Photo By Mike Derosa

 

February 9, 2016

NASA Glenn celebrates 75th anniversary of research center

As politicians, executives and scientists gathered on Jan. 25 in Brook Park, Tom Hartline, director of NASA Glenn facilities in testing and research, welcomed guests to the celebration of its 75th anniversary at the NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field — an aeronautics and space flight exploration research center.

“As you can imagine, it takes a lot to look after a piece of property after it reaches 75 years. It’s a challenging task at times for sure,” Hartline said. “However I can safely say that for this 75-year-old NASA Glenn research center, the outlook is very good.”

Founded in 1941 by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) — the precursor to NASA — Glenn was an aircraft engine laboratory charged with improving the state of different aircraft engines.

Initially named the “Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory,” the center received its current name in 1999 in honor of Ohio-native and former U.S Senator John H. Glenn, who was the first American to orbit Earth three times when he piloted the “Friendship 7,” space craft in 1962.

“If I were to come up with one sentence that really summarizes what this center has done and what the people have done, who have worked here over the years, I’d say it this way,” said James M. Free, the current center director. “Over the past 75 years, NASA Glenn has helped our nation maintain its leadership in aeronautic achievements and space exploration while continuing to push the boundaries of our understanding of the universe around us for the benefit of all.”

Other speakers such as Thomas Cayne, mayor of Brook Park, and Edward W. Rybka, chief of Regional Development for the city of Cleveland, came to commemorate the event.

Many of the invited speakers participated in a reenactment of the ground-breaking, using the original pick and shovel that was used when construction began at the site.

NASA Glenn has contributed to the research and development of technology throughout the country. Some of these contributions came directly from Cleveland State University. According to Dr. M. David Kankam, who is the Glenn Research Center’s (GRC) University Affairs Officer in the Business Development and Partnership Office, a number of professors have come to NASA Glenn on faculty fellowship programs to help contribute to the center’s mission.

“They have come here during the summer for the last eight years or so consistently and we expect a few this year as well,” Kankam said.

Julian Earls, Ph.D., former director of NASA Glenn and current executive in residence at Cleveland State’s Monte Ahuja College of Business, explains the other ways NASA Glenn has contributed to the Cleveland State experience.

“We have awarded research grants to the College of Engineering, we’ve had the College of Urban Studies do the economic impact statement for NASA Glenn Research Center, and we’ve provided internships and co-ops for students here at Cleveland State,” Earls said.

Earls also explained how Cleveland State has contributed to NASA Glenn in return.

“When the professors have conducted research for the joint research program, it’s a joint program between NASA Glenn and the professors here at Cleveland State University,” Earls said.

“So in the area of aeronautics, professors can do the research here and make publications to the benefit of the whole world,” Earls said. “There would be joint production of research products and research experiments that serve the entire nation.”

Woodrow Whitlow, Ph.D., who took over for Earls as director of NASA Glenn and is currently executive in residence at Cleveland State’s Washkewicz College of Engineering, provides more detail about NASA Glenn’s partnerships and internships.

“Some do aeronautics research, some do space research in the different fields depending on the field of expertise of the faculty and the students,” Whitlow explained. “Cleveland State would also do an economic impact study force, to show how we overall make an impact to the Northeastern Ohio region as well as the entire state.”

In terms of internships, Whitlow said “We pretty much focus on our needs. Our technical needs and not always like science and engineering, but we need things like procurement, the non-technical areas, students could come in and make a large impact.”

“It’s a large, complex organization,” he continued. “Science, technology, engineering and math, other things like business, procurement and other areas. So we can call on Cleveland State [in] a lot in a lot of areas to help us out.”

As NASA Glenn continues its research and development in areas such as aerospace engineering and space flight, the engineers and scientists of Cleveland State will be there to make sure that everything will be clear for takeoff.



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