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Rocket Lab locating engine test...

Rocket Lab locating engine test facility at Stennis in Hancock County

By: Frank Corder - September 21, 2022

The company selected Stennis Space Center as the site of the test and development complex for Archimedes, its Neutron rocket engines.

U.S.-based Rocket Lab is locating an engine test facility for its new large rocket Neutron at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, making a significant capital investment and creating dozens of new jobs in Hancock County.

“When it comes to the aerospace industry, it’s all systems go in Mississippi. That’s because our state offers a prime location for innovative research, well-trained workers, and innovative technology development,” said Governor Tate Reeves.  “Rocket Lab is a wonderful addition to the impressive range of global leaders who call NASA’s Stennis Space Center home and I’m excited to welcome them here.”

Rocket Lab is the launcher of Electron, the second most-frequently flown U.S. rocket, and is developing Neutron, its much larger, reusable rocket, to carry out national security missions and deliver multiple satellites to space. Rocket Lab has selected Stennis Space Center as the site of the test and development complex for Archimedes, its Neutron rocket engines.

“The strong support from NASA and Mississippi to bring Neutron to the state made Stennis an easy decision over other potential sites,” said Rocket Lab Vice President of Launch Systems Shaun D’Mello.  “Stennis Space Center’s legacy in aerospace and skilled workforce will be both a boost to Neutron’s development and help grow Mississippi’s already robust aerospace test capabilities, securing a future for the state in innovative technology and aerospace.”

The Archimedes Test Complex will be located within the A-3 Test Complex at Stennis Space Center and will include exclusive the use and development of existing industrial NASA infrastructure and the center’s A-3 Test Stand. Rocket Lab expects to begin construction of the Neutron Test Complex in the near future.

The Mississippi Development Authority is providing assistance for site development and equipment relocation and installation.

“Rocket Lab, in partnership with the state of Mississippi and NASA’s Stennis Space Center, is building technology that furthers our great state as a leader in space launch capabilities. Additionally, this project will further expand the crucial role our workforce has in future spaceflight,” said MDA Deputy Executive Director Laura Hipp.

Hancock County and Stennis Space Center also are assisting with the project.

“Hancock County Port & Harbor Commission is excited to have Rocket Lab join us in Hancock County. As the cornerstone of Mississippi’s aerospace industry, we have the resources, the knowledgeable people and the industrial synergy to continue expanding frontiers and possibilities for humanity. The path to space truly runs through Hancock County,” said Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission CEO Bill Cotter.

Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab is an end-to-end space company with an established track record of mission success. Since its first orbital launch in January 2018, Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle and has delivered 150 satellites to orbit for private- and public-sector organizations, enabling operations in national security, scientific research, space debris mitigation, Earth observation, climate monitoring and communications. Building on the achievements of Electron, Rocket Lab’s next-generation launch vehicle Neutron is designed for constellation deployment, cargo resupply and interplanetary missions. Rocket Lab also develops mission-ready spacecraft and satellite subsystems.

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications such as the Daily Caller. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: