National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

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Support Buildings
Aerial view of PSL complex
PSL Complex

The Propulsion Systems Laboratory (PSL) No. 1 and 2 complex included massive infrastructure, complex systems, and several support buildings that were vital to the operation of the facility. These buildings included the Equipment Building, which contained the powerful exhausters and compressors, the Shop and Access Building with the two test chambers, an office building, and a cooling tower.

Equipment Building
Interior of Equipment Building
Equipment Building

The Equipment Building was the heart of PSL. It contained the compressors, exhausters, refrigeration equipment, and other apparatus used to condition the air for the PSL tests. The Equipment Building control room windows were double-paned acoustical-type that were positioned so that all the test equipment could be viewed. In addition, the control panels were arranged so each machine could be seen from its operating panel. The primary equipment was started from the PSL main control room. In emergency situations, however, it could be stopped from the floor of the Equipment Building.

The Equipment Building’s foundation, flooring, and footings were reinforced concrete. The main floor was designed to handle a load of 250 pounds per square foot. Areas under the exhausters and where trucks would bring in equipment were designed for higher loads. The placement of the air heaters and transformers were laid out to accommodate oil tanks if the system was ever switched over from electric to gas heaters. The exterior of the building was manganese, spot-face modular-size brick.

Documents:
     Exhauster Building Floor Plans (1956-62) (PDF, 752KB)

Equipment Building
Equipment Building
Exhausters
Exhausters
Switchgear Panels
Switchgear Panels
Shop and Access Building
Exterior of Shop and Access Building
Shop and Access Building

The Shop and Access Building housed the two altitude chambers, accompanying infrastructure, and control room. The two test chambers were on the second floor. They ran parallel to one another with a shop floor and control room between them. A large overhead rail crane transported engines and equipment into the chambers. In 1956 and 1957 a large extension was added to the front of the building to provide additional space for the shop area. The addition nearly doubled the size of the Access Building.

The control room had two separate work stations, one for each test chamber. From here the operators could control the exhausters and compressors in the Equipment Building and run the engine in the test chamber. Originally there was a set of manometers in the rear of the room. Television monitors were added in the early 1960s to view the tests. After PSL No. 1 and 2 shut down in 1979, temporary offices were built between and around the test chambers on second floor of the Access Building.

Documents:
     Access Building Floor Plans 1956-1957 (PDF, 416KB)

Instrument Room
Instrument Room
Building Addition
Building Addition
Interior in 2005
Interior in 2005
PSL Operations Building (PSLOB)
Exterior of PSL Office Building
PSL Office Building

A two-story T-shaped building was built across Walcott Road from PSL to house the researchers who would be using the new facility. It was a standard NACA Lewis office building with similar exterior and windows as the other brick buildings at the lab. It was almost identical in appearance to the Instrument Research Lab built just a few years before in the adjacent lot.

In 1959 the PSLOB residents included the Advanced Propulsion Division, the Facilities Engineering Division, and key members of the Propulsion Systems Division. In the mid-1960s, the lab’s library was relocated to the PSLOB. It occupied the rear portion of the building while the remainder of the offices continued to house research and facilities personnel. In 1967 the building had been renamed the Library Services Building and housed most of the Airbreathing Engines Division and the PSL Operations Branch. This arrangement continued until 2008 when the library and aeronautics staffs were relocated so the building could be remodeled.

Documents:
     New Building to House Library (1949) (PDF, 448KB)

PSLOB
PSLOB Footage
Construction
Construction
Entrance
Entrance
Researchers
Researchers