SSC seeks companies interested in test stands, more
May 16, 2015
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – NASA is looking for companies interested in using
underutilized federal facilities at its rocket engine test site in South Mississippi, including
the never-used, 300-foot tall, $350 million A-3 test stand.
NASA issued a request for information May 13. In addition to four test stands, NASA is
looking for parties interested in utilizing portions of the massive former Mississippi Army
Ammunition Plant, which occupies a large tract in the north of Stennis Space Center. SSC
will make all facilities available during the week of June 22-26 for site visits.
All the rocket engine test stands are in restricted-access areas of SSC, and include
adjacent vacant land suitable for facility expansions. The most high-profile test facility is
the A-3 Altitude Test Facility, a single-position, vertical-firing test stand designed for
simulated altitude testing of large liquid rocket engines and upper stages.
The stand and its systems were designed and configured for testing of the 294,000
pound thrust J-2X liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine at 100,000 feet simulated altitude
for the Constellation program. That program was canceled by the Obama Administration
before the stand was finished, but Congress ordered the stand finished on the chance it
may find a future purpose, either by NASA or commercial companies.
NASA is also renewing a request for information for the E-4 Test Facility, which was
partially constructed but never completed. The propellant and structural elements of E-4
were designed to support the testing of power packs and engine systems up to 500,000
pounds thrust in the horizontal plane.
Also being offered is the A-2 Large Engine Test Stand, a single position, vertical firing
test stand capable of testing liquid oxygen /liquid hydrogen engines up to 600,000 pounds
thrust at simulated altitude conditions for extended durations. Another test facility, the E-2
Engine/Stage Test Facility Cell 2 (E2C2), built in 2001 to provide testing for medium thrust
rocket engine systems, is also being offered.  E2C2 is capable of supporting test articles
generating up to 324,000 pounds thrust in a vertical orientation.
NASA is also looking for companies that may be interested in setting up operations in
part of a 4,400-acre facility in the north part of SSC. It’s the former Mississippi Army
Ammunition Plant (MAAP), closed in the 1990. NASA took over ownership of the plant
from the Army in 2011 as part of the Base Realignment and Closure process.
In addition to two large facility spaces, the former MSAAP also contains several smaller
spaces that may be available, several abandoned outdoor facilities available for
redevelopment, and large tracts of undeveloped land within the SSC boundaries.
Building 9100 is a vacant industrial building of about 240,000 square feet, and has
warehouse, office and lab space. Another building, 9101, is 546,000 square feet. It has
about 270,000 square feet of contiguous vacant industrial space with varying clear
heights and two bridge cranes.
SSC is NASA’s rocket engine test facility. Over the years it has attracted multiple federal,
state and corporate tenants, including Lockheed Martin, Rolls-Royce, Aerojet Rocketdyne
and SpaceX. The center is particularly appealing to some operations because it’s
surrounded by a 125,000-acre acoustic buffer zone.
David Tortorano, GCAC, 5/16/15