Stennis Space Center, NASA make huge strides in 2021

Top leaders from NASA shared their vision for the future of space exploration on the Coast earlier this month.
Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 3:40 PM CST
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - NASA’s top leaders viewed the Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi earlier this month, where a Space Launch System is being built. It’s the most powerful rocket in the world, designed to power Artemis missions to the moon and eventual flights to Mars.

“That’s just one example of how Stennis is such a national asset,” said NASA Administrator Sen. Bill Nelson.

The SLS is destined to be the backbone of NASA’s Artemis.

Prior to its initial launch, the first SLS core stage underwent a series of Green Run tests of its systems, including a final hot fire of the stage’s four RS-25 engines, similar to an actual flight. It was the most powerful test conducted at Stennis in more than 40 years.

“This is an exciting point in our nation’s history and a lot of it is happening right here,” Nelson said.

2021 was a year of testing innovation at Stennis as NASA continued evaluating RS-25 engines to help power SLS.

Operators conducted a series of seven hot fire tests in the last 12 months to collect valuable performance data as Aerojet Rocketdyne works to develop RS-25 engines for future Artemis missions to the moon and eventual missions to Mars.

“NASA itself has evolved and changed,” said NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy. “And the things that we’re working on are going to set us up for a blueprint for how we’re going to send humans, not just to the moon, but to Mars and who knows just what that next destination is going to be.”

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