Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A-3 stand back in headlines

Nearly a year after Bloomberg News reported that the $350 million A-3 test stand at Stennis Space Center, Miss., would be completed then mothballed, the Washington Post and ABC News revisited the issue. The Post used the 300-foot tall tower as an example of NASA's "drift," or what happens when the federal agency has no clear-cut goal. In January 2014, Bloomberg wrote that Congress ordered NASA to complete the stand even though it no longer needs it. At that time, $292 million had been spent and another $57 million was needed to complete it. It was designed to test the J-2X engine's performance at high altitudes. But the testing requirement ended when the Constellation program was killed in 2010. But backers, including Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., point out that it might still be used under a new administration or by private companies that are planning missions beyond supplying the International Space Station. (Sources: ABC News, 12/16/14, Washington Post, 12/15/14, Bloomberg News, 01/08/14)