Yuri’s Night Space Party, Great Lakes Science Center’s annual dance fest, will be crashing into Cleveland’s orbit on April 13. The out-of-this-world fundraiser celebrates Ohio’s contribution to space exploration and research. “NASA Glenn [Research Center] plays a huge role in all of the missions and all of the things we’re trying to do back at the moon,” says Jimi Russell, NASA Glenn’s senior public affairs officer. Here’s three stellar contributions we’ve made.
NASA Glenn has been responsible for the batteries powering the 356-foot-long International Space Station since its launch in 1998. “It has the largest power system ever constructed in space,” says Russell. “It uses eight solar rays to convert sunlight to electricity and then all that power is stored in lithium ion batteries that are being installed by the astronauts.”
In 2019, the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, a spacecraft that may take humans to Mars, will undergo thermal vacuuming, electromagnetic interference and compatibility testing for four months at Sandusky’s NASA Plum Brook Station before its 2020 launch. “It’s the only place in the world where you can test the spacecraft of that size for as long as we need to test it for,” says Russell.
The longer astronauts are in space, the more bone mass they lose. In 2009, NASA Glenn developed the Glenn Flight Harness to improve safety and help maintain bone density. “It applies a simulated gravity so that astronauts are able to run and actually keep their muscles toned up as the they jog on the treadmill on [the International Space Station],” says Russell.