National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Pursuit of Power Pursuit of Power: NASA’s Propulsion Systems Laboratory No. 1 and 2 (NASA SP-2012-4548) describes the research, operations, and people involved with the Propulsion Systems Laboratory (PSL) at the NASA Glenn Research Center. From 1952 until 1972 PSL was the agency’s most powerful facility for testing full-scale engines at simulated flight altitudes. The facility’s original test chambers, known as PSL No. 1 and 2, were first used to study the increasingly powerful jet engines of the early 1950s and the ramjets for missile programs such as Navaho and Bomarc. With the advent of the space program in the late 1950s, the facility was used to study complex rocket engines, including the Pratt & Whitney RL-10 that was used to power the Centaur rocket and Saturn I upper stages. In the mid-1960s, PSL returned its focus to jet engines, which continued to grow in size and performance. By 1972 two additional, more powerful test chambers were added to PSL to accommodate these new engines. The original chambers continued with jet engine research the chambers were phased out in 1979. This book seeks to restore appreciation of PSL’s contributions to complex aerospace programs, demonstrate its importance to the Center’s capabilities and 70-year propulsion legacy, and remember some of the facility operators, technicians, and researchers who extracted significant data from the equipment.

The book is available in the following formats:
PDF (PDF, 9.48MB)
Hard copy - contact the NASA Headquarters History Office at or (202) 358-0384
Historic American Engineering Report
HAER American Engineering Report (HAER) documentation of the Propulsion Systems Laboratory No. 1 and 2 to be submitted the Ohio Historic Preservation Office. The report details the physical history of the site, event history of the facility, contemporary facilities, and architectural and operational descriptions of the facilities and their support buildings. Includes numerous photographs, blueprints, and drawings.

PSL HAER Report (PDF, 28.2MB)
Exhibit Display
An exhibit display was created to highlight PSL No. 1 and 2’s physical attributes and important tests. Click the image below for a full-size version of this display panel.

PSL Display