From the Executive Director: NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center is Hancock County’s advantage

April 30, 2015

More than 50 years ago, on May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy strode up to the podium to deliver a historic speech before a joint session of Congress that would set the nation's collective sights on conquering the frontiers of space. In his speech, President Kennedy called for an ambitious space exploration program that would develop rockets to take astronauts to the moon and beyond. Just over eight years after his speech, NASA's Apollo 11 mission ushered in a new era of humanity, as astronauts departed the lunar lander and took the first steps on an alien world.

I often find myself wondering what it must have been like to sit glued to the television set, watching as Neil Armstrong took those first steps into a new future. Though I wasn't born at the time of the moon landing, I take great satisfaction in the realization that I will likely someday be able to sit in front of the television with my daughter, watching as a new generation experiences the historic moment when man takes the first steps on the surface of Mars.

Perhaps more importantly, I take great pride in knowing that they'll likely have to come through Hancock County to get there.

For more than 50 years, NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center has served as Hancock County's chief competitive advantage, providing a platform for aerospace-related development that spans the gamut from primary rocket propulsion testing to development of high tech aerospace components. First developed in the 1960s, Stennis Space Center was at the forefront of developing the propulsion systems that would eventually take man to the moon. Today, it serves as home to thousands of men and women who are developing the technology and tools necessary to propel us into the future of space exploration.

This month, we dedicate our newsletter to the tremendous asset that is Stennis Space Center and examine its regional economic impact, along with featuring articles about two companies that are using the center to help propel their global business growth. One such company, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, better known as SpaceX, is celebrating their one-year anniversary in Hancock County, where they are successfully developing the engine components that will likely propel the first manned mission to Mars.

The ribbon cutting for SpaceX in April 2014 was only the beginning, and we are working hard every day to ensure that the companies who will usher in the next generation of space exploration know that they have a home in Hancock County.  On behalf of our entire team, we thank all of you for your continuing efforts to make Hancock County the premier place to do business in South Mississippi. We look forward to our ongoing partnership with you as we take Hancock County to new economic horizons and beyond. 


Ashley Edwards


#Manufacturing, #Stennis Space Center, #Success Story, #Workforce