SpaceX Cuts Ribbon on Rocket Engine Testing Program

April 21, 2014

Stennis Space Center, Miss. (April 21, 2014) — Gov. Phil Bryant and officials from commercial spaceflight company SpaceX cut the ribbon today on the company’s rocket engine testing program at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Hancock County. SpaceX announced in October 2013 it would bring initial testing of its Raptor methane rocket engines to the facility.

The SpaceX Raptor engine development program represents the latest in propulsion technology and will produce the largest methane/LOX engines in U.S. history. Raptor engine components will be tested at the E-2 test stand at Stennis, which SpaceX upgraded with methane capability under an engine testing agreement. The stand is now one of the most sophisticated high-pressure testing facilities in the world. It is capable of supporting many potential users and will remain the property of Stennis Space Center for future government and commercial use as needed.

“Stennis Space Center is one of Mississippi’s greatest assets, and I am proud SpaceX is now utilizing the facility and its tremendous capabilities to test its advanced Raptor rocket engines,” Gov. Bryant said. “For years, Stennis has been successfully testing rocket engines for both the government and private sectors, and today’s ribbon cutting is another great example of leaders at all levels working in collaboration with the team at Stennis to recruit high-tech aerospace companies like SpaceX to the state. I congratulate SpaceX on this milestone occasion.”

“SpaceX is proud to bring the Raptor testing program to NASA’s Stennis Space Center and the great state of Mississippi,” said Gwynne Shotwell, president and COO of SpaceX. “In partnership with NASA, SpaceX has helped create one of the most advanced engine testing facilities in the world, and we look forward to putting the stand to good use.”

The Mississippi Development Authority provided assistance in support of the project for improvements to the E-2 test stand. The Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission provided assistance, as well.

“Mississippi has a long, rich history in the aerospace industry. Today, SpaceX further strengthens the state’s position as an industry leader in the global aerospace sector and demonstrates to the world that Stennis is an ideal location for aerospace companies with sophisticated research and development needs ,” MDA Executive Director Brent Christensen said. “MDA is glad to have been a part of this project, and we appreciate our partners at the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission and at Stennis Space Center for helping us bring this great company to Mississippi.”

For more than four decades, John. C. Stennis Space Center in south Mississippi has served as NASA’s primary rocket propulsion testing ground. Today, the center provides propulsion test services for NASA and the Department of Defense, as well as the private sector. It is home to NASA’s Rocket Propulsion Test Program, which manages all of the agency’s propulsion test facilities. For more information, please visit

To learn more about SpaceX, please visit

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