Stennis Space Center marks NASA Day at the Capitol

Published 11:35 pm Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Representatives from NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center visited Jackson on Thursday, Feb. 19, to meet with state legislators as part of NASA Day at the Capitol in Mississippi.

Astronaut Rex Walheim, a veteran of two space shuttle missions and five spacewalks, joined Stennis Space Center representatives in thanking Mississippi legislators for their continued support of NASA. Highlighted during the event was the important role of Stennis in the past, present and future of America’s space program, and its positive effect on Mississippi’s economy and quality of life.

Since it was established in the 1960s, Stennis has been responsible for testing all the engines used in manned Apollo space flights, as well as the engines used in more than 120 space shuttle missions. The center now is preparing to test the new J-2X engines that will help power the Ares I and Ares V rockets being built to carry humans back to the moon and possibly beyond as part of NASA’s Constellation Program.

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For Mississippi legislators, Stennis displayed exhibits in the Rotunda, highlighting the center’s role in the future of space exploration. Models of the Ares I and Ares V rockets also were displayed.

“These are exciting days for NASA and Stennis Space Center,” Stennis director Gene Goldman said. “Stennis engineers already have provided important testing data for development of the new rocket engine that will carry humans back to the moon. They also are constructing a new test stand to perform high-altitude testing once the engine is completed. These efforts are fundamental in helping prepare for the future of America’s space program, and are indicative of the vital role Stennis will continue to play in space travel.”

Stennis is a unique federal city that is home to NASA and more than 30 federal, state andprivate sector agencies, including the U.S. Navy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA’s Shared Services Center, which provides all of the agency’s financial, procurement, human resources, customer contact and administrative processing services.

During the Feb. 19 capitol visit, Stennis representatives provided an exhibit that highlighted past and present construction projects made possible by funding from the state of Mississippi, including the NSSC facility that opened in 2008 and the state-of-the-art INFINITY Space Center project that broke ground last fall.

“The state of Mississippi has been a staunch supporter of Stennis Space Center since it was established almost five decades ago, and that support remains as strong today as ever,” Goldman said.

For more information about Stennis Space Center and its economic importance to the region, visit: