Friday, January 10, 2014 —
Others include Mobile, Alabama-based American Tank & Vessel Inc. and Decatur, Ala.-based M & D Mechanical Contractors Inc.
The tower is made of millions of pounds of steel - strong enough to hold liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen tanks weighing as much as 320,000 pounds apiece. The stand also includes chemical steam-generator units that would be used to help simulate the engine's ability to power a rocket to altitudes up to 100,000 feet.
Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, then the ranking Republican on the Appropriations Committee, also pushed NASA to complete the test stand.
"It is important that a large emphasis be placed on safety and testing, and we cannot launch any type of vehicle until we test it extensively using NASA's best tools for testing," Cochran said after a 2011 hearing on the agency's budget.
Barney Keller, a spokesman for Club for Growth, a Washington-based group that supports spending cuts and backs a challenger to Cochran in this year's Republican primary, called the A-3 funding "an excellent example of why so many people are fed up with Washington."