National Aeronautics and Space Administration

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Events Timeline (1938 – 2009)

This section provides timelines of Propulsion Systems Laboratory (PSL) events and tests, an animation and film footage demonstrating how the facility works, and a glossary of terms related to PSL.

AERL Construction
AERL Construction
Four Burner Facility
Four Burner Facility
PSL Construction
PSL Construction
PSL Begins Operating
PSL Begins Operating
Ramjet test for Navaho Missile
Ramjet test for Navaho Missile
1957 Triennial Inspection
1957 Triennial Inspection
RL-10 Engine for Centaur Rocket
RL-10 Engine for Centaur Rocket
Surveyor Spacecraft on Moon
Surveyor Spacecraft on Moon
Pratt & Whitney TF-30 Turbofan
Pratt & Whitney TF-30 Turbofan
Construction of PSL No. 3 and 4
Construction of PSL No. 3 and 4
F-100 Turbofan Testing
F-100 Turbofan Testing
PSL Falls into Disrepair
PSL Falls into Disrepair
1938
   NACA authorizes study on need for additional labs

1939
   Congress appropriates $10 million for new NACA lab
   British German Heinkel He-178 is first jet aircraft flown
   Moffett Field, California, is site for new NACA laboratory
   NACA approves establishment of an engine research lab

1944
   Altitude Wind Tunnel becomes first propulsion tunnel

1945
   Major AERL reorganization to focus on turbojets and high-speed flight
   Design of Four Burner Area altitude chambers begins

1946
   Air Force approves development surface-to-surface intercontinental missile

1947
   Four Burner Area altitude chambers begin operation
   NACA Lewis Research Facilities Panel discuss new altitude facility
   AERL renamed Flight Propulsion Research Laboratory
   First supersonic flight by Chuck Yeager in X–1
   Lab renamed the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory

1948
   Congress allocates $10 million for PSL construction
   Eugene Wasielewski appointed PSL Project Engineer
   8- by 6-Foot Supersonic Wind Tunnel begins operation

1949
   Sam Emerson Co. hired to construct Operations Bldg.
   Excavation of PSL site and construction of cooling tower begin
   Treadwell Construction contracted to build PSL altitude chambers
   Abe Silverstein becomes NACA Lewis Director of Research
   Research divisions reorganized for supersonic flight

1950
   Outbreak of the Korean War
   Navaho Missile Program begins
   Foundation of Equipment Building complete

1951
   Burns and Roe completes design work in January
   Delivery of altitude chambers to PSL site in January

1952
   Compressors and exhausters installed in Equipment Building
   PSL No. 1 and 2 completed in September
   Westinghouse ramjet is first PSL test in October

1954
   1954 Inspection features PSL

1955
   New exhauster and compressors installed
   Air dryer tank and Reactivation Bldg. constructed

1956
   Instrument Room added to Shop and Access Bldg

1956
   Desiccant Air Dryer Added

1957
   Navaho Missile Program cancelled
   Sputnik I launched
   Rockets discussed at NACA Lewis tri-annual inspection

1958
   Pebble Bed Heater added to PSL in May
   NACA Lewis incorporated into the new NASA space agency

1961
   Yuri Gagarin becomes first human in space

1962
   First Centaur (F–1) launch fails
   Centaur Program transferred to NASA Lewis
   Bomarc Missiles sites installed

1964
   First flight of P&W TF-30 turbofan engine

1966
   Creation of Airbreathing Engine Division
   Library relocated to PSL Operations Building

1967
   Surveyor spacecraft makes first landing on Moon
   PSL switches refocuses on aeronautics research
   Design work underway for PSL expansion

1968
   Construction underway for PSL No. 3 and 4

1969
   Majority of construction on PSL No. 3 and 4 complete
   Flamespreader installed on PSL Chamber No.21971

1971
   No testing in PSL-2 during 1971
   Explosion in PSL Equipment Building

1972
   First test run in PSL No.3 in November

1973
   First test run in PSL No.4 in July
   Recognition ceremony for PSL No.3 and 4 design and construction
   NASA Lewis closes Plum Brook Station

1976
   PSL No. 1 closed in September until June 1977 for failure investigation

1979
   Final PSL No. 2 test completed in July
   Final PSL No.1 test completed in September

2004
   NASA Glenn begins demolition planning

2006
   Community Awareness Meeting held April 27

2007
   Historical documentation of PSL begins

2008
   Demolition of PSL No.1 and 2 begins

2009
   Demolition of PSL No. 1 and 2 completed