By Tom Jackson
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, says he sees a bright future ahead for NASA Plum Brook Station near Sandusky and NASA Glenn in Cleveland, and he'll keep pushing NASA officials to protect Ohio's interests.
"No one has been talking about the amazing work SpaceX has been doing at Plum Brook," Brown told reporters in a telephone conference call Wednesday. "I'm very hopeful for the future."
SpaceX, a private rocket firm, has been testing Falcon 9 payload fairings at the Space Power Facility, a huge vacuum chamber at NASA Plum Brook Station.
The fairing is the nose cone section containing the cargo. SpaceX used the Falcon 9 rocket for a successful March mission to send supplies to the International Space Station.
Brown said he planned to speak Wednesday to NASA's No. 2 official about NASA Glenn.
A spokesman later said Brown talked with deputy administrator Lori Garver.
"I am hopeful we continue to go generally in the right direction at NASA Glenn," he said.
Brown held the conference call to plug his efforts to raise the federal minimum wage, although reporters turned it into a wide-ranging press conference with their questions.
The senator said the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, which he is co-sponsoring, would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour from the current $7.25, through three steps of 95 cents apiece.
After the minimum wage reached $10.10 in 2015, it would automatically continue to rise every year to keep pace with the cost of living.