HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Those involved with sending Americans back in space are counting down the days until the Space Launch System Core Stage is tested at Stennis Space Center.
"The late nights, dogged persistence of NASA employees, is the mold unto which history is poured,” said Jim Bridenstine, NASA chief administrator.
And right now, the base of that mold is Stennis, where engines will once again send Americans back into space, taking them to the moon and, eventually, Mars. For now, those rocket engines are undergoing testing, just like during the days of Apollo and the Space Shuttle.
“Our folks have been working for six hard years to get this test stand ready for this test,” said Stennis Space Center director Richard Gilbrech. "This will be my first multi-engine hardware test, and I’ve been here for 28 years. So if the excitement doesn’t show through, you’re missing something.”
In fact, the only thing missing at the historic B2 test stand is the fire and smoke from the four RS-25 engines, which will produce two million pounds of thrust. That show is set to take place sometime this summer.
"The excitement and anticipation of receiving this test article puts us at another level,” said Barry Robinson, engineering project director. “We have people that live in the local area that are working on the space program or know someone working in the program.”
It’s a program that’s helping NASA launch rockets and shine the agency’s light on South Mississippi.
As for as economic development’s concerned, Stennis and its federal city partners generated $583 million for the local economy in 2018 and $875 million globally.