SpaceX signs agreement with Stennis Space Center

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Another engine rocket testing program is coming to NASA's Stennis Space Center in Hancock County.

SpaceX is a commercial spaceflight company. They plan to upgrade the E-2 test stand at Stennis with methane capability. SpaceX hopes to start the initial testing of their Raptor methane rocket engines in early 2014.

"This agreement marks our continued commitment to our nation's space program and ongoing efforts to bring new opportunities to Stennis Space Center and the state of Mississippi," Gov. Phil Bryant said Wednesday. "This project would not have been possible had it not been for the efforts of the Mississippi Development Authority, who was key in facilitating this partnership between SpaceX and Stennis."

SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said the company is looking forward to a long term relationship with the center and the state of Mississippi.

MDA is providing assistance, along with Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission, for improvements to the E-2 test stand at the NASA site.

"A robust test infrastructure is important to ensuring future astronauts will be as safe as possible when they climb aboard the next generation of rockets," Senator Thad Cochran said. "Stronger testing saves money in the long run, and there's no better place in the world to test rocket engines than Hancock County, Mississippi."

The John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County 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.

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