Hancock County, MS | P.O. Box 2267 Bay St. Louis, MS 39521 | 706 Highway 90 | Waveland, Mississippi 39576 | Toll Free: 800.558.1658  | Phone: 228.467.9231 | Fax: 228.467.9341
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Restricted air space over Stennis Space Center expanded

May 5, 2016

The Federal Aviation Administration has approved the expansion of the restricted area over Stennis Space Center to meet new mission requirements for NASA and its tenant agencies.

New navigation charts will be available May 26, the day the new rules take effect.

The restricted air space was introduced in early 1960s when the NASA facility in Hancock County was being developed to test the Apollo Saturn V rockets.

“The area was quite small and its intent was to protect the ground facility from aviation activity,” said Freddie Douglas, NASA’s director of safety and mission assurance.

Expanding the air space over Stennis has been discussed since around 2009.

“We were going to be testing some new propulsion systems and we looked at modifying the facilities, including air space,” Douglas said.

The expanded area is spread out over five sections totaling approximately 100 square miles between Stennis International Airport and the Picayune airport.

Three of the restricted areas are for Department of Defense requirements and two are for NASA’s propulsion testing. The space agency schedules the restricted use of all five areas.

Douglas said Naval Space Warfare personnel fly unmanned vehicles as well as others including Mississippi State University and NOAA at SSC. The UAV flights are for research and development purposes and for training by DoD organizations including the Navy and Air Force. Training includes firing lasers from the air to the ground.

“The idea for the restricted air space is to ensure that we can continue to do propulsion testing in the future and also we want to make sure the folks here are afforded the opportunity to achieve their mission success,” Douglas said.

#Military, #Stennis Space Center

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