Quick viewing(Text Mode)

NASA Facts Stennis @ 60

NASA Facts Stennis @ 60

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Stennis @ 60 60 Facts Spanning 60 Years

Stennis conducts its first test of an RS-25 engine – to help power NASA’s rocket – on the A-1 Test Stand on Jan. 9, 2015.

On Oct. 25, 2021, NASA’s Stennis Space Center marks the 60th anniversary of the agency’s NASA facts announcement to build a propulsion test site in south Mississippi. The following 60 fun facts offer a glimpse of the historic site that has powered the nation’s space dreams for six decades and counting.

Historical Facts l NASA publicly announced plans to open a rocket l Tree-cutting for construction of test facilities at engine test facility in Hancock County in south Stennis began May 17, 1963. Mississippi on Oct. 25, 1961. l During construction at Stennis in the 1960s, some l Construction of Stennis Space Center facilities 6,100 employees were onsite with 30 prime and necessitated the relocation of 660 families. 250 subcontractor companies. l In an area meeting after NASA announced plans l Workers endured snakes, mosquito infestations, to build a test site in Mississippi, then-U.S. Sen. and inclement weather in constructing Stennis. John C. Stennis told a gathering of area residents, Category 4 Hurricane Betsy hit the Gulf Coast “There is always the thorn before the rose. ... You area on Sept. 10, 1965, but failed to derail the have got to make some sacrifices, but you will be building project, one of the largest underway in the taking part in greatness.” U.S. at the time. l Early on, rocket scientist Dr. Wernher von Braun affirmed the 30 percent of site employees reside in Louisiana, primarily in St. importance of Stennis by stating, “I don’t know yet what method Tammany Parish. we will use to get to the Moon, but I do know that we have to go l In 2012, Stennis partnered with a community foundation to open through Mississippi to get there!” nearby INFINITY Science Center. The 72,000-square-foot facility l NASA first named its propulsion test facility as Mississippi Test serves as the center’s official visitors center and features a mix Operations, then National Space Technology Laboratories. It was of exhibits and activities, allowing guests to explore Earth and designated Stennis Space Center by presidential proclamation on space through artifacts, tours, memorable experiences, educational May 20, 1988. programs, and citizen science opportunities.

l In 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration expanded the Stennis Space Center restricted airspace at Stennis, enabling the site to perform l Stennis features a seven-and-a-half-mile canal network, which propulsion testing safely and allowing Stennis tenants to includes a lock system that effectively and efficiently allows transport of large conduct military exercises. rocket stages and cryogenic l NASA consistently ranks barges from the Gulf of as the best place to work in Mexico to on-site locations via the federal government, with the Pearl River. Stennis ranked at or near the l All Stennis facilities are top among the agency’s 10 located within a federal- individual centers. owned 13,800-acre “fee” area. The area is surrounded by a Propulsion Testing

125,000-acre acoustical buffer l Stennis is America’s largest zone, which is designated a rocket propulsion test site with national asset and allows for testing facilities valued at more large-scale test activities to be than $2 billion. conducted 365/24/7 without disturbing area residents and l NASA’s Rocket Propulsion businesses. Test Program Office is located at Stennis. The office is l In April 2008, the American responsible for managing test Institute of Aeronautics and assets, activities, and resources Astronautics named Stennis a across the agency. historic aerospace site. l The three original test stands l Stennis has been affected at Stennis are the single- by numerous tropical storm position, vertical-firing A-1 systems through its 60 years, Test Stand and A-2 Test Stand, including several major and the dual-position, vertical- hurricanes – Betsy (1965), firing B-1/B-2 Test Stand. Camille (1969), Katrina (2005) l and Zeta (2020). In 2007, Stennis broke ground for construction of the A young INFINITY Science Center visitor dreams of a space future. l Stennis serves as a major A-3 Test Stand, the first large economic engine for the test facility to be built on site Gulf Coast region. In 2020, the direct global economic impact of since construction of the original test stands in the 1960s. Stennis was $877.9 million. The direct economic impact within a l 50-mile radius of the facility was $656.6 million. The A-3 Test Stand at Stennis is the only stand in the country with the combined capabilities to conduct long-duration tests l A national center for research, military logistics, and applied on full-scale engines at simulated altitudes up to 100,000 feet, science, in 2020, Stennis spent almost 74 cents of every dollar and to gimbal, or pivot, the engines during testing as they must within a 50-mile radius from the center. operate in flight. l More than half of all Stennis employees (52 percent) hold a l A versatile E Test Complex at Stennis includes seven separate cells bachelor’s degree or greater. capable of various component, engine, and stage test activities. l Sixty-two percent of Stennis employees live in three surrounding l Stennis is among the world’s largest consumers of liquid hydrogen Mississippi counties – Hancock, Harrison and Pearl River. About – one of the primary fuels used in rocket propulsion testing. Apollo Program Space Launch System / l First and second Saturn V rocket stages for NASA’s Apollo l Stennis remains at the forefront of America’s space programs, Program were tested at Stennis, including those that propelled testing rocket stages and engines for NASA’s Space Launch humans to the Moon on seven lunar missions from 1969 to 1972. System rocket that will carry humans back to the Moon and, eventually, to Mars. l Stennis operators conducted the first-ever rocket engine test at the site on April 23, 1966, a 15-second firing of a Saturn V second l NASA’s Space Launch System will be powered at launch, in part, stage prototype (S-II-C). by four RS-25 engines. Stennis conducted the first RS-25 engine test on Jan. 9, 2015, and will test all RS-25 engines for the rocket. l During the Apollo Program years, Stennis engineers conducted 43 test firings. The accumulated experience of the test team members l Stennis is conducting both developmental and flight hardware amounted to 2,475 man-years of rocket engine test expertise. testing for RS-25 engines on the historic A-1 Test Stand. This includes testing of new cutting-edge flight components, such as l The Stennis team tested 27 3D-printed parts. Saturn V rocket stages in the Apollo years. All of the stages l A hot fire on April 4, 2019, that were launched performed concluded 51 months of their designated missions RS-25 testing on the A-1 Test without a single failure. Stand for Phase 1 of the RS- 25 engine restart program and Program completed acceptance testing of all 16 engines that will help l Stennis operators conducted launch the first four Space the first full-duration test of Launch System missions. a space shuttle main engine on June 24, 1975. The center l Green Run testing of the first went on to test all main Space Launch System core engines used to launch 135 stage was conducted on the shuttle flights from 1981 to B-2 Test Stand in 2020 and 2011. Stennis conducted its early 2021. The test series last test of a space shuttle marked the first time the new main engine on the A-2 Test core stage had been fully Stand on July 29, 2009. powered up and culminated with a hot fire of its four l In April 1978, Stennis RS-25 engines, just as during a conducted the first test of the launch. Following Green Run, space shuttle main propulsion the core stage was delivered test article with three main to for engines configured as they use on the maiden Artemis I are on a shuttle orbiter during mission. flight. All three were fired simultaneously on the B-2 Test l Stennis is preparing to test the Stand to prove the propulsion Exploration Upper Stage for NASA’s Space Launch System system flightworthy. An A-1 Test Stand camera offers close-up view of RS-25 hot fire. rocket. The Green Run testing l All modifications and of the new rocket stage is configurations of space shuttle main engines were tested and scheduled to be conducted on the B-2 Test Stand. proven flightworthy at Stennis before being flown on a mission. Partnership Testing l Space shuttle main engines at Stennis were test fired for 520 l seconds (more than eight minutes), the same time the engines fire In 1998, Stennis partnered with Aerojet to test RS-68 during an actual flight to enable the shuttle to reach orbit. engines used for Delta IV rocket launches. It marked the first longterm commitment to allow Stennis test facilities to be used l On Aug. 20, 1990, for the first time, space shuttle main engines for commercial purposes. were tested on all three large test stands at Stennis in a single day. l Stennis has worked with multiple commercial test partners to l The 1 millionth second of space shuttle main engine test firing test engines and components needed for their individual space was recorded at Stennis on Jan. 24, 2004, during a test conducted missions. These include companies such as Blue Origin, SpaceX, on the A-2 Test Stand. Launcher, and Aeon. l In 2010, Stennis Space Center partnered with Orbital Sciences l The Stennis Test Technology Branch maintains a network across Corporation to test Aerojet AJ26 rocket engines to power early Louisiana and Mississippi to help increase awareness about the commercial cargo flights to the International Space Station. benefits of NASA in everyday life, highlight the technological Testing ended in 2014, after Orbital Sciences suffered a mission contributions of Stennis, and encourage students to pursue loss and switched to a different engine. STEM careers. l In 2018, Stennis entered into its first Commercial Space Launch l Stennis is a leader in the design and deployment of autonomous Act with Relativity Space, a company focused on developing small systems for NASA. rocket launch vehicles. The company has since expanded the l The Stennis Test Technology Branch helps to patent Stennis- partnership to plan construction of an on-site production facility. developed technologies and license NASA software around the Mission Support world. l In 2010, Stennis created its first teaching curricula, focused on l The NASA Shared Services Center opened at Stennis in August teaching differences 2008 to consolidate between mass vs. procurement, weight and on human resources, Newton’s Laws information of Motion. The technology, and curricula now finance activities is electronically from across the available to teachers agency in a single around the world. central location. l As part of its Federal City STEM (science, technology, l Stennis is a model engineering and for government mathematics) efficiency. NASA efforts, Stennis and more than supports face- 50 federal, state, to-face and academic, private, virtual K-12/ and technology- Higher Education based organizations programs through pursue individual numerous missions but share avenues: Educator basic operating Professional costs to create a Development unique federal city.

workshops; l The Mississippi ® FIRST Robotics; Technology higher education Transfer Center internships and has been located fellowships; STEM at Stennis since 1987, working to help businesses increase museum events; and community school learning collaborations. productivity, improve existing products and services, develop ® new products, find needed materials and realize greater l The Stennis ASTRO CAMP program is designed to support competitiveness. K-12 STEM programs by helping organizations, universities,

museums, schools, and libraries to inspire and engage students l Since 1998, the U.S. Navy has conducted training for the Special in STEM content. Through community partnerships, the camp Boat Team TWENTY-TWO special operations riverine force on serves thousands of students across multiple states. waterways at Stennis. l Stennis hosts various outreach events, museum visits, student l Stennis is home to the largest concentration of oceanographers in programs, community activities, Speakers Bureau presentations, the world. and an annual Girls Excited about Math and Science gathering. l Five schools operate a center of higher learning at Stennis – l Stennis has a solid social media presence, counting more than Mississippi State University, Pearl River Community College, 280,600 combined followers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, the University of New Orleans, the University of Southern and YouTube. Mississippi and the University of Mississippi.