The History of the Johnsville Centrifuge
The museum is dedicated to preserving the history of Johnsville Centrifuge and its contribution to the US Space Program as well as the memory of the Naval Air Development Center (NADC), Johnsville where the US Navy’s research laboratories helped win the Cold War.
NADC began as farmland acquired by the Brewster Aircraft Company in 1939. By 1941 a factory was in operation on the site building their legacy Buffalo Fighters and Buccaneer Dive Bombers intended for use by the Navy during WWII. The Navy later seized operation of the company after Brewster experienced difficulties with production. When problems continued, the Navy acquired the property outright and converted it for use by the Naval Aircraft Modification Unit (NAMU) a division of the Naval Aircraft Factory.
When the war ended the production shops were converted to research laboratories studying pilotless aircraft, electronics, and weapons, and the Naval Air Development Station Johnsville (NADS) was born.
Over the ensuing years, changes in association with addition of new missions resulted in renaming the site to the Naval Air Development Center (NADC) Johnsville and eventually to the Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) Warminster. More than 31 laboratories would call Warminster home including those studying navigation, submarine detection, aerospace materials, aircraft structures, pilot’s equipment, computers, airborne photography and aircraft instrumentation, etc…
Construction of the human centrifuge building began in 1947 was complete by 1949 and initiated operations to research the limits of human tolerance for “G” forces. By the late 1950s it was in use to train astronauts for the US Space Program. It continued to operate for a variety of projects under Navy control until 1996 then under contract until 2004 when operations ceased altogether.
The museum was formally created in July 2008 with the establishment of The Johnsville Centrifuge and Science Museum Inc. (a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization) to provide governance, funding and oversight.
ATTENTION FORMER JOHNSVILLE SERVICEMEMBERS, EMPLOYEES AND CONTRACTORS: If you worked at Johnsville or Brewster Aircraft or were associated with those facilities in any way, we want to hear your stories. You may contact us at email@example.com to help us to preserve the tradition of innovation by sharing your memories with future generations.