by Hannah Allen

Long before Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the moon in 1969, humans have been fascinated with the vast endlessness of space. It was this same intrigue that caused the construction of Hancock County’s John C. Stennis Space Center in 1961.

The Mississippi Space Center famed aerospace engineer Wernher von Braun who once stated, “I don’t know yet what method we will use to get to the moon, but I do know that we have to go through Mississippi to get there!”

Now more than fifty years later, Governor Phil Bryant has announced that Mississippi is rededicating itself to the “protection, commercialization and exploration” of space.

For years Bryant has endorsed the expansion of space programs in Mississippi and on Monday afternoon, the Governor signed executive order 1445, which establishes the Space Force Initiative in Mississippi in connection with the state National Guard. The Mississippi Space Force is parallels the national Space Force proposed under President Trump.

“[Space] must be protected.” Governor Phil Bryant announced, “Like everywhere that we have ever been, Mississippi and the United States will be there for the good of the world and the good of mankind—for that one giant leap for mankind.”

By enacting this initiative, the Governor also hopes to encourage space-related business owners to come to Mississippi, creating jobs and furthering industry.

“The opportunities that exist out there are unlimited” Bryant declared. He went cited Relatively Space, a Los Angeles-based aerospace manufacturing company that is entering a partnership with NASA Stennis. Governor Bryant praised the venture and noted that this partnership is a “59 million dollar investment…and will create 190 jobs [for Mississippians]”

To conclude the meeting at the INFINITY center, the Governor looked to the future, stating, “Nearly fifty years after the moon landing, we stand here, looking forward into the universe—into mars and beyond. Mississippi will be there…”