NASA Glenn Research Center opened west of Cleveland, adjacent to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, in 1941. Initially called the Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory, the facility at first served as a National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) research lab and was responsible for key aeronautic advancements during World War II.
In 1958, a legislative act was passed creating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). As a result, the facility was absorbed by NASA and renamed the NASA Lewis Research Center in honor of George Lewis, NACA's Director of Aeronautical Research. During the 1960s and 1970s, the Lewis Research Center conducted experiments and developed technologies in support of the space program, including the completion of the Zero Gravity Research Facility in 1966 - designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1985. The center played an important role in perfecting the use of liquid hydrogen rocket fuel, used in the Mercury and Apollo space missions. Scientists at Lewis were also responsible for developmental work on upper-stage launch vehicles for the lunar landing.
In 1999, the Lewis Research Center was renamed NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field in honor of Senator John Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit the earth. Today, NASA Glen Research Center continues to conduct experiments in aeronautics and aerospace.