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RETF Publications

Page from RETF Historic American Engineering Report.
Page from RETF Historic American Engineering Report.

The historic mitigation effort yielded several types of publications that document the history of the Rocket Engine Test Facility (RETF). These included a narrative history, a website, documentary video, a Historic American Engineering Report, and an interactive exhibit.

Ideas Into Hardware: A History of theRETF

Cover of Ideas Into Hardware
Ideas Into Hardware

A peer-reviewed historic book titled Ideas Into Hardware: A History of the Rocket Engine Test Facility at the NASA Glenn Research Center, authored by Dr. Virginia Dawson, details the early development of NASA’s rocket research, the need for the RETF, and its roles in the Apollo Program, and space shuttle development. Dr. Dawson conducted interviews with several retirees.

Historic American Engineering Report

Page from HAER report on RETF
Page from RETF HAER report.

Hardlines Design Company prepared Level I HAER documentation of the facility, which included detailed RETF photographs and a set of 12 detailed drawings of each building and the methods of testing. The HAER report was submitted to the National Parks Service in 2003 and is permanently stored by the Library of Congress.


Original RETF Website

Original RETF website screen capture
RETF Original Website.

An RETF website was created by SiteByMike and Hardlines using Adobe Flash software. The site included videos, interviews, test footage, and the documentary. It also contained still images, a timeline, narrative history, and several educational interactive features. As NASA moves away from the use of Flash, the content from that website was converted and reorganized by the Glenn History Office into this new site. A PDF version of the original site is below.

Fueling Space Exploration: History of NASA’s RETF

Fueling Space Exploration cover
Fueling Space Exploration cover.

The Glenn Imaging Technology Center created the documentary, “Fueling Space Exploration: The History of NASA’s Rocket Engine Test Facility” (NASA SP—2005-4607), utilizing retiree interviews, archival footage, and historical photographs to highlight NASA Glenn’s early research with high-energy fuels, and the groundbreaking research and testing performed at the RETF. The DVD contains the full 25-minute video and a condensed 7-minute version.

Interactive Exhibit

RETF exhibit
RETF exhibit.

Hardlines Design Company and Lucarelli Designs & Displays, Inc. created an interactive exhibit using artifacts and models from the facility.Components of the display included a brief history of the RETF, its contributions to rocket technology, a physical description of the facility, and concepts for future space propulsion. It included website work stations, still images, the HAER drawings, a monitor playing the documentary, and audio clips from retiree interviews. This exhibit is no longer active.


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