John C. Stennis Space Center
Fleet Survey Team, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, Naval Oceanographic Office, Naval Oceanography ASW Center, Naval Oceanography Mine Warfare Center, Naval Oceanography Operations Command, Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School, Naval Special Warfare Group FOUR Detachment Stennis, Special Boat Unit 22
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. It is NASA’s largest rocket engine test facility. SSC encompasses over 200 square miles of land area including a perimeter buffer zone to insulate surrounding civilian communities from the noise of rocket engine testing by NASA. There are over 30 local, state, national, international, private, and public companies and agencies using SSC for their rocket testing facilities. The United States Navy is the largest entity at SSC with over 3,500 personnel.
Navy tenants include Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), the Commander, Naval Meteorology & Oceanography Command, and the Naval Oceanographic Office, who are major operational users of the oceanographic and atmospheric research and development performed by NRL. This unique concentration of operational and research oceanographers makes SSC the center of naval oceanography and the largest such grouping in the world.
The Rocket Propulsion Test Complex is a rocket testing complex which was built in 1965 as a component of the John C. Stennis Space Center. The Rocket Propulsion Test Complex played an important role in the development of the Saturn V rocket. The A-1, A-2, B-1, and B-2 test stands were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1985. The NASA Engineering & Science Directorate (ESD) operates and maintains SSC’s rocket test stands.
The INFINITY Science Center is the public NASA visitor and science museum for John C. Stennis Space Center. The 72,000 square foot facility is located adjacent to the Mississippi Welcome Center near the Mississippi-Louisiana border. The Center officially opened in April 2012 to replace the old 14,000 square foot StenniSphere visitors center.
Stennis Space Center is located in South Mississippi on I-10 at Exit 2 approximately 48 miles west of Biloxi and 45 miles east of New Orleans.
Inbound PCS and TDY personnel coming to Stennis Space Center must contact their gaining unit and/or sponsor to determine current check-in and in-processing procedures for learning and working at SSC. In-processing and other procedures here are unique and new arrivals may also be subject to NASA orientations and other newcomer briefings not required at other duty stations. Your gaining unit will give you detailed instructions on how to proceed once you arrive on station.
Those PCSing to Stennis Space Center may find the best luck with temporary lodging facilities at the Navy Lodge Gulfport, which is located aboard Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport. You can make reservations by calling (228) 864-3101.
It’s critical to ask your gaining unit what the accepted procedure is for temporary lodging when being reassigned to Stennis Space Center; you may still be required to obtain a certificate of non-availability from a Navy Lodge or other military temporary lodging facility in order to be reimbursed for temporary housing off-post when filing your travel voucher.
Your gaining unit will give you specific instructions on how to proceed with temporary lodging; don’t forget to consult with your unit or sponsor to avoid having to pay out-of-pocket for your travel expenses.
The nearest major airport is Gulfport-Biloxi located approximately 40 miles away.
The usual commercial transportation and ride sharing services are available in varying degrees depending on the airport, time of arrival, etc. Due to the driving distances involved some may wish to get assistance from their sponsor or gaining unit for transportation especially if arrival time coincides with rush hour in the local area.
Stennis Space Center is not a Department of Defense installation, which means military members and their families will have unique requirements for accessing the Navy areas in the center.
Dependent military family members are required to have a “command sticker” placed on dependent ID cards as well as being added to the command access list provided to the gate guards.
All vehicles must comply with state safety and registration laws including seat belts, child car seats, hands-free cell phone rules and other regulations. All vehicles must carry the minimum required insurance directed by state law.
TRICARE Information and News
For a full list of community health centers, visit the Health Center Program at https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/.
Check the US News Health directory online at https://health.usnews.com/doctors/search to find the best doctor for your family.
The American Dental Association provides a list of dentists near you on their website https://findadentist.ada.org/.
FOR THE CHILDREN
To be enrolled in a Mississippi school, a child must be at least 5 years old by September 1 and must have completed a physical within the last six months. Students going into the first grade are required to have a physical as well. Check with the school for other requirements.
In 2010, the majority of states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity adopted Common Core State Standards that provide a consistent set of educational expectations for students, regardless of ZIP code. When a family moves, a student’s education is often disrupted because the student may be forced to repeat material or learn at a different level at the new school. With common standards across states, this disruption will be reduced — of particular interest to military families. For more information, visit http://www.corestandards.org/.
If your child is preparing to attend college, this information on scholarships may be helpful.
FOR THE SERVICE MEMBER
Current service members can attend college in their off-duty time and have their military branch pay the tuition. Learn about the Military Tuition Assistance Program. Use the Tuition Assistance (TA) DECIDE tool to help you make the best use of your tuition assistance dollars.
If you were or are in the military, you may be eligible for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) education benefits. If you are a spouse or dependent, you may be eligible too.
Online course options: edX – Founded by Harvard University and MIT, offers high-quality courses from the world’s best universities and institutions to learners everywhere. Whether you are interested in computer science, languages, engineering, psychology, writing, electronics, biology, or marketing. Enroll today!
When moving to a new location, it is important to know who to call when you have an emergency or you need help. Below are some organizations you will find useful.
Under the site’s “Child Care 101” tab you’ll find information related to locating quality child care, the types of child care available to you and how to evaluate the child care providers you visit. There’s also a special section for the military child on the website covering topics such as military fee assistance, payments and provider services.
Mississippi Department of Human Services (601) 359-4500
Dedicated to serving others while providing a wide range of public assistance programs, social services, and support for children, low-income individuals and families. The agency seeks to empower families so they can become self-sufficient and responsible for their future success.
Mississippi Department of Health (601) 576-7400
Mississippi Humane Society (601) 596-2206
Mississippi Highway Patrol (601) 582-3529
Base Operator 228-813-4070
Child Development Centers 228-688-3224
EFMP Family Support 228-871-3000
Family Center 228-813-4070
Housing Services Office 228-871-2586
Military housing for the Stennis Space Center is privatized and can be found at the nearby Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport. Housing is available in eight different neighborhoods and is provided by Balfour Beatty Communities (855) 289-2621.
14.5 miles from base
Diamondhead is a family-friendly community located approximately 10 minutes from Stennis Space Center. It is a planned community with many amenities including pools and a golf course.
16.6 miles from base
The North Shore community in Eden Isle, Louisiana is a safe, family-friendly area with good schools.
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In Kiln, the summers are long, hot, and oppressive; the winters are short and cold; and it is wet and partly cloudy year round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 43°F to 90°F and is rarely below 29°F or above 94°F.
The hot season lasts for 4.2 months, from May 20 to September 26, with an average daily high temperature above 84°F. The hottest day of the year is August 10, with an average high of 90°F and low of 75°F. The cool season lasts for 2.9 months, from December 1 to February 27, with an average daily high temperature below 67°F. The coldest day of the year is January 17, with an average low of 43°F and high of 61°F.
The wetter season lasts 3.1 months, from June 7 to September 10, with a greater than 40% chance of a given day being a wet day. The chance of a wet day peaks at 59% on July 28. The drier season lasts 8.9 months, from September 10 to June 7. The smallest chance of a wet day is 20% on October 30.
The cost of living in Kiln, MS is 11% higher than the Mississippi average and 7% lower than the entire country. The index is comprised of the following criteria: cost of retail goods and services (33%), groceries (13%), health care (5%), housing (30%), cost of public/private transportation (9%) and utilities (10%). Everyday goods and services, along with housing account for 63 percent of the total cost of living index. Goods and services that are a necessity regardless of location provide an accurate general sense of the cost of living in one city versus another. As seen above, the cost of retail goods and services in Kiln, MS are 9% higher than the average for Mississippi and 2% lower than the rest of the country.
The area near Stennis Space Center is full of outdoor activities including Honey Island Swamp Tours, Bay St. Louis Beach, and riverboat tours on the Steamboat Natchez which serves New Orleans and surrounding areas. The City of New Orleans is approximately 50 miles from Kiln, so a visit to the Big Easy could be done with a day trip.
Admissinon at the INFINITY Science Center at Stennis Space Center includes a behind-the-scenes bus tour of SSC. 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 an F-1 rocket engine, a tsunami buoy, U.S. Navy riverine training boat, and the Apollo 20 Saturn V first stage rocket booster.
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