BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (WJTV) – NASA’s Stennis Space Center is moving forward in 2023 with propulsion test projects for the agency, the Department of Defense, and commercial partners.

In 2022, NASA took a major step for humanity moving closer to a permanent presence in deep space with the successful Artemis I mission. NASA Stennis played a key role in that effort, testing the engines and Space Launch System (SLS) core stage that helped launch the mission.

The center now is focused squarely on the following 2023 testing activity:

  • A certification test series will begin in the first months of 2023 at the Fred Haise Test Stand on a full RS-25 certification engine manufactured by lead engine contractor Aerojet Rocketdyne. The redesigned engines are being built to power the SLS rocket for Artemis V and beyond.
  • NASA Stennis will conduct its first in-space demonstration to showcase the expertise of the Autonomous Systems Lab (ASL) team and the capabilities of the ASL’s NASA Platform for Autonomous Systems.
  • The versatile, four-stand E Test Complex at NASA Stennis will continue providing value to commercial companies in 2023, just as it has done for more than 20 years.

Aerospace company Rocket Lab also has entered into an Enhanced Use Lease Agreement partnership with NASA Stennis. The company plans to develop the A-3 Test Stand area and about 24 surrounding acres into its Archimedes Test Complex, named for Rocket Lab’s new rocket engine that will power its large, reusable Neutron rocket.

Additionally, testing was completed on Launcher Space’s engine components at the E Test Complex in 2022, and the company is planning to begin full engine testing this year.

In 2023, NASA Stennis will continue testing for Relativity Space, Virgin Orbit, and Ursa Major as well, and will begin a new suite of tests for Blue Origin and Venus Aerospace.