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This page contains the latest NASA News Updates from the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL). If you would like to be notified when new updates are added:
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Year-in-Review highlights NASA’s progress at SSFL

February 21, 2017

2016 was another active year for NASA at SSFL. The 2016 Year in Review summarizes the year’s progress toward cleaning of its portion of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) in the areas of demolition, soil and groundwater investigations, stormwater management, and community outreach. We look forward to another busy year as the regulatory process progresses and we move closer to a final cleanup.

NASA Welcomes new Project Manager for the Santa Susana Field Lab

February 7, 2017

Keith Thomsen Keith Thomsen, SSFL Remedial Project Manager

NASA welcomes Dr. Keith Thomsen as NASA’s Remedial Project Manager for the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL). He will join Peter Zorba, NASA SSFL Project Director in the continuing characterization and cleanup efforts in NASA-administered areas at SSFL.

Dr. Thomsen is an Environmental Engineer with 30 years of international experience in environmental engineering, renewable energy and sustainability. He holds a Bachelor of Science in General Engineering from Oregon State University, a Masters of Business Administration from California State University Fresno, and a doctorate in Environmental Science and Engineering from UCLA.

Prior to his NASA appointment, Dr. Thomsen served as the Assistant Director of Washington State University Tri-Cities where he was a key member of the leadership team responsible for starting and developing the Bioproducts Science and Engineering Laboratory, a world-class applied research and development laboratory focused on renewable energy, environmental science and engineering, sustainability, emerging technologies and climate change.

As Remedial Project Manager for NASA at SSFL, Dr. Thomsen will be responsible for developing soil and groundwater cleanup plans, and ensuring various aspects of onsite environmental compliance, including air monitoring, stormwater and hazardous waste management.

"I'm looking forward to using my experience and education to help the NASA team continue to develop and implement cost-effective and technically sound remedies for Santa Susana that meet NASA’s goal of a cleanup that is protective of public health and the environment," said Thomsen.

SSFL FieldNOTE – December 2016

December 19, 2016

NASA continues to make headway with demolition of obsolete buildings and infrastructure to prepare the site for final cleanup. FieldNOTE newsletter (PDF)

NASA continues with demolition work in the Skyline Area

August 6, 2016

NASA kicked off Phase 2 of demolition in the Skyline Area to remove obsolete water tanks and pipeline. The photos below show the progress made with demolition of the Skyline water tanks and the pipeline leading from the water tanks to the Coca Test Area.

Additional information and full-size photos on demolition activities can be found on the Skyline Area Demolition page.

Skyline Tanks
This photo shows the Skyline area in March 2016, just before demolition work began. Ten water tanks can be seen on the top of a hill in the distance.
March 2016
This photo shows the Skyline area in July 2016, after significant progress with demolition work. Just two water tanks can be seen on the top of a hill in the distance.
July 2016
Skyline Coca Pipeline
This photo shows a large water pipeline extending from the Skyline area on the top of a hill, down to the Coca Test Area in March 2016, before demolition work began.
March 2016
This photos shows the hillside leading from Skyline area down to the Coca Test Area. This was taken in Juy 2016 after the pipeline had been removed as part of NASA demolition activities.
July 2016

Landscape Restoration Continues in the Service Area

August 5, 2016

The photos below show the growth of vegetation in former location of Building 2204. Following demolition, a hydroseed mulch containing a seed mixture of native plants was applied. The hydroseed mix promotes revegetation, aiding in the process of restoring the natural habitat.

Additional information and full-size photos on demolition activities can be found on the ELV/Service Area Demolition page.

Building 2204
This photo shows a wide shot of the Building 204 area in March 2016 soon after a hydroseed mulch was applied.
March 2016
This June 2016 photo shows significant growth of vegetation where hydroseed was applied in the Building 204 demolition area.
June 2016
This photo shows a closer view of the Building 204 area in March 2016, with little vegetation growth.
March 2016
This photo shows a closer view of the Building 204 area in June 2016 where significant vegetation can be seen in the area where hydroseed mulch was applied.
June 2016

SSFL FieldNOTE – July 2016

July 25, 2016

The newest edition of the FieldNOTE newsletter (PDF) provides an overview of NASA’s progress with groundwater characterization, profiles the new SSFL Project Director, and describes NASA’s preparations for wildfire season.

NASA Announces Retirement of Project Director Allen Elliott

May 04, 2016

Allen Elliott retires from NASA this week, capping nearly 25 years of service with the agency on the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) environmental cleanup and closure. Highly respected and admired by program regulators, the responsible parties and the community, Elliott leaves an extraordinary legacy at SSFL that will lead the way forward as NASA continues cleanup activities at the site.

Peter Zorba, onsite project manager since 2011, will assume the duties of project director as Elliott retires.

Notable achievements under Elliott’s leadership include an Interim Soil Remediation Action (ISRA) cleanup that removed approximately 12,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil from NASA-administered areas, completion of the RCRA soils investigation, the NASA EIS and Section 106 Process, completion of a robust series of remedial technology treatability studies, and significant progress of demolition activities in NASA-administered areas at SSFL.

Elliott has also been a strong advocate for the protection of the Native American cultural resources on the site. Under his vision and leadership, the Sacred Sites Council, a body of tribal members from various tribes affiliated with the SSFL site, was created to increase communication and address tribal concerns regarding the protection of the sacred sites throughout the cleanup process.

“Allen’s leadership will be greatly missed,” said Peter Zorba. “Over the past five years he has been my great friend and mentor. He is leaving big shoes to fill and I will do my best to carry his vision forward with a cleanup that honors NASA’s broader legacy.”

SSFL FieldNOTE – April 2016

April 15, 2016

This FieldNOTE newsletter (PDF) provides an update on demolition activities, including the launch of Phase 2 as NASA continues to make progress preparing the site for final cleanup.

NASA Releases SSFL Oral History Archive

March 31, 2016

As part of the demolition mitigation measures outlined in the 2014 Programmatic Agreement, and in an effort to preserve the history of rocket engine testing at SSFL, NASA conducted oral history interviews with former SSFL personnel regarding their experiences with engine testing activities. Transcripts of these interviews are now available and can be found on the Oral History Archive on this website.

NASA Releases 2015 Year in Review

January 26, 2016

The 2015 Year in Review summarizes progress NASA made over the past year toward cleanup of its portion of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL). NASA maintains its commitment to keeping the community and interested stakeholders updated as we begin another active year of cleanup in 2016.

SSFL FieldNOTE – November 2015

November 10, 2015

This FieldNOTE newsletter (PDF) provides updates on progress NASA is making at SSFL. It describes some recent groundwater field work to understand the North Fault Zone, progress on demolition in the Northern Service Area, as well as an update on soil sampling work.

Demolition Progress Continues in the Service Area

November 11, 2015

The photos below show Building 2204 before demolition activities on May 2, 2015 and after demolition activities and hydroseeding on October 16, 2015. Hyrdoseeding promotes revegetation and minimizes the potential for erosion and dust migration.

Additional information and full-size photos on demolition activities can be found on the ELV/Service Area Demolition page.

Building 2204
Building 2204 prior to demolition
May 2, 2015
Building 2204 after demolition
October 16, 2015

SSFL FieldNOTE – August 2015

August 12, 2015

This FieldNOTE newsletter (PDF) provides updates on demolition work in NASA-administered areas at SSFL. It describes NASA’s progress with demolition of structures, roadways, and concrete surfaces in the Service Area as well as the decision to defer the demolition of test stands while a National Monument petition is considered.

Progress Continues with Demolition of Structures, Roadways, and Concrete Surfaces in the Service Area

August 12, 2015

The photos below show progress made with demolition work on Buildings 2201, 2202, 2211 and 2203 in the Service Area.

Additional information and full-size photos on demolition activities can be found on the ELV/Service Area Demolition page.

Buildings 2201, 2202, 2211
Buildings 2201, 2202, 2211 prior to demolition
April 6, 2015
Buildings 2201, 2202, 2211 after demolition
July 6, 2015
Building 2203
Building 2203 prior to demolition
May 6, 2015
Building 2203 after demolition
July 6, 2015

NASA Remains Committed to Clean-up; Will Defer Demolition of Test Stands as National Monument Petition is Considered

July 2, 2015

In April, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, one of the signatories of the April 2014 Programmatic Agreement regarding demolition and soil and groundwater cleanup at SSFL, submitted a letter to NASA requesting support for their proposal to designate the Santa Susana Field Laboratory property a National Monument under the Antiquities Act of 1906. While decisions about National Monument designation are outside of NASA’s authority, NASA recognizes the importance of the unique features such as Burro Flats Cave and sacred sites of the property at SSFL. In a response letter to the Chumash from Administrator Charles Bolden, NASA agreed to contact the appropriate Federal agencies and departments with expertise in the National Monument designation process to share the Chumash proposal.

Additionally, NASA agreed to defer demolition of historic test stands, including those within the Coca Test Area, for as long as possible without impacting overall cleanup responsibilities, in order to allow appropriate offices within the Executive Branch to consider the proposal. NASA will continue ongoing demolition work to remove aboveground and subsurface structures, utility poles, piping, water and storage tanks, concrete and roadways in the Service Area and Delta Test Area, where there are no test stand structures, followed by the Skyline Area and Storable Propellant Area (SPA). NASA remains committed to meeting its cleanup obligations at SSFL and to achieving a cleanup that is protective of public health and the environment.

SSFL FieldNOTE – May 2015

May 01, 2015

This FieldNOTE newsletter describes NASA's progress on the demolition projects. In early February, NASA and demolition partners - the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and demolition contractor Bhate Environmental Associates – began demolition work in the northern part of Area II in the Service Area and the Delta Test Area.

NASA Continues to Make Headway on Demolition Work

April 8, 2015

Pre-demolition activities, such as asbestos abatement inside buildings, are nearing completion and full demolition activities will begin in the coming weeks. As these activities progress over time, we anticipate an increase in the number of trucks traveling to and from the SSFL site to transport demolition debris, which will consist primarily of steel and concrete.

We recognize community concerns about truck traffic and we are making efforts to minimize impacts to the extent possible. NASA’s top priority for demolition is the health and safety of workers, the public, and the environment. Dust control measures will be taken during demolition activities and while materials are loaded into trucks for transport. These measures will be strictly enforced. Transported material will be securely covered and trucks will be required to undergo inspection prior to leaving SSFL property.

More information about demolition activities can be found in the FieldNOTES Newsletter that NASA published in November 2014. Regular updates on demolition will be posted on this website.

For questions or concerns please contact:

Lori Manes
NASA SSFL Community Outreach Coordinator
Phone: (818) 806-8834

NASA Announces New SSFL Communications E-List

March 12, 2015

NASA has created a mailing list to which you can subscribe and receive E-mail updates about NASA cleanup activities and progress at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory. Updates will include notifications about project events, announce updates to the NASA SSFL website, including news and the posting of new documents. Subscribe now External site icon and stay connected!

NASA Announces SSFL Oral History Project

March 18, 2015

In an effort to document the history of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) and its important role in the national space flight program, NASA is compiling an SSFL oral history archive. NASA is looking for former NASA SSFL personnel to seek potential interviewees who will share their experiences working at the site. If you worked in NASA test areas and are interested in being interviewed for this project, please contact Lori Manes, NASA Community Outreach Coordinator, by phone at (818) 806-8834 or email for more information.

The audio/video archive will be posted to NASA’s history website as well as this website at the end of 2015.

HAER Fly-though Animation of Test Stand Areas at SSFL

February 09, 2015

The Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) has been undertaking a project to record the extant structures of test areas at SSFL to document the most intense research and development era of rocket propulsion in our nation. Some of the major rocket engine programs that used these areas for testing include the Redstone, Atlas and Jupiter engines, the predecessor to the Saturn V’s F-1 engine, the E-1, components of the F-1 engine, the upper stage engines for the Saturn V, the J-2 and the testing and development of the Space Shuttle Main Engine. HAER produced fly-through animations of Coca and Bravo Test Areas, captured with high-definition lasers—are now available for viewing at the links below.

Fly-through Animations

NASA Announces New Community Outreach Coordinator for SSFL

January 16, 2015

In November 2014, NASA welcomed Lori Manes as the SSFL community outreach coordinator. Lori joins the SSFL team after several years in community involvement work with NASA at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. You can contact Lori by email at or by phone at (818) 806-8834.

NASA Releases 2014 Year in Review

January 9, 2015

The 2014 Year in Review summarizes the activities and progress made in the last year toward cleanup of NASA-administered areas of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL). NASA remains committed to keeping the community and interested stakeholders updated and we look forward to another active year of cleanup in 2015.

NASA SSFL News Archive

The SSFL News Archive provides access to older news items.

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