Press Release

New date set for first-ever public viewing of a Space Shuttle main engine evening test at Stennis Space Center

By SpaceRef Editor
April 16, 2001
Filed under , ,

HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. – The date for the first-ever evening public engine
test
of a Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center
has
been rescheduled for Saturday, April 21. Scheduled for ignition at 8 p.m.,
the
spectacular test will mark Stennis Space
Center’s 20th anniversary celebration of the first Space Shuttle mission.

A highlight of the public engine test will be a special appearance by former
astronaut Donald Williams who flew aboard the Space Shuttle twice – once in
1985
as pilot and again as shuttle commander in 1989. Starting at 7:15 p.m.,
Williams
will comment on the 20th anniversary of the first Space Shuttle mission and
conduct a question and answer session prior to the test. Real rocket
scientists will also give educational and informative presentations
throughout
the evening.

“The testing of the Space Shuttle Main Propulsion Test Article (MPTA) in
1981 at
NASA’s Stennis Space Center is considered by many as the finest hour in the
history of our center,” Stennis Propulsion Test Directorate Director Boyce
Mix
said. “The MPTA brought together all three of the first Space Shuttle Main
Engines, an external tank and a simulated aft section of an orbiter to
flight
certify the propulsion system for the very first Space Shuttle launch.”

Today, the center remains NASA’s proving ground for all Space Shuttle Main
Engines and plays an integral role in testing component and propulsion
systems
for the future. The 520-second test on April 21 will be a flight
certification
test for the Pratt & Whitney high-pressure fuel turbo pump.

The Boeing Company, Rocketdyne is responsible for development and flight
acceptance testing of the Space Shuttle Main Engines.

Soft drinks and hot dogs will be available for purchase in the viewing area.
Water and restroom facilities will be available, since visitors may be
required
to wait approximately one hour before testing begins.

For this special event only, visitors will be allowed to drive directly onto
Stennis Space Center through either the north or south gate. Visitors should
plan to arrive between 5 and 7 p.m. to allow time to get to the parking area
and
board shuttle buses to the engine-testing site. Security personnel and
posted
signs will direct them along a strictly controlled route to a parking area
where
they will take shuttle buses the rest of the way to the viewing stand. Buses
will also shuttle visitors from the viewing area back to the parking lot at
the
conclusion of the test.

StenniSphere, the visitor center at Stennis Space Center, will close at its
normal time of 5 p.m. Buses will shuttle visitors from the viewing area back
to
the parking lot at the conclusion of the test to depart the center.

SpaceRef staff editor.