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January 8, 2010

Chris McGee, NASA News Chief
NASA Public Affairs Office
Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-6000
(228) 688-3249

NASA Stennis Space Center Marks NASA Day at the Capitol

Representatives from NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center visited Jackson on Jan. 6, to meet with Mississippi legislators as part of NASA Day at the Capitol.

Astronaut Danny Olivas, who has logged more than 668 hours in space and 34-plus spacewalk hours during a pair of space shuttle missions, joined Stennis Space Center representatives to thank Mississippi legislators for their continued support of NASA. Highlighted during the event was Stennis' important role in the past, present and future of America's space program, and its positive effect on Mississippi's economy and quality of life.

Since it was established in the 1960s, Stennis has been responsible for testing all the engines used in manned Apollo space flights, as well as the engines used in more than 120 space shuttle missions. The center now is preparing to test the new J-2X engines that will help carry humans beyond low-Earth orbit once more.

Stennis displayed exhibits in the Rotunda, highlighting the center's role in the future of space exploration and its economic history and importance. Models of the next generation Ares I and Ares V rockets also were displayed.

"These are exciting days for NASA and Stennis Space Center," Stennis Deputy Director Patrick Scheuermann said. "Stennis is making continued progress readying for testing of the engines that will replace the space shuttle main engine. In addition, we are involved in science projects related to the Gulf of Mexico and beneficial to this region. These efforts are fundamental in helping prepare for the future of America's space program and are indicative of the vital role Stennis will continue to play in space travel and Earth science."

Stennis is a unique federal city that is home to NASA and more than 30 federal, state and private sector agencies, including the U.S. Navy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA's Shared Services Center, which provides all of the agency's financial, procurement, human resources, customer contact and administrative processing services.

The center has a total workforce of 5,400, almost completely from Mississippi and Louisiana communities, and has a consistently strong economic impact throughout the region. Within a 50-mile radius, Stennis had a direct economic impact of $668 million in 2009. The direct global economic impact of the center totaled $875 million for the year.

During the Jan. 6 capitol visit, Stennis representatives provided an exhibit that highlighted past and present construction projects made possible by funding from the state of Mississippi, including the INFINITY Science Center being built near Stennis.

"The state of Mississippi has proven to be a staunch supporter of Stennis Space Center since it was established more than 40 years ago, and that support remains as strong today as ever," Scheuermann said.

For more information about Stennis Space Center and its economic importance to the region, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/stennis.

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