Monday, December 4, 2017

SSC seeks partner to develop park

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- NASA has opened a search for a non-federal partner to lead in development of a 1,100-acre technology corridor called Enterprise Park at Stennis Space Center (SSC) near Bay St. Louis, Miss. An official Notice of Availability has been posted at, with responses due on Jan. 12, 2018. SSC has scheduled an Industry Day on Feb. 7, 2018, where interested parties can learn more about the park. The objective is to find a private or public entity to enter into a partnership with NASA to lead in the multi-phased development and long-term operation of the park at the nation’s largest rocket engine test facility. The test facilities are used by both government and commercial operations. SSC is home to more than 40 federal, state, academic and commercial entities with a combined workforce of 5,000. The Enterprise Park is designed to enable private sector participation in space exploration, to support commercial space transportation activities, to promote commercial development of technologies for use in space and on Earth, and to provide opportunities for companies and other organizations to co-locate at Stennis to support the missions of existing federal city tenants at SSC. Recent master planning efforts identified a need for a technology park area at SSC, and the first phase of the Enterprise Park focuses on 1,100 acres identified as the most development-ready. The property is located on the northern edge of the 13,800-acre secured area and includes sites both inside and outside the security perimeter. (Source: NASA/SSC, 12/04/17)

Friday, December 1, 2017

MAF simulates engine install

NEW ORLEANS -- Engineers at the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans are using a pathfinder RS-25 engine to practice the installation of engines on the Core Stage of the Space Launch System (SLS). Each core will receive four RS-25s, currently undergoing test firings at the Stennis Space Center, ahead of a path that will see them being shipped to MAF. The installation of all four R-25s on the Core Stage will be a major milestone on the path to Exploration Mission-1, the first launch of SLS. Test firings at the Stennis Space Center (SSC) continue to serve toward the readiness of that milestone, with the first four flight engines now closing in on shipping to MAF to be installed on Core State-1 (CS-1). Those engines, all Space Shuttle veterans, are E2045 in position 1, E2056 in position 2, E2058 in position 3, and E2060 in position 4. All four of these RS-25s will remain at SSC until MAF engineers have completed the work on CS-1. The latest schedule shows the four engines will make the journey to New Orleans in May of next year. (Source: NASA Spaceflight, 11/30/17)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

French group to visit SSC

The Mississippi Gulf Coast Alliance for Economic Development will host a delegation of French companies on Dec. 6. The tour of the Mississippi Gulf Coast will include a visit to Stennis Space Center, including Rolls-Royce and Lockheed Martin. The goal of this event is to connect local companies with the decision makers of the companies involved in the tour. The delegation includes companies involved in aerospace, healthcare, maritime, energy and more. For more information or to RSVP, email Tiffany Aultman of the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission by Dec. 1. (Source: Magnolia Business Alliance/EIGS, 11/29/17)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

SLS/Orion behind the scenes

WIRED magazine takes a look behind the scenes at five NASA facilities, including Michoud and Stennis Space Center, to capture how engineers build and test in preparation for the 2019 launch of the most powerful rocket ever built, NASA's Space Launch System. (Source: WIRED, December 2017)

Small Business Industry Awards announced

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- NASA’s Stennis Space Center has announced the winners for NASA 2017 Small Business Industry Awards (SBIA) for Stennis Space Center (SSC). SaiTech, Inc. has been selected as the Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year and Manufacturing Technical Solutions (MTS), Inc. has been selected as the Small Business Subcontractor of the Year. Along with being selected as SSC’s Small Business center level award winners, the firms will be considered as a candidate in the same category for the NASA-wide Small Business Industry Awards to be announced in the spring of 2018. To read about current and past Small Business Industry Award Winners, visit NASA Office Small Business of Procurement Awards and Achievements. For more information, email NASA/SSC Small Business Specialist Kay S. Doane, or call ext. 8-1720. (Source: NASA/SSC, 11/21/17)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Stratolaunch to test at SSC

Stratolaunch has signed  an agreement to test engines at NASA's Stennis Space Center, Miss., a sign the company is considering developing its own launch vehicle for its giant aircraft, according to SpaceNews. The Space Act Agreement between Stratolaunch and SSC, signed Sept. 13, covers "reimbursable testing and related support services to Stratolaunch to support propulsion, vehicle, and ground support system development and testing activities." NASA published the agreement on its website as part of a provision in a NASA authorization act signed into law this year to disclose such agreements. An annex to that agreement specifies that it involves "testing of its propulsion system test article element 1" at the E1 test stand. That facility has supported engine tests by a number of companies in the past under similar agreements that provide access to test stands there on a non-exclusive basis. Stratolaunch plans to deliver the test article to Stennis for "fit tests and checkouts" by the end of May 2018, with the test series completed by the end of 2018. Stratolaunch will pay NASA $5.1 million under the reimbursable agreement to cover costs of the test campaign, including an upfront payment of $1 million. (Source: SpaceNews, 11/15/17)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Infinity displays Apollo module

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. -- An early artifact of America's moonshot program is now on display in Mississippi. Infinity Science Center is displaying the command module from Apollo 4, an unmanned 1967 mission that successfully demonstrated the full Saturn V rocket and the capsule that would carry men to the moon. The 9-hour mission showed the rocket's third stage would restart and that the command module's heat shield would withstand re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. The command module is on long-term loan from the Smithsonian Institution's National Air & Space Museum. The display is part of a redesign of the museum's space exhibits. The Saturn V rocket was among those tested at neighboring Stennis Space Center. The 8,000-pound module was stored for five years at Stennis out of public view. (Source: multiple, including AP via WREG-TV, Jackson Free Press, 11/06/17, Sun Herald, 11/10/17)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Bridenstine supports SLS, Orion

WASHINGTON — As the Senate Commerce Committee prepares to advance his nomination as NASA administrator to the full Senate, Jim Bridenstine offered pledges of continuity for many key agency programs. In response to questions submitted for the record by several members of committee, Bridenstine said he believed the Space Launch System and Orion programs are critical to the agency’s exploration plans, as well as contributions from commercial space ventures. “SLS and Orion will serve as the backbone to our country’s Deep Space exploration architecture,” Bridenstine said in response to a question from Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., about how those programs would fit into NASA’s long-term exploration plans. He used the same language in similar questions from other senators about the future of those programs. (Source: SpaceNews, 11/07/17) Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, are both involved in the SLS/Orion program as well as commercial space activities.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

IW head tours commands

Tighe views REMUS 6000.
Navy photo
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare (IW) and Director of Naval Intelligence, Vice Adm. Jan Tighe, toured naval meteorology and oceanography commands at Stennis Space Center (SSC) Nov. 6. She toured the Glider Operations Center, which has a fleet of over 100 unmanned gliders manned 24/7 by civilian and military pilots when deployed. The tour also included a visit to the Undersea Warfare Reachback Cell and Fleet Survey Team. The Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command at SSC oversees 14 lower echelon commands, including five at SSC, including the Naval Oceanographic Office, Naval Oceanography Operations Command and Naval Oceanography Mine Warfare Center. (Source: Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, 11/06/17)

Monday, November 6, 2017

Change of command held

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - Capt. Sueann Schorr became the new commanding officer of Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Reserve Activity 0282 following a ceremony Nov. 4. She replaces Capt. Diane Boettcher, who had been in command since 2015 and is going to the Naval Information Reserve in Fort Worth, Texas. The Naval Meteorology and Reserve Activity 0282, headquartered at Stennis Space Center (SSC), oversees nine reserve units from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to Norfolk, Va., in support of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, also headquartered at SSC. The Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command directs and oversees more than 2,500 globally-distributed military and civilian personnel who collect, process and exploit environmental information to assist Fleet and Joint Commanders in all warfare areas. Before this assignment, Schorr was the commanding officer of Office of Naval Intelligence 1201. (Source: Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, 11/06/17)

Friday, November 3, 2017

SMART program leads to SSC job

Justin Tran
Photo by Sonia Fernandez
When Justin Tran leaves the University of California Santa Barbara in June, he’ll have a bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and a job waiting for him in South Mississippi. He’ll take a position at the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO) at NASA’s Stennis Space Center, thanks to the U.S. Department of Defense’s Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service program. Aimed at both undergraduate and graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, SMART provides a full scholarship: tuition and education-related expenses, an annual stipend, internship support payments and allowances for health insurance and supplies. In return, students commit to work for one of the DoD’s sponsoring facilities for the same amount of time they received the scholarship - in Tran's case, three years. He interned for two summers at NAVOCEANO, where he completed operational oceanographic intelligence projects. When he begins his full-time job at NAVOCEANO, he'll build on previous projects and learn to work on the oceanographic sensors used for littoral battlespace sensing autonomous underwater vehicles. (Source: UCSB, 11/02/17)

Thursday, November 2, 2017

NASA opportunities highlighted

MOBILE, Ala. -- Dozens of interested business representatives gathered at a NASA Business Forum that offered a chance to hear from experts involved in the business of space. Officials from Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Stennis Space Center and NASA Shared Services in South Mississippi, as well as representatives from prime contractors attended the event. The message: NASA is committed to handing out hundreds of millions of dollars to small businesses every year, either through direct contracts or as subcontractors to the primes. (Source:, 11/02/17) The forum was at the Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel. Related story, "The technology goldmine in our midst," Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor Newsletter, February 2017, p. 3-4

MAF adding tenant, jobs

NEW ORLEANS -- A new tenant is moving in and another expanding at Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in east New Orleans. The changes will add 45 new jobs. Gov. John Bel Edwards and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Director Todd May joined local and state officials Wednesday to announce the jobs and provide an update on the latest at MAF. In addition to the new jobs, state leaders announced plans for an aerospace program at nearby Nunez Community College to train students for careers at Michoud and other regional employers. Also, Sinter Metal Technologies, a global supplier of metal and ceramic parts that is based in Liechtenstein, announced Wednesday it will move some of its operations to MAF. The company intends to invest $5 million in a new sintering facility at Michoud to bond powder-based metals, material that will be used to make strong precision parts. The plan will create 15 jobs at an average salary of $55,000 a year. In addition, Advanced Cutting Solutions, which specializes in kit-cutting tough materials like fiberglass, Kevlar and dry carbon, also said it is expanding its presence at the facility, adding 30 new jobs at an average salary of $40,000 a year. (Source:, 11/01/17) MAF is building aerostructures for NASA's Space Launch System and Stennis Space Center is testing rocket engines for the program.

Monday, October 30, 2017

RR marks decade at SSC

Rolls-Royce on Friday celebrated 10 years at Stennis Space Center, Miss., where it operates an outdoor jet engine test facility. The facility that tests jetliner engines was the first of its kind for Rolls-Royce outside the United Kingdom. Rolls-Royce General Manager Hamish Guthrie said the company employs 46 people locally, and expects that number to rise in the future due to the demand of the company’s aircraft engines. According to Guthrie, employees have logged more than 7,000 hours testing engines. (Sources: Picayune Item, 10/28/17, WLOX-TV, 10/27/17) Rolls-Royce, which opened its first stand in 2007, added a second test stand in 2013.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Next MIST cluster summit slated

The next Marine Industries Science & Technology (MIST) Cluster Small Business Summit will be held at the INFINITY Science & Discovery Center, Meeting Room D, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 30. It will focus on the Navy, as well as the large prime contractors that support the Navy. There will be speakers from the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, Naval Research Laboratory, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic, Leidos, General Dynamics Information Technology, Vencore Services and Solutions and others. The summit will include a MIST Cluster update. The event will feature presentations on the missions, programs, and projects within and supporting the Navy, as well as information on upcoming contracts and ways small companies can help support the small business goals on larger contracts. Lunch is included in the $25 registration fee. Contact Laurie Jugan by email or phone 228-688-1192. (Source: MSET, 10/28/17)

Friday, October 27, 2017

Contract: SpaceX, $40.8M

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), of Hawthorne, Calif., earlier this month was awarded a $40,766,512 modification (P00007) for the development of the Raptor rocket propulsion system prototype for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program. Work will be performed at NASA's Stennis Space Center, Miss.; Hawthorne, Calif.; McGregor, Texas; and Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.; and is expected to be complete by April 30, 2018. Fiscal 2017 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $40,766,512 are being obligated at the time of award. The Launch Systems Enterprise Directorate, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles AFB, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8811-16-9-0001). (Source: DoD, 10/19/17) SpaceX announced in December 2013 that it would use SSC for its Raptor program. A previous contract from DoD also gave the Raptor project a boost.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

NASA awards construction contracts

NASA has awarded 24 Multiple Award Construction Contract Two (MACC-II) contracts to 20 small businesses and four large firms for general construction services at NASA's Stennis Space Center, Miss., and several other agency locations. It has an anticipated value not to exceed $3 billion during an eight-year ordering period. MACC-II project work includes, but is not limited to, alteration, modification, maintenance and repair, demolition, design-build and new construction of buildings, facilities and real property at Stennis; NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, including White Sands Test Facility near Las Cruces, N.M.; NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Fla.; and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., including Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Businesses in the Gulf Coast region awarded contracts are Healtheon and Pontchartrain Partners, both of New Orleans; ESA South Inc., Cantonment, Fla.; Orocon Construction and WG Yates & Sons Construction Co., both of Biloxi, Miss.; Drace Construction Corp., Ocean Springs, Miss.; CCI Energy and Construction Services, Shalimar, Fla.; and MOWA Barlovento JV-2, Gautier, Miss. (Source: PRNewswire-USNewswire, 10/24/17)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

SBC focuses on contracts

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The next general meeting of the Stennis Business Consortium is scheduled for March 31 at 1 p.m. in the auditorium of the StenniSphere, Building 1200. At the meeting there will be a special presentation on the upcoming NASA-Stennis procurement under the Multiple-Award Construction Contracts (MACCs). Under the contract, NASA selected 10 companies that would be responsible for major construction projects at SSC for a five-year period. The MACC will be eligible for re-compete in less than two years. Also at the meeting, representatives of the Marine Industries Science and Technology cluster, Naval Oceanographic Office, NASA Shared Services Center and others will speak. For information, click here. (Source: MSET, 02/25/15)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

SSC won't test AJ-26 replacement

Orbital Sciences does not plan to do acceptance tests of the RD-181 engines at Stennis Space Center, Miss. That's according to a story in Aviation Week about the engines Orbital Sciences chose to replace the Russian-built NK-33 engines. Those engines, modified by Aerojet as the AJ-26, had been tested at SSC before being used to power Orbital's Antares rocket on resupply missions to the International Space Station. The switch to Russian-built RD-181s followed the October 2014 failure of an Antares launch vehicle seconds after lifting off from Wallops Island, Va. The first shipment of the engines to Orbital ATK will be this summer. (Source: Aviation Week, 02/24/15)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Rolls-Royce NA getting new leader

Marion Blakey is leaving the Aerospace Industries Association to become the CEO and president of Rolls-Royce North America, both organizations announced Tuesday. She's replacing James Guyette, who retires from Rolls-Royce May 31. Blakey, an Alabama native, has been with AIA, an industry organization, for eight years. Rolls-Royce North America has more than 8,000 workers in 26 U.S. states, six Canadian provinces and three Mexican states. Major operations are at NASA’s Stennis Space Center, Miss., where it has an outdoor engine testing facility; Indianapolis; Prince George County, Va.; Walpole, Mass.; Oakland, Calif.; and Montreal. (Sources: multiple, including Aviation Week, Rolls-Royce, Aerospace Industries Association, 02/24/15)