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The two RV Gypsies
at The Infinity Science Center
1 Discovery Circle
Pearlington, MS 39572
part of NASA / John C. Stennis Space Center
in Hancock County, Mississippi
September 13, 2017

USA map showing location of MississippiMississippi map showing location of The Infinity Science Center

The John C. Stennis Space Center (SSC) is a NASA rocket testing facility. It is located in Hancock County, Mississippi, on the banks of the Pearl River at the Mississippi–Louisiana border. As of 2012, it is NASA's largest rocket engine test facility. There are over 30 local, state, national, international, private, and public companies and agencies using SSC for their rocket testing facilities. As of 2012, it is NASA's largest rocket engine test facility.

NASA Stennis Space Center in MS

The Infinity Science Center

The INFINITY Science Center is the public NASA visitor and science museum for John C. Stennis Space Center. The 72,000 sq.-foot facility is located adjacent to the Mississippi Welcome Center near the MS/LA border. Admission includes a behind-the-scenes bus tour of nearby Stennis Space Center. The two RV Gypsies went here on a Wednesday because it was Seniors Day.

The themes of the center's interactive exhibits include NASA, space, planets, stars, weather, earth science, space travel and exploration. Displays include a full-sized International Space Station module, a cutaway model of the Orion spacecraft, and components from a space-flown RS-25 Space Shuttle Main Engine. Outdoor displays include am F-1 rocket engine, a tsunami buoy, U.S. Navy Riverine training boat and the Apollo 19 Saturn V first stage rocket booster (acquired from NASA Michoud Assembly).

The INFINITY Science Center officially opened in April 2012 to replace the old 14,000 sq.-foot StenniSphere visitors center.

 

welcome to Mississippi sign

sign: Infinity at NASA Stennis Space Center

INFINITY Science Center is a state-of-the-art science and space educational center open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Individual guests older than 18 years must present a valid photo ID; those younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Foreign nationals must present a valid passport from their country of origin or a permanent residence card, if applicable. Backpacks and large bags are not permitted; all other bags are subject to search.

Infinity Science Center sign

Infinity Science Center sign

Below: Displays outside the Infinity Science Center

sign about the F-1 Rocket Engine

F-1 Rocket Engine

sign: Special Operations Cract Riverine (SOC-R)

Special Operations Cract Riverine (SOC-R

sign about the TAO Buoy

 TAO Buoy

sign about the Tsunami Buoy

Tsunami Buoy

Did you know? - 875 storms

Between 1851 and 2013, 875 storms developed into hurricanes and 286 made landfall in the U.S.

 

equipment

sign about the Infinity Eagle

Karen Duquette at the the Infinity Eagle

The two RV Gypsies saw one small baby alligator in a pond at The Infinity Center

do not feel alligator sign

baby alligator

The the two RV Gypsies took a 35-minute bus tour of the facilities at The Infinity Space Center, which passed through the restricted gates of the 14,0000-acre research facility. It is practically the only way someone can see inside, unless they are employees. An experienced guide explained some of the history of the site and reveal astonishing facts about some of the ground-breaking scientific work happening at SSC on a daily basis to the two RV Gypsies.  It’s also home to the largest concentration of oceanographers in the world, most of whom are working at the U.S. Navy's Meteorology and Oceanography Command based here.

Karen Duquette by the NASA tour bus

Below: As the two RV Gypsies traveled on the bus to the base, Karen took a couple of photos taken from the moving bus - a canal with locks. The guide explained that the old Saturn V rockets used by NASA during the Apollo days were too large and too heavy to be shipped by truck or rail. They were floated on barges up from the Gulf of Mexico. While this part of coastal Mississippi is almost at sea level it is not totally flat so the final part of the journey involved raising the barges as they traveled a few miles inland to the testing complex.

canal

canal locks

The two RV Gypsies got a behind-the-scenes look at America’s largest rocket engine test facility, one of the most unique scientific complexes on Earth.  

NASA research Laboratory sign

business building #1

business building #2

Below: 3 Rocket Engine Test complexes. Rocket engines are of course extremely powerful and they must be evaluated with very strong and stable structures known as test complexes. Once engines go through testing they are ready for the Space Shuttle. NASA used the same structures to test the first and second stages of Saturn V rockets for the Apollo and Skylab missions in the 1960's and 1970's.

3 Rocket Engine Test complexes

Rocket Engine Test complex

Rocket Engine Test complex

Rocket Engine Test complex

The two RV Gypsies with the 3 Rocket Engine Test complexes in the background

Karen Duquette by the 3 Rocket Engine Test complexes

Lee Duquette by the 3 Rocket Engine Test complexes

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go to the next adventure of the two RV Gypsies Page two of two - Inside the Infinity Science Center building