Briou Bouregois, a site engineer wearing a maroon striped polo-styled shirt, stands outside infront of the E Test Complex

Gazebo Gazette

Work at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near the Mississippi Gulf Coast, takes one site engineer back to a childhood memory, where a dream of being a member of the NASA team began. Now, Briou Bourgeois is working to launch a career with even bigger aspirations.

Bourgeois recalls childhood watching the Apollo 13 movie with his dad. He became fascinated with the story of how astronauts overcame challenges when NASA attempted the third lunar landing in 1970.

Even as the lunar portion of the mission was aborted due to the rupture of a service module oxygen tank, Bourgeois was fascinated by how everybody on the ground at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston fought through challenges to come up with solutions.

Bourgeois said he did not understand the gravity of the situation he was watching unfold, but he was not short of questions. He wanted to learn more.

“That probably spurred me into wanting to become part of the NASA team but, even more so, to become an astronaut and be sort of the tip of the spear when it comes to space exploration and doing the hard things that allow humanity to further understand the universe and space in general,” Bourgeois said.

Now in his seventh year at NASA Stennis, the Mississippi State University graduate said the wide range of testing capabilities at the south Mississippi site, coupled with working alongside a variety of people “highly specialized in the aerospace operations realm” is what he enjoys most.

He currently works at the versatile E Test Complex, where the mechanical test operations engineer supports research and development testing as NASA collaborates with commercial companies pursuing a future in space.

The Pass Christian, Mississippi, resident is the mechanical operations lead for the Relativity Space thrust chamber assembly test project and the Blue Origin pre-burner project. In those roles, he has written test procedures and developed a thorough knowledge of test operations.

Even as Bourgeois continues adding to his experience, he also has applied to become a NASA astronaut. Thanks, to his work at NASA Stennis, he feels equipped to make the split-second decisions needed during highly critical and hazardous moments. In addition, his NASA Stennis experience has taught him greatly about the importance of teamwork.

“A lot of the work we do at NASA Stennis with propellant transfers, managing cryogenic systems, pneumatic systems, hydraulic systems, and just having the hands-on experience and operational knowledge of those systems, I think is going to be beneficial to the agency’s focus of establishing the first long-term presence on the Moon,” Bourgeois said.

Whether Bourgeois’ future is at NASA Stennis or beyond, the NASA employee looks forward to helping the agency explore the secrets of the universe for the benefit of all.