NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) completed a successful spacecraft test in the world’s largest vacuum chamber at the Plum Brook facility in Sandusky this week. U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown congratulated NASA and the team behind SpaceX.
“This is great news for the NASA Glenn Research Center and proof of Ohio’s innovative strength,” said Sen. Brown. “SpaceX’s testing at Plum Brook is an example of the facility’s importance to the NASA family and as a job creator in Northern Ohio.”
The testing will last through the month and is in advance of President Obama’s 2014 budget proposal, which will be released this Monday, as well as NASA reauthorization hearings which begin this month in Congress. Both hearings will help to determine the allocation of resources to NASA and its facilities.
Sen. Brown has long supported the NASA Glenn Research Center and efforts to ensure its full utilization. In January 2012 he sent a letter to NASA Administrator Charles Boldenurging him to support a proposed partnership between GRC and the European Space Agency (ESA) that would help ensure that the Plum Brook facility in Sandusky is fully utilized. Thanks to Sen. Brown, a Senate bill, passed in 2010, preserved civil servant jobs at GRC for the next three years. Earlier that year, an effort to eliminate aeronautics research and development from NASA’s mission was stripped on the Senate floor as a result of Sen. Brown’s leadership.
SpaceX is a private company owned by management and employees, with minority investments from Founders Fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Valor Equity Partners. The company has more than 3,000 employees and is the only private company ever to return a spacecraft from low-Earth orbit, which it first accomplished in December 2010. In June 2010 SpaceX’s Falcon 9 spacecraft held its first flight, which successfully achieved Earth orbit. In December 2010, on Falcon 9’s second flight and the Dragon spacecraft’s first, SpaceX became the first commercial company to launch a spacecraft into orbit and recover it successfully.