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Senators Recognize Contributions of Stennis Space Center to Gulf Coast

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Senate Resolution Commemorates 50th Anniversary of Space Center Founding

U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), and David Vitter (R-La.) on Wednesday introduced a resolution honoring the 50th anniversary of the John C. Stennis Space Center. The resolution, S.Res.207, recognizes Stennis Space Center's economic impact to the Gulf Coast region.

On October 25, 1961, NASA formerly announced plans to establish a testing facility in Hancock County. Today, Stennis employs more than 5,000 and is home to approximately 30 federal, state, academic, and private organizations.

"Stennis has played an integral role in making America a leader in aerospace technology and space exploration," said Wicker. "What began as a test facility for the Apollo program has become a vibrant federal city of economic growth. For 50 years, countless men and women have contributed to Stennis' outstanding legacy and continue to inspire America's next generation of scientists and engineers."

"Our resolution allows the Senate and the nation to celebrate the golden anniversary of the Stennis Space Center, its remarkable achievements in the U.S. space program and its growth into a "Federal City' with broad public and private scientific assets. These strengths bode well for its continued and leading role in improving America's national security, technological advances and future in space," Cochran said. "I am proud that Mississippi is home for this remarkable facility."

"The hard-working experts at Stennis are dedicated to continuing NASA's success as the space mission transforms," Sen. Landrieu said. "Looking forward at NASA's future missions, I am encouraged by the critical role Stennis and the Michoud Assembly Facility will play in the development and testing of the Space Launch System. That innovative public/private partnership makes Stennis a prominent focal point for science excellence for our region and the nation."

"On behalf of the Stennis-Michoud Aerospace Corridor Alliance I helped create with economic development agencies in Louisiana and Mississippi in 2008, I want to congratulate Stennis and its employees on their 50th anniversary," Vitter said. "The economic development centered on the unique capacities at Stennis and Michoud that has benefited the region cannot be understated."

The following is the text of the resolution:


Honoring the men and women of the John C. Stennis Space Center on reaching the historic milestone of 50 years of rocket engine testing.

Whereas, 50 years ago this month, on October 25, 1961, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (referred to in this preamble as ""NASA'') publicly announced plans to establish a testing facility in Hancock County, Mississippi, for the purpose of flight-certifying all first and second stages of the Saturn V rocket for the Apollo lunar landing program that would take humans to the Moon;

Whereas the testing facility was renamed the John C. Stennis Space Center (referred to in this preamble as the "Stennis Space Center") in 1988 in honor of United States Senator John C. Stennis of Mississippi;

Whereas the Stennis Space Center conducted 45 engine tests for the Apollo program;

Whereas the Stennis Space Center is now home to the largest rocket engine test complex in the United States and serves as the premier rocket-propulsion testing facility in the United States, providing propulsion test services for NASA, the Department of Defense, and commercial providers;

Whereas NASA has celebrated the end of a successful Space Shuttle program, having conducted more than 2,000 total space shuttle main engine tests and certified 54 flight engines at the Stennis Space Center;

Whereas, as NASA enters a new era in space exploration, the Stennis Space Center will continue to play a vital role in the United States space program and commercial space efforts;

Whereas the Stennis Space Center has grown into a unique Federal city that includes more than 30 Federal, State, academic, and private organizations, and numerous technology-based companies;

Whereas the companies and agencies at the Stennis Space Center share the cost of operating and maintaining the facility, making the accomplishment of missions by each entity more cost-effective;

Whereas the Stennis Space Center is home to--
(1) the United States Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, which includes the largest concentration of oceanographers in the world;
(2) the most powerful supercomputer of the United States Navy; and
(3) the National Center for Critical Information Processing and Storage, which is facilitating the data center consolidation efforts by the Department of Homeland Security;

Whereas the Stennis Space Center played a critical role during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill by providing unique resources and expertise on the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem
to predict the spread and impact of the spill;

Whereas the Stennis Space Center is an economic engine for Mississippi and Louisiana, generating--
(1) approximately 5,400 jobs;
(2) a direct global economic impact of $875,000,000; and
(3) a direct economic impact of $616,000,000 within a 50-mile radius; and

Whereas the Stennis Space Center is committed to continuing in the role of inspiring the next generation of United States scientists, engineers, and professionals: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--
(1) congratulates the National Aeronautics and Space Administration on reaching the historic milestone of the 50th anniversary of the John C. Stennis Space Center; and
(2) honors the men and women who worked tirelessly to design, build, and test the rocket engines used in the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs in order to promote science, engineering, innovation, and exploration to the benefit of the United States and all humankind.

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