State of Stennis shared over breakfast – Picayune Item
On Wednesday morning, the Stennis Space Center hosted a Trustee Community Briefing Breakfast hosted by partners Stennis and Michoud. Each year, this event is organized to present a briefing with the partner organizations that operate at the rocket test facility.
In attendance were Michoud Chairman Mark Glorioso, NASA Stennis Space Center Director Richard Gilbrech, NASA Michoud Assembly Facility Director Lonnie Dutreix, Commander Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command Ron Piret, Director National Data Buoy Center William Burnett, staff propulsion test for Relativity Space Engineer Andy Guymon and Infinity Space Center Executive Director Michelle Anderson.
During the presentation, attendees heard that 84% of the Stennis Space Center workforce was vaccinated. Stennis is also transitioning to Stage 1 of NASA’s framework for returning to on-site work. All directories and offices will transition to a hybrid work environment. In 2021, Stennis had an economic impact of $1.2 million and $165 million is the total state and federal contributions. Stennis has over 5,000 employees.
Michoud’s preview said it remains the largest facility in the world at 2.2 million square feet. The installation is running at stage 1 with up to 75% occupancy. The Michoud facility was hit by Hurricane Ida on August 29, 2021. The facility recorded 150 mph of winds and 13 inches of rain during the storm. Due to water intrusion and roof damage, Michoud received an additional MAF grant of $241.8 million for repairs.
Admiral Ron Piret has been in the Navy for 30 years and for the past year he has assumed the responsibility of Commander of Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command.
They help guide ships, planes and troops with recommendations based on weather forecasts and ocean conditions. They also transmit forecast updates and weather alerts to military and civilian authorities. Their job is to better understand the ocean and predict what is happening in it.
“We are involved in all aspects of naval warfare and the Navy’s overall mission. There is not a submarine that goes to sea or an airplane that flies without our being involved, not only in their in-flight navigational safety, but also in ensuring that the vitality of the fleet is maximized. We really have a wide range of professionals,” said Piret.
Piret said working at his facility requires talents in engineering, physics, computer science and geology.
“We take all that talent…to collect observations, 100 million observations a day, and transform that data, not just into platform and sensor performance, but then how to predict the future battlespace environment. so that we can better understand where the benefits are, safely and ensuring the nation’s interest and maintaining freedom of navigation,” Piret said.
Michelle Anderson has been executive director of the Infinity Science Center for two years. Infinity Space Center exists to build people.
“We build people, ultimately that’s what we do. Building our next generation of mathematicians, of scientific engineers, that’s what we do,” Anderson said.
Young people are the centre’s daily bread, but adults are welcome. Anderson said most people think of Infinity Space Center as a place to play or for “kids,” but she said parents had more fun than kids.
“We reach any age, anyone who cares about STEM,” Anderson said.
In May 2021, the Infinity Space Center reopened to the public following the COVID-19 pandemic. Anderson said more than 400 people came when it reopened, nearly double the pre-pandemic average.
“It was our most remarkable (event) to do with half the staff, half the resources, having been overworked at the time but able to do it, have fun and make our gifts feel like we are from back,” Anderson said.
The Infinity Space Center has been booming since its reopening to such an extent that several events are over capacity. In order not to turn away attendees, Anderson and his staff customize the plan to include them.