NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory has recommended to NASA the closure of the JPL Edwards Test Facility as a cost-saving measure.

The 570-acre facility, located at Edwards Air Force Base in California's Mojave Desert, is staffed by 28 JPL employees and 18 contractors. If approved by NASA, closure activities would begin in 1994 and continue for about two years.

"We are recommending this closure because JPL's need for the facility has decreased in recent years, and its operation is no longer cost-effective," said Philip W. Garrison, manager of JPL's Propulsion and Chemical Systems Section.

Established in 1945 on a 40-acre site at the north end of Rogers Dry Lake, the JPL Edwards Test Facility was first used in the Laboratory's work on the Corporal missile when JPL was an Army laboratory in the 1940s and 1950s.

After JPL was transferred to NASA in 1958, the facility was used for testing and qualification of propulsion systems for the Ranger, Surveyor, Mariner, Viking and Voyager missions.

In recent years, the facility's primary business has been solid rocket motor development for NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and for U.S. Air Force programs.

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