NASA Contractor Donates Half Million To Stennis Welcome Center - - The News for South Mississippi

NASA Contractor Donates Half Million To Stennis Welcome Center

HANCOCK COUNTY (WLOX) -- Before they ever go into space, the engines that get us there first stop in Hancock County for testing. But very few who pass by the exit to NASA's Stennis Space Center ever know that fact.  

"We have these thousands of people that travel I-10 every day and enter Mississippi, and really don't know what's in Mississippi and how much we're involved in cutting edge technology," former Stennis Director Roy Estess said. 

But Estess says INFINITY will change all that.  

"INFINITY is a way to tell the public what's going on in Mississippi. It's also a way to educate and excite young people on the science associated with what's going on in Mississippi."

The planned $42 million, state-of-the-art science and visitors center is designed to shed more light on work NASA does in Hancock County. And the company that builds those powerful rocket and jet engines wants to be a part of that exciting story.  

"We basically build and test rockets here," said Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne President Jim Maser. "Hancock County, Mississippi is the gateway to space. Everything comes through here before they go to space, and INFINITY is going to showcase that."

NASA Contractor Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne is donating half a million dollars to what developers hope will be South Mississippi's hottest new tourist attraction, right on the Mississippi-Louisiana state line.  

"It will be right on the Interstate," says Estess. "It will have a restaurant. You'll be able to stop there and go into the Mississippi Welcome Center, or right next door will be INFINITY Science Center."

The center is set to open in 2010.

by Don Culpepper

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