Local group opens membership to the public

·2 min read

Jun. 20—SANDUSKY — A group of volunteers came together in 2008 to promote the NASA Plum Brook Station in Perkins Township and formed the Friends of NASA Plum Brook.

"The Friends" were a loosely organized group by design. Each volunteer paid their own way, with no elected officers. Just a group of dedicated enthusiasts that wanted to leverage the economic potential of the local NASA facility. It was done with a persistent and focused campaign to support and promote NASA Plum Brook.

Fourteen years later, the core group and focus has remained consistent but the names have recently changed. The Friends of NASA Plum Brook is now the NASA Armstrong Advocacy Coalition (NAAC) and the NASA Plum Brook Station is now the Neil A. Armstrong Test Facility (ATF) to honor the late Ohio hero and his legacy. The renaming provided an opportunity to reinvent the Friends group and to transition to a more formal structure. After a series of stakeholder meetings, the group incorporated as the NASA Armstrong Advocacy Coalition. An elected board of directors now leads the group, and has obtained nonprofit status.

The new organizational structure provides more discipline and allows the group to focus on economic development priorities. Advocacy, marketing and education are the primary goals. Lessons learned over the past 15 years demonstrate the need to continually promote NASA Armstrong. National, regional and local recognition keep the station viable and active. Federal facilities that are not promoted risk an uncertain future.

Most of the testing that occurs at Armstrong is not done by NASA. Private aerospace companies utilize the unique testing facilities and help to pay the bills. That is critically important for the long-term survival of the station. The coalition continually evaluates and promotes diversification to make certain the facilities at Armstrong are being used to their full potential.

While ATF is dedicated to science, there is a certain art form involved in convincing legislators and government officials to think and work beyond what has been done in the past. And while the names have changed and NAAC now formally organized, the members still pay their own way. Trips to Washington D.C. to advocate for ATF are still covered by the members.

Today the coalition is seeking the public's partnership to help strengthen our voice in the nation's capital. It is vital to the survival of the testing facility to ensure legislators do not overlook the importance of the ATF. A donation of $25 will qualify an individual or company for a general membership. Your membership in NAAC represents your support of advocacy, education and marketing efforts for the NASA Neil A. Armstrong Test Facility (formerly NASA Plum Brook Station).

Your membership helps ensure the long-term viability of ATF and enhances our region and state for future generation. Membership also includes access to exclusive content and the ability to participate in NAAC activities.

Visit nasaarmstrong.org/membership for more information and to start your membership.