CLEVELAND — Several of NASA's top administrators and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) were in Cleveland on Tuesday for a look at the future of space exploration on the heels of the recently completed Artemis I mission.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, NASA Deputy Administrator Pamela Melroy and other agency officials joined Brown in a visit to the NASA Glenn Research Center. The leaders met with NASA Glenn's management team along with other business officials to discuss Ohio's role in supporting the ongoing mission to explore the Moon and Mars.
Brown and Nelson also toured NASA Glenn's SLOPE (Simulated Lunar Operations) Lab.
“We can all agree, there is no better place in the country to talk about new and emerging technologies – particularly for NASA and the future of aerospace – than Ohio,” said Brown. “Cutting-edge technology is being developed at NASA Glenn and it’s in part possible because of both the funding secured in the 2023 Fiscal Year Spending Package and the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act. Supporting job-creative innovation is what bipartisanship looks like.”
According to Brown's office, NASA currently employs 3,500 people and indirectly supports more than 11,000 jobs in Ohio. NASA provides the state an economic benefit of $2.45 billion annually – $1.8 billion of that in Northeast Ohio. It is estimated that for every $1 of funding at NASA Glenn, $3 are created in the Ohio economy.
NASA Glenn plays a critical role in power and propulsion research, helping lead the way for the integration of those systems for the Orion spacecraft. Cleveland native Jim Free is a top NASA official who oversees the development of every facet of hardware and software for the agency's human space exploration.
Free told 3News' Betsy Kling that he's not just proud of the women and men making the Artemis missions happen, he wants everyone to feel that pride. "It's not just about the engineers and that technicians that are out there. It really takes everybody to do this," he said. "The team here at Glenn working the European Service Module, that's the powerhouse behind this and every other mission. It should be a great place to celebrate it here in Cleveland."
Next up for NASA will be the Artemis II mission, which will take astronauts into space and around the Moon. Crew selection is set to happen early this year with the aim to launch the mission in 2024. Artemis III, with the goal of putting humans back onto the moon, is slated to happen in 2025.