September 29, 1995: Closure of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on North Base

  • Published
  • Air Force Flight Test Center

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory closed its facility at North Base, and its permit to operate was terminated. The facility was created in June 1945 as a rocket test site, and eventually consisted of 571 acres, 70 buildings, six test stands, two test stand barricades and an open burn unit. It was a division of the California Institute of Technology and National Aeronautics Space Administration.  It provided solid propellant mixing, casting, and x-ray technical support to the Air Force Phillips Laboratory on Leuhman Ridge.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory was a federally funded research and development center and a National Aeronautics Space Administration field center within the state of California,  Founded in the 1930s, the laboratory was owned by NASA and managed by the nearby California Institute of Technology for NASA.  The laboratory's primary function was the construction and operation of planetary robotic spacecraft, though it also conducts Earth-orbit and astronomy missions. It is also responsible for operating NASA's Deep Space Network.  Among the laboratory's major projects were the Mars Science Laboratory mission, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Juno spacecraft orbiting Jupiter, the NuSTAR X-ray telescope, the SMAP satellite for earth surface soil moisture monitoring, and the Spitzer Space Telescope. It was responsible for managing the JPL Small-Body Database, and provides physical data and lists of publications for all known small Solar System bodies.  JPL's Space Flight Operations Facility and Twenty-Five-Foot Space Simulator are designated National Historic Landmarks.

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