STENNIS SPACE CENTER, MS (WLOX) - NASA Administrator Charles Bolden delivered his State of NASA address Monday afternoon. Speaking on NASA close circuit television he told workers employed at NASA facilities all over the nation, including those at Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, the state of the federal agency is very sound.
Bolden's address also included a special shout out for Stennis workers.
"Nothing goes to space until it goes through Mississippi," Bolden said. "So if you were waiting for me to say that, I said it. Everybody in Mississippi understands that. Folks here, you may not. But if it has an engine on it, nothing goes to space without going through Mississippi."
Workers at Stennis beamed with pride as the NASA Administrator singled out the Hancock County space center, repeating the words of its motto.
"Every American astronaut that has flown on an American rocket to date, those engines were tested at Stennis. We're going to continue that rich heritage with the testing of the RS-25," explained Stennis Deputy Director Jerry Cook.
The B-2 test stand is where the RS-25 engine will be tested. The B-2 stand stand was originally used in the 1960s during the Apollo days.
B-2 sat dormant for 15 years before the restoration and modification work started.
"It had a lot of rust to deal with, you can put it that way," said Rick Rauch, Stennis B-2 Project Manager.
B-2 will test several engines at once for the Space Launch System. Those are the engines that will rocket manned and unmanned spacecraft to Mars and beyond. Construction work is expected to be finished in 2017.
Rauch said, "This is a beefy structure as you can see."
The NASA Administrator said the agency is pushing forward with its ambitious plan to take man to Mars and possibly Jupiter. He said the $18.5 billion budget President Obama has proposed for NASA next year will allow the space agency to continue the projects needed to accomplish NASA's goals.
As the proposal stands now, Stennis would receive approximately $143 million of the $18.5 billion.