We’ve seen much of the journey to NASA’s first Artemis mission take place at Stennis Space Center and Michoud Assembly Facility in Mississippi and Louisiana, respectively. This week we get to see the first piece of SLS hardware begin stacking at Kennedy Space Center in Florida ahead of the big launch around the Moon next year.
Stennis Space Center Stories November 20
Stennis Space Center Stories October 13
October 5: Six of eight steps have been completed. NASA plans to conduct the final step, an 8-minute long hot fire test, in November.
October 13: Boeing is tentatively planning the hot fire test for November 14.
Just north of Interstate I-10 along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi is a gigantic, orange core stage that will soon be used to send NASA’s most powerful rocket ever to the Moon. The 212-foot-tall core stage of Space Launch System, the vehicle for Artemis lunar missions starting next year, is currently hoisted up on the red, white, and meatball’d B-2 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center.
Engineers at the space center in south Mississippi are responsible for ensuring that the giant fuel tank and RS-25 engines are ready for action before being transferred to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Steps range from testing flight electronics to loading and draining 350 tons of rocket fuel.
The ultimate step in the Green Run test is to fire up the four Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-25 engines fueled by the core stage. The static fire test will occur for up to eight minutes, creating a thunderous roar as the SLS core stage is held down by the B-2 Test Stand. Make no mistake: This engine test fire will be epic.
So how far along is NASA’s Green Run test for the Space Launch System core stage? Follow along here as NASA completes each step of the Green Run test:
Stennis Space Center Stories September 14
NASA has closed its space center in Mississippi and secured a critical piece of Moon-bound rocket hardware ahead of Hurricane Sally’s impact on the Gulf Coast this week. Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi is home to the B-2 Test Stand where NASA engineers have been busy testing the rocket core stage for Space Launch System.
Hurricane Sally is expected to make landfall as a Category 2 hurricane (96-110 mph wind speeds) Tuesday night before weakening to a tropical storm on Wednesday. The current trajectory shows Stennis Space Center directly in the storm’s path.
Stennis Space Center Stories July 16
In a moment when the nation is rethinking how we memorialize historical figures who represent different values than our society today, an important NASA facility located in Mississippi is receiving national attention over its name.
Stennis Space Center is a NASA engine test facility located just north of Interstate I-10 in Hancock County, Mississippi. The NASA site is 39 miles east of NASA’s neighboring Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana. It’s not uncommon for engineers and project managers from nearby Slidell, Louisiana, to work at the Mississippi test facility.
The NASA site takes its name from the late Senator John Cornelius Stennis, a celebrated U.S. senator from Mississippi who served in Congress for over 41 years. Mr. Stennis can be described as a proponent of racial segregation based on the senator’s statements and voting record on civil rights policy while in office.
The issue of Stennis Space Center’s name has since been raised to NASA leadership. Today, the possibility of a new name is considered possible, but opposition from statewide and national leadership could be a roadblock.
Stennis Space Center Stories May 14
Work on Space Launch System, NASA’s heavy lift rocket designed to return astronauts to the Moon, was chugging along through March before COVID-19 closed down the country.
Starting this week, NASA says Stennis Space Center in Mississippi will start again on the Core Stage for SLS ahead of the Green Run test later this fall.
Stennis Space Center Stories March 3
Eric Berger has published a new profile of the rocket startup Relativity Space for Ars Technica, including new reporting on the company’s activity at Stennis Space Center.
Relativity Space is on a mission to launch rockets assembled through automation and 3D printed components. The company is currently developing its 3D printed Aeon engine and Terran 1 launch vehicle that it plans to fly as soon as 2021.
Relativity Space operates three Stennis test facilities (E-4, E-3, and now E-2) as well as the Stennis Factory it secured last summer. In the piece, the company discloses their expanded presence in Mississippi for the first time.
Stennis Space Center Stories February 21
Our footage of the Core Stage of NASA’s Space Launch System on the B-2 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center gives you an idea of the scale of the tank, and the commentary from Maurie Vander and Barry Robinson is even more insightful.
Vander is Chief of Operations Division of NASA’s Engineering & Test Directorate, and Robinson is the SLS Core Stage Test Project Manager.
Stennis Space Center Stories February 19
This giant orange thing is the core stage of NASA’s Space Launch System, a super heavy-lift launch vehicle currently being built and tested, before it takes flight on the Artemis I mission.
A future version of this hardware will be used to take the first woman and next man to the Moon during this decade as part of a long-term strategy to eventually reach Mars.
Before that, NASA will conduct an uncrewed test flight of Space Launch System to send the Orion spacecraft around the Moon. This giant orange rocket is the exact hardware that will be used for Artemis I, formerly called Exploration Mission-1, as early as later this year: