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Rocket Lab opens Archimedes Engine Test Stand at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi

Rocket Lab USA, Inc., a leading launch and space systems company, today kicked off operations for testing the Archimedes engine with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at NASA’s historic Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The Archimedes Test Complex will be home to engine testing for the 165,000 lbf engines to be used on Rocket Lab’s reusable Neutron rocket.

Rocket Lab's Vice President of Launch Systems, Shaun D'Mello, Senator Roger Wicker, Stennis Space Center Director Dr. Richard Gilbrech, and Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith participated in a ribbon cutting to kick off operations at Rocket Lab's Archimedes Test Complex for the Neutron launch vehicle at Stennis Space Center

The Archimedes Test Complex is located across a 1 million square foot area at the Stennis Space Center’s A Test Complex and includes use and development of existing infrastructure of the A-3 Test Stand to develop and test Neutron’s Archimedes engines. With the opening of the Archimedes Test Complex, Rocket Lab will be able to create dozens of new jobs and make significant capital investments in the state of Mississippi.


Neutron is Rocket Lab’s reusable rocket in development, designed as a cost-effective, reliable, and responsive launch service to help build mega-constellations, deliver large spacecraft to low-Earth orbit, geostationary orbit, and interplanetary destination. Neutron is also being designed to be human spaceflight capable in future.


Rocket Lab Founder and CEO, Peter Beck, says: “It was only a few weeks ago when we announced Stennis as the location of our Archimedes Test Complex and we’re already fast at work to get the site up and running to deliver Neutron. Thanks to our partnership with NASA and the state of Mississippi, we can begin to develop the existing infrastructure and test stand at Stennis to fast-track Neutron’s first launch. We look forward to breathing fire in the great state of Mississippi.”


Rocket Lab Vice President of Launch Systems, Shaun D’Mello, says: “It is thrilling to say we’ve reached the next step in the development of Neutron as we begin operations at the Archimedes Test Complex at Stennis. We are excited to tap into the workforce in the area to fast track Neutron’s development.”


The Archimedes Test Complex will complement the under-construction Neutron Production Complex and launch site at Wallops Island, within the NASA Wallops Flight Facility and Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Together, the two sites can create hundreds of jobs on over two million square feet of operations for Neutron’s production, testing, and launch facilities.


The Governor of Mississippi, Tate Reeves: “When it comes to the aerospace industry, it’s all systems go in Mississippi. That’s because our state offers a prime location for innovative research, well-trained workers, and innovative technology development. Rocket Lab is a wonderful addition to the impressive range of global leaders who call NASA’s Stennis Space Center home and I’m excited to welcome them here.”


US Senator Roger Wicker: “American leadership in outer space runs through Mississippi, and it is great to see more companies partnering with Stennis Space Center as a growing hub of our nation’s aerospace industry. I appreciate that Rocket Lab is using Stennis’s 'A-3' test stand, which Congress saved from demolition in 2010. Rocket Lab will bring quality jobs and technology to Mississippi for years to come.”


US Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith: “The Stennis Space Center has a special place in American aerospace history, and Mississippi eagerly welcomes Rocket Lab to use this fantastic test facility to add to this legacy. Its work will continue Stennis’ key role in development and testing of the engines that will help usher in a new generation of achievements in aerospace and space exploration. I particularly appreciate that the Rocket Lab agreement involves partnership with NASA, the State of Mississippi, and our wonderful Gulf Coast.”


US Congressman Steven Palazzo: “I applaud Rocket Lab on their decision to utilize the unique facilities at Stennis Space Center to further their space missions,” said Congressman Steven Palazzo. “South Mississippi has long been a staple in the pathway to space for both the public and private sectors. Not only the infrastructure, but the people too, create a receptive environment for business partnerships. I look forward to Rocket Lab’s future at Stennis and in space innovation and exploration.”


Stennis Space Center Director: “We are pleased that Rocket Lab selected Stennis Space Center for development of its new test complex,” Stennis Space Center Director Rick Gilbrech said. “With finalization of this agreement, we look forward to working with Rocket Lab as it develops and moves forward in achieving its space goals. This represents an exciting opportunity not only for Stennis but also for the Gulf Coast region and the entire state of Mississippi.”

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