The Federal Aviation Administration has expanded the restricted air space over NASA Stennis Space Center in Hancock County to bolster the state’s efforts to recruit more industry leaders to Stennis and South Mississippi.
Of the five areas under the expansion, three are for use by the Department of Defense, whose training includes firing lasers from the air to the ground. Two areas are designated for NASA missions.
Gov. Phil Bryant said the FAA action will support the emerging drone industry and help create jobs. The expansion also supports ongoing rocket engine testing at the facility and allows tenants at Stennis to test unmanned aerial vehicles for research and development purposes.
“The aerospace and defense industry has a successful history in Mississippi and it continues growing at a rapid pace as newer innovative technologies, such as UAVs, become more widely recognized in today’s marketplace,” said Mississippi Development Authority Executive Director Glenn McCullough Jr.
The restricted air space was defined over Stennis in the 1960s before testing began on Apollo Saturn V rockets. The expansion went into effect on May 26 and covers approximately 100 square miles between Stennis International Airport and the Picayune airport.