NASA Plum Brook projects on hold

The federal government’s shutdown abruptly halted several NASAapproved projects blasting off this year at the Plum Brook Station.
Andy Ouriel
Oct 4, 2013
Considered a “nonessential” facility, Plum Brook closed Tuesday morning after Congress failed to approve a spending bill late Monday.

The station’s 100 full-time employees received furloughs, or unpaid vacations, and can’t report back until Congress agrees on a new bill.

A shutdown means stopping any and all progress on numerous NASA Plum Brook projects helping to enhance the world-class testing facility.

Among the projects on hold:

• A $22 million upgrade to the Space Power Facility, the world’s largest space environmental simulator capable of creating the vacuum and temperature conditions found in space.

• A $4.5 million investment to move and upgrade the main gate facility from Taylor Road to Scheid Road.

• A $3.5 million demolition of an outdated space-environment test chamber called the Cryogenic Propellant Tank Facility, or K-Site.

• Negotiations with European Space Agency executives, who expressed interest in testing a sophisticated rocket engine at Plum Brook.

“Unless something dramatic happens, where the government shuts down for months, I don’t see it as more than an inconvenience to the overall progress that’s being made out there,” said Tom Kueterman, a member of the Friends of NASA Plum Brook, a local volunteer group advocating for the station. “The shutdown is not going to stop anything.”

Kueterman, however, does worry about a prolonged shutdown pushing back an unannounced testing project scheduled to occur at Plum Brook later this year.

Lowdown on the shutdown
The federal government shutdown’s impact on NASA Plum Brook:
• Employees furloughed: 20 civilian full-time, 80 contracted full-time
• Money invested: $567 million from 2001 to early 2012.
• Annual visitors: 500
• What it is: A one-of-a-kind testing facility and home to unique space equipment. The Space Power Facility, for instance, can create a vacuum and simulate temperatures found in space.
• Fallout: No major tests are presently occurring at the site, but all work must be halted. No one will be allowed on NASA Plum Brook’s grounds other than a security guard.
• Reaction: “We live in a constitutional system with an elected public,” Station director Gen. David Stringer said. “Our government is divided, and they need to pass a budget. As citizens, we have to let that process work.

Comments

lugnut2511

Does this mean the 10 Mil plus entrance gate is on hold as well? Thats one of many many reasons this country is in shambles

margaritaville88

Just one security guard..yee-haw, let's go get some big deer boys!! LMAO

Contango

Privatize it.

Really are you ...

Annual visitors? When are visiting hours? Ok right now there are none, but once the government grudge match is over, when will they let visitors in?