Officials at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., will
issue, on Sunday, Dec. 23, a study assessing the environmental impact of a
proposed NASA research facility to be constructed in 2002.

The world-class Propulsion Research Laboratory complex — a
multi-million-dollar, state-of-the-art facility for advanced scientific
study of propulsion concepts and technologies — is scheduled to begin
construction next April, pending the findings of the Environmental
Assessment team.

The publication of the Environmental Assessment marks the start of a 30-day
public comment period, which ends Jan. 22, 2002. The Marshall Center will
host an open forum Jan. 15 to address the public’s questions about the new

"We encourage Huntsville and Madison County residents to review the document
and attend the forum if they have questions," said Mike Reynolds, a Marshall
Center environmental engineer. "We’re confident the environmental assessment
demonstrates that the new propulsion laboratory will be a safe, secure and
environmentally friendly facility. It’s designed as a home for cutting-edge
research that benefits NASA’s mission and continues to ensure America’s
leadership in space."

The public meeting will be held Jan. 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the main branch of
the Huntsville Public Library on Monroe Street in downtown Huntsville.
Citizens are welcome to attend.

The Environmental Assessment draft document will be available for review at
all branches of the Huntsville Public Library. The public may obtain a copy
by calling, writing or sending an e-mail to:

Shar Hendrick, Manager

Government & Community Affairs Department

Marshall Space Flight Center

Huntsville, AL 35812

(256) 544-2030

Once the comment period has ended, a final version of the Environmental
Assessment will be made available to the public in February.Like all
government organizations, NASA conducts environmental assessment studies for
any construction or building project or activity that may impact the
environment or human communities in its vicinity.

More about the Propulsion Research Laboratory

The Propulsion Research Laboratory, to include 66,000 square feet of usable
space, will be housed on a 21-acre site on Redstone Arsenal. The site is
bordered by Marshall Road North, Neal Road, Morris Road, and a shared
boundary with Redstone Arsenal property.

The facility, expected to be completed in April 2004, is vital for
developing the advanced propulsion technologies needed to open up the space
frontier, and will set the stage for research that could revolutionize space
transportation for a broad range of applications. Research and sub-scale
experiments supporting cheaper, more efficient and safer access to space
will be conducted in a number of areas, including solar energy, advanced
chemical propulsion technologies, and processes based on fission, fusion and