A lot of people don’t know about the NASA facilities that are spread across the United States. Some facilities are home to sophisticated technologies that could reshape and affect life on earth as we know it. In our previous NASA article, we reviewed some of the NASA facilities. Well, there is more where that came from, and it will blow your mind.
Johnson Space Center
Johnson space center, The Heart of NASA’s human spaceflight program is in Houston, Texas. The Johnson Space Center was named after the 36th president of the United States. The Johnson Space Center has been among the top leaders in human space exploration for more than half a century.
This space center sits on nearly 1,700 acres southeast of downtown Houston and was officially opened in 1961 as the spacecraft center. It was intended to house the workforce that would go on to build the spacecraft, train the upcoming astronauts and assist the nation in the resolve to successfully land a man on the moon and bring him back safely to Earth.
The center’s initial mission has been increased to add programs that include long-duration space flights, involve international allies, and prepare America for the next giant leaps in human spaceflight.
The Johnson Space Center has a nearly 10,000-person workforce that aids in boosting NASA’s standing as an institution where innovative and talented problem solvers exceed the confines of explorations innovation.
Here’s a fun fact. All NASA astronauts and space explorers from the international ally countries that have flown on the Space Shuttle were trained at Johnson Space Center.
Care to know another interesting fact? NASA’s Orion program is managed at the Johnson Space Center. Orion is NASA’s spacecraft that is designed to send astronauts to deep space destinations, including journeys to Mars.
Some of the projects that were developed at Johnson have gone on to produce scientific and medical advances and spaceflight technologies that have been adapted to serve humankind in applications for medicine, energy, transportation, agriculture, communications, and electronics.
Ames Research Center
The Ames research center, otherwise known as NASA Ames, is a huge NASA research center located at Moffett Federal Airfield in California’s Silicon Valley. The Ames Research Center was founded in 1939 with the intention to stand in as the second National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) laboratory. The Ames center is named in honor of Joseph Sweetman Ames, a physicist and one of the founding members of NACA.
Ames was established to carry out wind-tunnel research on the aerodynamics of propeller-driven aircraft; however, its duty has extended to include spaceflight and information technology.
The Ames Research Center plays a huge part in many NASA missions. It offers leadership in discoveries like astrobiology, the search for habitable planets, and super computing NASA Ames also builds tools for a more secure and effective national airspace.
Ames Research Center has played a huge role in supporting a number of missions, like the Mars Pathfinder and Mars Exploration Rover missions, where the Ames Intelligent Robotics Laboratory played an important role.
Ames was a partner on the Mars Phoenix. The Mars Phoenix was a Mars scouting mission intended to send a high-latitude lander to Mars and deploy a robotic arm to dig trenches close to 1.6 feet (that should be one and a half meters) into the layers of water and ice and analyze the soil composition.
NASA Ames also happens to be home to NASA’s major research and development divisions in Sophisticated Supercomputing and Artificial Intelligence.
In September 2009, NASA Ames kickstarted NEBULA as a swift and strong cloud computing platform that was intended to handle NASA’s large data sets that met with security protocols. Ames Research Center was also among the earliest locations that conducted research on image processing using satellite-platform aerial photography.
Fun fact: NASA Ames houses the largest wind tunnel in the world.
Armstrong Flight Research Center
The Armstrong Flight Research Center, named after Neil Armstrong, is an aeronautical research facility located in Edwards, California, that is managed by NASA.
This center is known to manage some of the most sophisticated aircraft in the world including providing vital support for the first crewed airplane to surpass the speed of sound in level flight with the Bell X-1, the highest speed ever held by a crewed, powered aircraft. The Armstrong center also houses some of NASA’s science mission directorate aircraft.
Did you know that the Armstrong Research Center was not originally the Armstrong Research Center? Until March 1976, it was formerly known as the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center. It was named after an aeronautic engineer that goes by the name, Hugh L. Dryden. Hugh L. Dryden as of the time of his death occupied NASA’s Deputy Administrator position.
Armstrong was also the home to the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, a modified Boeing 747 created to carry a Space Shuttle orbiter back to Kennedy Space Center if one ever landed at Edwards.
Fun fact, until 2004, the Armstrong Research Center managed the oldest B-52 Stratofortress bomber, a B-52B model which had been modified to drop test aircraft.