Visit to Stennis is one to remember

Published 7:00 am Saturday, October 21, 2017

Yesterday I made my way to Stennis Space Center to witness my first engine test. The whole event just blew my mind.

To begin with, I had no idea that there was a space center in the state of Mississippi. The only ones I had heard of before were in Cape Canaveral, Florida and Houston, Texas.

Once I arrived at the open house, I sat down for a minute and listened to the guest speakers. Some of the facts they shared were hard to believe.

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According to Stennis Space Center Director Rick Gilbrech, Stennis is home to over 40 companies, which employs over 5,000 individuals. Also, Stennis is an important place where research and testing in technology occurs. The cost to replace it is estimated to be over $2 billion.

Like many people in attendance, I never witnessed a rocket launch, much less an engine test. I have seen videos of them online, but it’s not the same experience.

After the last of the guest speakers came down from the podium, there was a break of about 20 minutes until the engine test started, allowing me to interact with attendees. I quickly discovered that people from all over the southeast came to see the event.

During the engine test, I was surprised to see how they allowed everyone to be within a mile or so of the test stand, but I was excited to get such a good view of the event and even though the engine test lasted over eight and a half minutes, it certainly did not feel like it.

I left Stennis with a positive experience and I certainly think that everyone should witness an engine test at least once in their lifetime.

It’s an event for people of all ages and even though I didn’t get to tour the entire facility, I hope to be able to go back sometime soon so I can get a view of everything that Stennis has to offer.