In 1961 President J.F. Kennedy announced plans to send man into space through space travel to the moon. The John C. Stennis Space Center (SSC) is a NASA rocket testing facility. It is located in Hancock County, Mississippi, on the banks of the Pearl River at the Mississippi–Louisiana border. As of 2012, it is NASA’s largest rocket engine test facility. There are over 30 local, state, national, international, private, and public companies and agencies using SSC for their rocket testing facilities. NASA announced formation of the Mississippi Test Facility (now known as Stennis Space Center) on Oct. 25, 1961, for testing engines for the Apollo Program. A high-terrace area bordering the East Pearl River in Hancock County, Mississippi, was selected for its location. NASA entrusted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with the difficult task to procure each land parcel either by directly purchasing the land or through acquisition of a perpetual easement. The actual test facility includes about 13,500 acres of land, but the larger Space Center itself encompasses a much larger 125,000 acre buffer zone to make sure resulting noises don’t adversely impact people in surrounding communities. The 13,500 acres (55 km2) site was selected on October 25, 1961 on the Mississippi Test Facility or Pearl River Site. On December 18, 1961 NASA officially designated the facility as NASA Mississippi Test Operations. The test area (officially known as the Fee Area) is surrounded by a 125,000 acre (506 km²) acoustical buffer zone. The facility’s large concrete and metal rocket propulsion test stands were originally used to test-fire the first and second stages of the Saturn V rockets. The facility was renamed again to Mississippi Test Facility on July 1, 1965 and became a part of the Marshall Space Flight Center. NASA Stennis Space Center has tested the engines for each of the 135 shuttle missions.