Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center design game-changing spaceflight technologies that advance exploration of our solar system. They have also established themselves as global leaders in aeronautics by building safer, quieter, more fuel-efficient, and environmentally responsible aircraft.

The Space Power Facility (SPF) vacuum chamber stands more than 122 feet high, 100 feet in diameter, and provides a vacuum environment for the study of space propulsion. Originally commissioned for nuclearelectric propulsion studies, the SPF has been re-commissioned for use in research and development of space propulsion systems.
Located near Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, the worldclass facilities at Glenn include wind tunnels, drop towers, vacuum chambers, and an aircraft hangar. Glenn’s Plum Brook Station is home to the world’s largest space environment simulation chamber. These state-of-the-art facilities enable NASA and its government, academic, and industry partners from across the country to perform cutting-edge research and testing.

Founded in 1941, Glenn has long provided key leadership and innovation for NASA missions. Glenn has also developed significant partnerships with U.S. industry, particularly in the areas of materials and structures, biomedical, sensors and electronics, advanced/alternative energy, and advanced propulsion. These partnerships enable businesses to reduce time, cost, and risk of R&D projects, and strengthen their economic competitiveness.

Glenn recently sponsored a very successful Automotive Workshop (http://technology.grc.nasa.gov/auto-show-2011.shtm) that drew nearly 100 automotive manufacturing industry executives and Tier One suppliers. Participants discovered the valuable technologies and capabilities at Glenn that can enhance their R&D efforts.

Bimodal Nuclear Thermal Rockets can provide great performance advantages compared to chemical propulsion systems. Nuclear power sources could be used to provide the spacecraft with electrical power for operations and scientific instrumentation.
Glenn also collaborates directly with local and national companies to further develop and commercialize cutting-edge technologies. The highly successful partnership with Entech® Solar offers an example of how technology transfer benefits NASA, small businesses, and the U.S. economy (see story at: http://technology.grc.nasa.gov/SSsolar-concentrator.shtm ).

Core Competencies

Glenn has established world-class technical core competencies in the following areas:

• Air-Breathing Propulsion — Includes en gine cycles, advanced propulsion systems, component improvements, controls and dynamics, harsh environment sensors, electronics, instrumentation, health monitoring and management, materials and structures, power extraction and management, icing, fuels and propellants, acoustics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, aerothermodynamics, and plasmas.
• Communications Technology and Development — Includes advanced antennas, integrated radio-frequency and optical terminals, software-defined radios, high-power amplifiers, and networking for high-data-rate communications.
• In-Space Propulsion and Cryogenic Fluids Management — Includes propellants, chemical propulsion, electric propulsion (ion, Hall, plasma), nuclear propulsion, cryogenic fluids (oxygen, methane, hydrogen) handling, characterization, storage, delivery, demonstration, and flight packages.
• Power, Energy Storage, and Conversion — Includes solar power generation, batteries, fuel cells, regenerative fuel cells, flywheels, thermal energy conversion and heat rejection, radioisotopes, fission, power electronics, and power management and distribution.
• Materials and Structures for Extreme Environments — Includes advanced mat erials, structures, and mechanisms for aerospace systems subjected to extreme environments such as aircraft engines, space propulsion systems, planetary reentry, planetary surface operations, and long-duration space travel.
• Physical Sciences and Biomedical Tech nologies in Space — Includes life-support, fire safety, crew health monitoring and support, space resource utilization, and thermal management.


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