Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced this week that the State of Louisiana has signed an agreement with NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility to create the Louisiana Space Campus, a dedicated 50-acre business park within NASA’s 829-acre site in New Orleans.
The space campus would target commercial office development, with contemporary amenities, for existing Michoud tenants and new prospects from the public and private sector to support Michoud Assembly Facility and other industry in New Orleans East. NASA and Louisiana Economic Development signed a memorandum of understanding, or MOU, to mutually explore development of the space campus to its highest and best use.
“This year, as we celebrate 60 years of NASA’s operation of the Michoud Assembly Facility, we proudly announce a new chapter in this site’s storied history,” said Gov. Edwards. “We are excited about partnering with NASA for the development of the Louisiana Space Campus, and we look forward to the future tenants who would locate here. From the days of the Apollo missions to the development of the Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft, we have long looked to Michoud for a glimpse at our destiny in space. The Louisiana Space Campus will help us fulfill that destiny.”
The main building at Michoud Assembly Facility, or MAF, encompasses 43 acres of climate-controlled manufacturing space, and hosts both government and commercial tenants, including Boeing, which is assembling the Space Launch System, or SLS, Artemis rocket; and Lockheed Martin, which is developing the Orion crew capsule. The site has an extensive history of hosting defense and civil agencies, along with contractors that support the development of technological products and services. The Louisiana Space Campus would build on that foundation with a new initiative to attract leading-edge tenants.
“NASA is excited to enter into this MOU with the State of Louisiana to explore the concept of the Louisiana Space Campus,” said Director Robert Champion of NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility. “For 60 years, NASA has enjoyed a great partnership with Louisiana that has propelled the success of our nation to launch humans into space. This MOU represents an opportunity to further strengthen that partnership as the work at MAF moves us a step closer to landing the first woman and next man on the moon.”
MAF has been dedicated to NASA activities since 1961, including the development and construction of space vehicles. Major achievements include building Saturn V rockets for 13 Apollo and Skylab missions; development of 135 external tanks that fueled Space Shuttle flights; and current SLS rocket and Orion crew capsule assembly. Prior to NASA’s takeover of the site, Michoud served as the home of continuous government interagency activity since the 1940s, including assembly of Sherman and Patton tank engines by the Chrysler Corp.
In New Orleans, some 3,500 jobs already are associated with Michoud Assembly Facility operations, including the U.S. Coast Guard’s Base New Orleans that supports more than 900 regional personnel.