Built on Facts

Stennis Space Center, Reloaded

When I was a young kid growing up in south Louisiana, my family would sometimes make day trips out to John C. Stennis Space Center. Located just over the border in Mississippi, it’s a huge rocket testing facility in the middle of absolutely nowhere. It has to be. Rockets are LOUD. Isolated though it is, it’s open to whatever members of the public wish to visit during visitor center operating hours.

One of the people who works at Stennis lived with me for three years in a dorm room the size of my current kitchen. Lack of space aside, college was tremendous fun and we were lucky enough to be roommates who got along very well, having entered college as good friends and leaving four years later as even better ones. Anyway, he and I graduated the same year and he’s now helping keep the gears running smoothly at Stennis by means of the knowledge and skills acquired with his industrial engineering degree. (Also he makes roughly twice my TA salary.)

He sends me these quite striking pictures of construction for some of the new test stands that are going to be used to evaluate the engines to be used in the Orion spacecraft. Applied physics in action. Enjoy!


The new A1 test stand under construction, to be around 300 feet high when completed.


One of the old test stands, 150 feet tall. I’ve had to shrink the image so detail is hard to make out, but you can see white barges in the water in front of the stand. They’re filled with liquid H2 and O2. No smoking!


The entrance to the stand above, complete with warning light.


Another test stand, originally used for the Saturn V main engines.

Have a great weekend everyone!


  1. #1 Dwayne Phillips
    January 18, 2009

    Great pictures. How do you get so close to the site?

    I grew up in Tangipahoa Parish. One of my future dreams is to teach classes on site at Stennis.

  2. #2 asad
    January 18, 2009

    Dwayne — in the post, Matt mentions that the pictures were supplied by a friend of his that works there.

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