Glenn Research Center in Brook Park to have 'lead' role, NASA spokesman says

Cleveland Plain Dealer

BROOK PARK NASA Glenn Research Center is to “continue to have a lead role” to manage and carry out programs that are designed to expand space exploration at lower costs, a NASA spokesman said.

The statement from Michael Braukus, NASA’s spokesman in Washington, D.C., came Friday after he was questioned by a reporter who asked about fears expressed by a union leader that Glenn could lose such programs.

The question came as NASA has yet to unveil details of how a budget approved for NASA in September would affect centers such as Glenn, located here, in the wake of the end of the space shuttle program.

NASA is studying what headquarters will manage what is called the Enabling Technology Development and Demonstration program, Braukus said.

“Regardless of the headquarters organizational structure, the Glenn Research Center will continue to have the lead role in the management and implementation of a robust set of exploration technology activities,” Braukus said.

The top goal of the ETTD program is to develop technology to trim costs and expand the capability of explorations, according to NASA. For instance, one project is to find water on the moon, according to a NASA document. Another project would be robotics. A lesser goal is to develop Earth-based technology.

Projects are to last two to four years.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said he had “multiple assurances from top brass” at NASA that ETDD will remain at Glenn, which is a “natural fit.”

“Though the end of the shuttle program signals great changes for NASA as a whole, we have been able to preserve jobs — thanks in large part to a Senate bill that saved civil servant positions and maintained high levels of funding for research and development,” Brown said.

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