BROOK PARK, Ohio - Tucked off a parking lot on NASA Glenn's sprawling 350-acre campus sits a small almost garage-like building with an equally nondescript name, Cell 32. But what they're testing inside could change the way rocket engines are made.
The product developed by manufacturer Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne reduces the number of parts in rocket injector from around 50 to just a few.
"It's 25 percent of the original cost and time that it took originally to make these large injectors," said Jeff Haynes, Project Manager for Pratt & Whitney.
"It's a collaboration with NASA we invest our internal research and development funds to manufacture it and NASA's doing their funding to validate it through hot fire testing that we're doing here.
The project just one of the ones visited Thursday by NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver.
It illustrates something Garver stressed is important to know about NASA and the work they do. This research which deals with rocket engines could one day improve the way jet engines are made as well.
"When we invest a dollar in something like solar electric propulsion there is a whole industry out there in this case communications satellites that is a several hundred billion dollar industry a year, that we can help lower their costs," said Garver.
"That's an investment that NASA makes that will return to this economy immeasurably."
Garver also was brought up to date on Glenn's ongoing work dealing with Cryogenic Propellant Systems and Solar Electric Propulsion Technologies; programs that will help NASA in its mission but better life for Americans as well.
"So in my view yes it's very exciting that we're driving to do first of a kind missions to asteroids that could do things like save humanity in the future but it's also important that those investments are translated to US industry, to real jobs right here on earth today and in the near future by lowering the costs and the risks of the technologies so that they can have a broader application," said Garver.
It's something she learned from former Ohio Senator John Glenn. Garver's first job out of college was working for the man whose name now adorns this facility.
"John Glenn said it a thousand times if he said it once R&D investment in NASA is the seed corn for our future," she said. "And I really think that's as true today as it was then."