deep ‘tank’ the interns were informed about the rich testing history of the facility, and the busy future it hopes to have testing rocket engines for the Constellation Program.