HANCOCK COUNTY — One of the highest concentrations of high-tech jobs in Mississippi is at the propulsion test directorate for NASA at Stennis Space Center. An average of approximately 500 people are employed with that program. But right now that workforce is up for grabs as two of the nation’s largest defense contractors go head-to-head for the testing contract not only at Stennis, but at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.
For the past eight years the engine testing services at Stennis have been contracted out to Lockheed Martin Stennis Operations. The project is currently in the process of being re-bid. And Lockheed Martin has significant new competition in the form of Wyle Laboratories, a California-based company which has teamed up with Northrop Grumman Information Technology to bid on the project.
Obviously, the employees that do the work to test the Space Shuttle main engines, as well as engines for the next-generation launch technology, are highly skilled professionals who would be difficult to replace. Wyle/Northrop Grumman recently held an open house in Waveland to solicit r