NASA held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Aerospace Communications Facility (ACF) at the agency’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Wednesday, March 4.

“NASA Glenn continues to develop advanced radio frequency technology, enabling NASA’s aeronautics, science and human exploration missions,” said Joel Kearns, Glenn’s director of Facilities, Test and Manufacturing. “The ACF positions us to further advance communication technology needed to meet the nation’s space exploration and aviation goals, as well as enable commercial and defense communications.”  

The new 54,000 square foot facility will be NASA’s premier facility for radio frequency communications technology research and development. It will allow NASA and commercial partners to develop faster, higher capacity communications for future missions to the Moon and Mars. It will also house research in advanced communication for future urban air mobility and autonomous flying vehicles.

In November, Glenn awarded a $33.8 million contract to The Austin Company in Cleveland to build the new Aerospace Communications Facility. The building will be certified in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).  Construction is expected to be complete by next winter, and full occupancy is scheduled for the fall of 2022.

The facility is part of a series of improvements and new construction at Glenn’s Lewis Field as part of the center’s Master Plan. The Mission Integration Center opened in 2014, and a new Research Support Building is scheduled to open later this year.

For a look at renderings of the new ACF, visit the NASA Glenn Flickr page.