STENNIS SPACE CENTER — The former Army ammunition facility officially was transferred from the U.S. Army to the NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center Wednesday, adding 1.6 million square feet of economic opportunity for Hancock County and South Mississippi.
The transfer ceremony was held at the Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne engine assembly facility within the former ammunition plant. Among the speakers were U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran and NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, who said Stennis has been a vital part of the American space program since Apollo and will be part of every phase of NASA exploration in the future.
The ammunition plant created thousands of jobs in the 1980s and the local economy was shaken when it closed less than a decade later, said Cochran. When the Base Realignment and Closure Commission ruled in 2005 the ammunition plant should close, “I believe it was good news for the Stennis Space Center and the Gulf Coast,” he said. He called the economic development potential “tremendous for the Gulf Coast.”