Artemis 1 Launch Highlights Mississippi’s Contributions to Space Travel

August 25th, 2022

Artemis 1 Launch Highlights Mississippi’s Contributions to Space Travel

JACKSON (Courtesy: Mississippi Development Authority) – The targeted August 29 launch of moon rocket Artemis I will shine a spotlight on Mississippi’s role in space exploration, as numerous companies located throughout the state were instrumental in the production of components for the new Space Launch System. Mississippi also is on the front lines of NASA’s Moon to Mars Artemis missions, as engine and propulsion systems testing for the new SLS rocket was performed at Stennis Space Center in Hancock County.

“The launch of Artemis I would not have been possible without Mississippi,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “Our state has played an essential role in relaunching mankind’s dreams of once again journeying to the moon. Whether it’s cars or rockets, traveling on I-20 or traveling in space, we are incredibly proud that Mississippians are manufacturing the technology propelling the future of transportation.”

Thousands of Mississippians’ work contributed to the completion of Artemis I and will contribute to future Artemis missions to the Moon and eventually Mars. Mississippi companies represented in the Artemis I project include NASA prime contractors Aerojet Rocketdyne, Boeing, Jacobs, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. Other companies in Mississippi who worked on producing components for Artemis I are Doleac Electric (Gulfport), NGIS ATK Space Systems (Iuka), Odile (Picayune), B&B Instrumentation Products (Gulfport) and the University of Mississippi. Companies with a Mississippi presence that are involved in the Artemis project are General Dynamics, Leidos, PAE Applied Technologies and Raytheon.

“Mankind has always looked to the stars, and we are proud that Mississippi has played a role for over 60 years in reaching those stars. This mission shows the determination and hard work of Mississippians and all those that have dedicated so much time and effort to this project,” said Mississippi Development Authority Deputy Director Laura Hipp. “They should all be proud to have played such a monumental role in what will be a historical event for our nation’s space program.”

NASA presently has the first three Artemis missions planned. Artemis I, which could launch August 29, is an uncrewed flight that will test the SLS and Orion spacecraft.

Artemis II, planned for launch in 2024, will send astronauts to orbit the Moon and to the furthest point humans have been in outer space.

Artemis III, targeted for 2025, will send astronauts, including the first woman, to the surface of the Moon for the first time since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

These initial Artemis missions all will be powered by RS-25 engines assembled and tested at Stennis Space Center. These initial engines are modified space shuttle main engines. Aerojet Rocketdyne also is preparing to produce new RS-25 engines with new components created with state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques, including 3D printing. The Artemis II mission also will include RS-25 engine No. 2063, which was planned and built at the Aerojet Rocketdyne Engine Assembly Facility at Stennis.

In addition, the core stage, with its four RS-25 engines, was tested on the B-2 Test Stand at Stennis. A series of tests on the core stage and its integrated systems culminated with a hot fire of all four engines, just as during an actual launch, in March 2021. It marked the most powerful propulsion test at Stennis in more than 40 years.NASA generates 3,633 jobs in Mississippi with more than $750 million in annual economic impact on local economies, according to a 2021 NASA report. The Moon to Mars missions alone host 493 direct jobs and more than $77 million in annual economic impact.