Stennis Space Center
All great endeavors begin with vision, a look upward and beyond. But vision is incomplete without realization. Humans walking on the moon, for example. That was only a dream until the blazing power of the mighty Saturn V rocket launched the Apollo program past the bounds of known world.
Founded in the early 1960s and tasked with flight-certifying the critical first and second stages of the fabled Saturn V, the John C. Stennis Space Center has been realizing humankind’s highest visions for more than half a century, skillfully transitioning through the Apollo program and the long-running shuttle program, and now serving as a vital resource in both public and private exploration endeavors. One such endeavor is Space X’s planned colonization of Mars with craft powered by the Raptor methane rocket engine now being tested at Stennis.
From the Moon to Mars, a continuum of excellence: Stennis’ remarkable continuum of service is the result of both stability and innovation, of far-sighted and strategic adaptation. Today, the facilities of this one-of-kind governmental and commercial city host more than 30 resident agencies, employing some 5,000 employees in work that ranges across multiple and diverse disciplines, from geospatial and earth sciences to large data centers to satellite and rocket assembly to jet engine testing.
As home to NASA’s Rocket Propulsion Test Program, Stennis Space Center manages all of the agency’s propulsion test facilities, while providing propulsion test services for NASA’s new Space Launch System program, Department of Defense projects, as well as for private sector pioneers, testing not only the Raptor but also engines that power the Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft on commercial cargo transport flights to the International Space Station.
Preserving the planet: Even as the Stennis Space Center supports planetary expeditions, it is helping preserve and sustain our own planet, as home to the headquarters of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, the largest concentration of oceanographers in the world. The Naval Research Laboratory, the Navy’s corporate laboratory is also headquartered here.
Propelling economic growth: Technology transfer through NASA’s Innovative Partnership Program has positioned Stennis as a national asset in promoting economic growth and development through spinoff technologies and private enterprise collaboration. In fact, Stennis Space Center is an exemplar of governmental efficiency, yielding impressive results for taxpayers.
For Hancock’s regional economy, Stennis has been a robust source of growth and revenue. Calculations show that in a mere 50-mile radius, Stennis provides a direct annual economic impact of $654 million. Drawing a knowledgeable and skilled workforce to the region and with the Infinity Center serving as a powerful educational asset, Stennis is assuring the future of Hancock County.
Here, around the world, around the galaxy, the simple statistics are impressive: $654 million economic impact, 5,000 jobs—21,000 earth orbits and more than 537 million miles of the shuttle program—but the strength of the Stennis Space Center contribution to Hancock County goes far beyond the numbers.