NASA Public Affairs Office
Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-6000
NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center was directly in the path of Hurricane Katrina when it slammed the Gulf Coast in August.
Although 25 percent of the center's work force lost their homes to the storm, the center's positive impact to the surrounding communities and the state never faltered. On Oct. 25, a mere two months after the worst natural disaster in U.S. history, the space center resumed testing space shuttle main engines. Stennis Space Center continues fulfilling its mission as America's largest rocket engine test complex.
On Tuesday, members of Mississippi's legislature met Stennis Space Center representatives and Astronaut Steve Frick in the New Capitol Rotunda. They met during NASA Stennis Space Center Day at the Capitol to thank legislators for their support during the area's difficult recovery.
The space center presented figures detailing its impact on the 2005 economy of Mississippi. According to figures compiled by Mississippi State University released March 14, the center is a significant source of employment and income in the area.
Stennis Space Center had a direct economic impact of $503 million on the area within a 50- mile radius of the center. The figures compiled by MSU show if Stennis Space Center had not been in operation in 2005, considering both direct and indirect effects, a conservative estimate of reduction in employment for the area would have been 19,706 jobs.
A similar conservative estimate indicates personal income would have been reduced by more than $818.7 million. Retail sales would have been reduced by $327.5 million if the space center ceased to operate. It is estimated that SSC has an impact on local tax revenues of $88.4 million.
The MSU study noted Stennis Space Center had a direct impact on the global economy totaling $691 million.
Stennis Space Center's director, Dr. Rick Gilbrech, personally thanked legislators for their support. Gilbrech was appointed center director in January.
"Stennis has a rich history in rocket propulsion testing," Gilbrech said. "It was an integral part of getting a man on the moon, it has been critical to the Space Shuttle Program and it will be an integral part of fulfilling the nation's vision for space exploration. As a multi- agency federal city, Stennis also serves as an economic engine for the Mississippi Gulf Coast. As NASA embarks on the challenge of implementing the vision for space exploration, I am confident Stennis Space Center will be a vital part of what surely will be an exciting journey."
Stennis Space Center is home to NASA and 30 other resident agencies that form a unique federal and commercial city. The largest agency is the Department of Defense. Together with its contractors, it employs 2,071. NASA and its contractors employ 1,717. An additional 800 employees work for other resident agencies, bringing the total Stennis Space Center work force to 4,588.
NASA's new Shared Services Center, housed at Stennis Space Center, officially opened for business March 1. It will provide centralized administrative processing, human resources, procurement and financial services for all NASA centers across the nation. It will eventually employ approximately 500 contractors and civil servants in an area hard hit by Hurricane Katrina.
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