Aerojet Rocketdyne employs 130 people at its NASA Stennis Space Center facility in Hancock County, and it announced Monday an expansion that could increase jobs to more than 200.
The subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holding Inc. announced that assembly and testing of its AR1 advanced liquid rocket engine will take place at Stennis.
To accommodate the additional work, the company will expand its Center of Excellence for Large Liquid Rocket Engine Assembly and Test there. The AR1 is being developed to support the country’s mandate to eliminate U.S. reliance on the Russian RD-180 engine for national security space launches by 2019.
Aerojet Rocketdyne already assembles and tests at Stennis the RS-68 engine that powers the Delta IV family of launch vehicles, and the RS-25 engine that will power NASA’s Space Launch System. The SLS is America’s newest heavy lift launch vehicle in development, which is set to be the most powerful rocket in the world.
As part of the buildup for RS-25 assembly and testing, Aerojet Rocketdyne is locating its RS‑25 low pressure turbopump assembly to the company’s facility at Stennis.
“We have had a long history of partnering with Stennis to power the nation into space. Assembly and testing of the AR1 at NASA Stennis adds to that legacy,” said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake. “This plan will establish Aerojet Rocketdyne’s facility at NASA Stennis as the company’s Center of Excellence for Large Liquid Rocket Engine Assembly and Test and solidify NASA’s Stennis Space Center as the nation’s premier rocket engine test facility.
“I am pleased that Aerojet Rocketdyne has chosen to expand its operations in Mississippi, which will strengthen our nation’s aerospace industry and bring more good-paying jobs to the Gulf Coast,” said U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.
“Mississippi’s long partnership with U.S. space agencies and the industry has led to advances in science, technology and national security,” said U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.