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Lagniappe for July 2024

Explore the July 2024 issue, featuring NASA Stennis Achieves Primary Success for Historic In-Space Mission, NASA at the Mississippi Comic Convention, NASA Stennis Take Our Children to Work Day,  and more!

Explore Lagniappe for July 2024 featuring:

NASA Stennis Achieves Primary Success for Historic In-Space Mission

Mississippi Comic Convention Experiences NASA

NASA Stennis Hosts Take Our Children to Work Day

Gator Speaks

Conversations filled the room with anticipation for the day ahead.

NASA’s Stennis Space Center hosted Take Our Children to Work Day on June 27 with a day set aside for children of employees to see up close the work carried out at NASA Stennis by its diverse workforce.

A video featuring NASA Stennis Associate Director Rodney McKellip welcomed the enthusiastic crowd. He shared about the different hats worn by the more than 5,000 employees throughout the NASA Stennis federal city.

There are engineers who help make the south Mississippi NASA center the premier rocket engine test facility in the country. NASA Stennis, the place that tested rocket stages to put the first humans on the Moon, remains on the frontlines of preparing NASA and the United States for its return to the Moon through the Artemis campaign to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before.

Those attending Take Our Children to Work Day learned how NASA Stennis has many rocket scientists and test engineers carrying out this work, but that is not all.

Gator Speaks
NASA/Stennis

A team of folks, including accountants, lawyers, environmental specialists, educators, and public affairs specialists, wear the NASA hat to ensure mission success too.

There also are teams climbing on test stands, installing rocket engines into the stands, working with piping, electrical, welding, construction projects, safety inspections, and more.

In addition to being the premier propulsion test site supporting NASA’s mission, NASA Stennis is where commercial companies experience success and benefit from the expertise of NASA personnel. Companies like Relativity Space, Rocket Lab, and Evolution Space have established ongoing operations at NASA Stennis as the commercialization of space continues.

The NASA Stennis federal city also includes a range agencies, universities, and companies sharing costs and carrying out individual missions.

It is the command site for the largest collection of oceanographers in the world and where Navy Seals train. 

Participants learned about such operations from a panel of employees from NASA, Aerojet Rocketdyne, an L3 Harris Technologies company, Lockheed Martin, and Relativity Space.

They toured NASA Stennis and participated in activities facilitated by NASA, Aerojet Rocketdyne, and the National Data Buoy Center. 

The NASA Stennis associate director left them with a final thought before their day started: If you hear something loud during the day, just know that is the sound of progress at the nation’s premier rocket propulsion test facility and federal city known as NASA Stennis.

Sure enough, that afternoon, the unmistakable sound of engine testing could be heard across the site. For this ol‘ Gator, it sounds like music to the ears.

NASA Stennis Top News

NASA Stennis Achieves Primary Success for Historic In-Space Mission

NASA’s Stennis Space Center and partner Sidus Space Inc. announced primary mission success July 2 for the center’s historic in-space mission – an autonomous systems payload aboard an orbiting satellite.

Mississippi Comic Convention Experiences NASA

Science fiction fans at the Mississippi Comic Convention were provided an out-of-this world experience, while learning about NASA, during the two-day event in Jackson, Mississippi, thanks to employees from NASA’s Stennis Space Center.

“I’ve never been to an outreach activity that you reached so many people and from such a wide spectrum of people, from grade schoolers to retired grandparents,” said Troy Frisbie, NASA Stennis legislative affairs officer and chief of staff. “We interacted with a wide audience and really shared how NASA and NASA Stennis benefit all. It was a really, really good experience.”

The NASA booth, at an event that attracted 18,000 people to the Mississippi Trade Mart and Coliseum on June 22-23, featured an immersive experience with virtual reality goggles. Participants were able to view an engine test conducted at NASA Stennis, take a virtual spacewalk while visiting the International Space Station, and experience a simulated rocket launch to Mars.

One group enjoying the interaction with NASA was the Star Trek fan club from Jackson, Mississippi.

“They were real big supporters of NASA,” Frisbie said. “They loved the virtual reality experience and encouraged others at the convention to come by and visit with us.”

NASA Stennis budget analyst Rebecca Mataya and engineers Paul Fuller, Steven Helmstetter, and Chris Barnett-Woods volunteered with Frisbie. The center employees talked to college students majoring in engineering, graphic design, architecture, education, and healthcare.

“The assumption is everybody has to be an engineer to work at NASA, and that is not the case,” Frisbie said. “There are all kinds of opportunities, and that was an eye opener for many.”

Conversations centered on job opportunities and careers with NASA, as well as work conducted at NASA Stennis. The volunteers also fielded general questions about NASA’s powerful SLS (Space Launch System) rocket and the agency’s Artemis campaign of returning astronauts to the Moon for scientific discovery, economic benefits, and inspiration for a new generation of explorers: the Artemis Generation.

“We enjoyed telling the NASA story and how NASA Stennis on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi serves as an economic engine that contributes to this nation’s space dreams,” Frisbie added.

Center Activities

NASA Stennis Breaks Ground with Rolls-Royce on New Testing Area

NASA’s Stennis Space Center continues to support commercial companies and benefit the aerospace industry. The latest example comes as officials from NASA Stennis and Rolls-Royce break ground for the E-1 Hydrogen Test Pad, located at the NASA Stennis E-Complex Test Facility, during a June 27 ceremony. The site will be where Rolls-Royce conducts hydrogen testing for the Pearl 15 engine. The Pearl 15 engine helps power the Bombardier Global 5500 & 6500 aircraft and enables top speeds of Mach 0.90. Groundbreaking participants include (left to right): Adam Newman, Rolls-Royce chief engineer of hydrogen technology; Deborah Robinson, Rolls-Royce director of test and experimental engineering; Troy Frisbie, NASA Stennis legislative affairs specialist and chief of staff; Dan Lyon, Rolls-Royce North America general manager; and Steven Blake, Rolls-Royce North America indirect purchasing, global commodity manager.
NASA/Danny Nowlin

NASA Stennis Hosts NASA Mission Support Directorate

Members of NASA’s Mission Support Directorate met with leaders from NASA’s Stennis Space Center and the NASA Shared Services Center during an onsite visit June 3. The group also participated in an in-depth tour of the NASA Stennis facilities. Pictured (left to right) are Ron Bald, chief counsel for the Office of the General Counsel at NASA Stennis and NASA Shared Services Center; Dinna Cottrell, chief information officer for the NASA Stennis and NASA Shared Services Center Office of the Chief Information Officer; Eli Ouder, procurement officer for NASA Stennis and NASA Shared Services Center; Stacy Houston, executive officer for NASA’s Mission Support Directorate; Michael Tubbs, acting director for the NASA Stennis Center Operations Directorate; Michael Hess, deputy associate administrator for NASA’s Mission Support Directorate; Rodney McKellip, associate director for NASA Stennis; Nichole Pinkney, program manager for NASA’s Mission Support Directorate; Duane Armstrong, manager for the NASA Stennis Strategic Development Office; Gary Benton, director for the NASA Stennis Safety and Mission Assurance Directorate; and Alison Butsch, associate chief financial officer for the External Business Operations Division within the NASA Stennis Office of the Chief Financial Officer.
NASA/Danny Nowlin

Space Force Students Visit NASA Stennis

United States Space Force training students and professors stand at the Thad Cochran Test Stand on June 4 during a tour of NASA’s Stennis Space Center. NASA Stennis is preparing the test stand to test the exploration upper stage, which will fly on future SLS (Space Launch System) missions as NASA continues its mission of exploring the secrets of the universe for the benefit of all. The upper stage is being built at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans as a more powerful second stage to send the Orion spacecraft to deep space. It is expected to fly on the Artemis IV mission. Before that, it will be installed on the Thad Cochran Test Stand (B-2) at NASA Stennis to undergo a series of Green Run tests of its integrated systems to demonstrate it is ready to fly. The Space Force, established in 2019, organizes, trains, and equips personnel to protect U.S. and allied interests in space and to provide space capabilities to the joint forces.
NASA/Danny Nowlin

Louisiana STEM Academy Visits NASA Stennis

Rising high school juniors and seniors from Ascension Parish, Louisiana, visit the Thad Cochran Test Stand on June 6 during a tour of NASA’s Stennis Space Center. The students are part of the week-long BASF Tech Academy, in coordination with River Parishes Community College, where participants learn about technical careers and education. NASA Stennis is preparing the test stand to test the exploration upper stage, which will fly on future SLS (Space Launch System) missions as NASA continues its mission of exploring the secrets of the universe for the benefit of all. The upper stage is being built at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans as a more powerful second stage to send the Orion spacecraft to deep space. It is expected to fly on the Artemis IV mission. Before that, it will be installed on the Thad Cochran Test Stand (B-2) at NASA Stennis to undergo a series of Green Run tests of its integrated systems to demonstrate it is ready to fly.
NASA/Danny Nowlin

Florida A&M STEM Group Visits NASA Stennis

Members of the Florida A&M University Program of Excellence in STEM attend a presentation June 21 during a visit to NASA’s Stennis Space Center. The NASA Office of STEM Engagement provided information on grants and student activities during the presentation about NASA Stennis and the work conducted at the unique federal city. The group also visited the Thad Cochran Test Stand and Relativity Space test complex during a site tour. The Program of Excellence in STEM summer academy aims to enhance student knowledge of opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
NASA/Danny Nowlin

Aerospace States Association Visits NASA Stennis

Members of the Aerospace States Association stand at the Thad Cochran Test Stand on June 25 during a visit to NASA’s Stennis Space Center. The group came to the south Mississippi NASA center during the Aerospace States Association conference in New Orleans June 24-27. NASA Stennis will use the Thad Cochran Test Stand (B-2) to test the exploration upper stage, a more powerful second stage to send the Orion spacecraft to deep space on NASA’s SLS (Space Launch System) rocket, ahead of its expected flight on the Artemis IV mission.
NASA/Danny Nowlin

Arkansas-Pine Bluff STEM Summer Institute Visits NASA Stennis

Participants in the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Summer Institute stand in front of the Roy Estess Building at NASA’s Stennis Space Center during a site tour on June 25. The students viewed multiple areas of the federal city, including a visit to the Thad Cochran Test Stand, where students learned about NASA Stennis’ role in the Artemis campaign. NASA is going back to the Moon for scientific discovery, economic benefits, and inspiration for a new generation of explorers: the Artemis Generation. The agency will use what is learned on and around the Moon to take the next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars. The Arkansas at Pine Bluff STEM program started in 2003 and is designed to help increase the number and diversity of well-prepared STEM graduates.
NASA/Danny Nowlin

NASA Stennis Hosts Take Our Children to Work Day

NASA in the News

NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test

NASA to Change How It Points Hubble Space Telescope – NASA Science

NASA Astronauts Practice Next Giant Leap for Artemis  – NASA

Moon Tree Planted at U.S. Capitol Marks Enduring NASA, Artemis Legacy – NASA

Employee Profile

Chris Barnett-Woods is shown at the E-1 Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, where NASA Stennis accelerates the exploration and commercialization of space and innovates to benefit NASA and industry.
NASA/Danny Nowlin

Chris Barnett-Woods’ favorite movie growing up – Back to the Future – led him to dream of one day building a DeLorean automobile. Instead, the electrical engineer is doing something never imagined as he helps NASA support the commercialization of space for the benefit of all.

Looking Back

20 Years Ago This Month: NASA Stennis Moon Tree Honors Apollo 11

Additional Resources

Good Things with Rebecca Turner – SuperTalk Mississippi

Certifying Artemis Rocket Engines – NASA

NASA Stennis Overview – Going Further

Subscription Info

Lagniappe is published monthly by the Office of Communications at NASA’s Stennis Space Center. The NASA Stennis office may be contacted by at 228-688-3333 (phone); [email protected] (email); or NASA OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS, Attn: LAGNIAPPE, Mail code IA00, Building 1111 Room 173, Stennis Space Center, MS 39529 (mail).

The Lagniappe staff includes: Managing Editor Lacy Thompson, Editor Bo Black, and photographer Danny Nowlin.

To subscribe to the monthly publication, please email the following to [email protected] – name, location (city/state), email address.

Read More – NASA