There's a move on in the U.S. Senate to "LIFT" Stennis Space Center's prominence in the country and bring more commercial technology and space industry corporations to Hancock County.

Mississippi's Sen. Roger Wicker and Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith last week introduced the Licensing Innovations and Future Technologies in Space (LIFTS) Act, which would "modernize training for the federal commercial space licensing workforce and promote collaboration with academia and industry by creating a centralized training facility for safety and licensing personnel."

The facility would be located at Stennis Space Center.

“The Stennis Space Center is the perfect location for training more space professionals to certify the growing demand for commercial space launches in the United States,” Wicker said in a press release. “This legislation would help ensure the U.S. remains the leader in the commercial space industry and would expand Mississippi’s contributions to the future of space exploration and research.”

“The federal oversight and licensing of commercial space technologies will require a workforce qualified to certify the safety and efficiency of those breakthroughs," Hyde-Smith said in a statement. "The LIFTS Act would tap the expertise based at the Stennis Space Center to establish a facility to meet this critical need.”

"For nearly 60 years, Mississippi has been a leader in rocket engine testing and certification of systems and workforce," Gov. Phil Bryant said. "When certifying rockets for space flight, it has been said ‘man may go to the moon and return safely to earth but he will have to pass through Mississippi to get there.’ As this bill is considered, my hope is that the existing experience in Mississippi is used as the foundation to train the next generation of space explorers.”

The LIFTS Act would establish a facility to train federal employees to license commercial space activities, Hyde-Smith said. The training program would be coordinated between the Federal Aviation Administration, NASA, the commercial space industry, and academic partners.

This past July, Bryant signed executive order 1445, establishing a Space Force within the Mississippi Army National Guard, that would be headquartered at Stennis.

Bryant also named Patrick Scheuermann, former director of Stennis Space Center, to head the Space Commercialization Initiative for Mississippi. He will be working with Mississippi Development Authority full time to position the state as a leader for what is the next space race.

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