NASA, its Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and the State of Louisiana honored their enduring partnership in support of the nation’s space goals during the 2015 NASA Louisiana Aerospace Day Thursday, May 14, at the Capitol in Baton Rouge. 

Patrick Scheuermann, director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, which manages Michoud for the space agency, astronaut Rick Mastracchio and other NASA and Michoud representatives met with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and a host of state leaders and lawmakers. NASA’s economic, educational and cultural contributions to the state were recognized by proclamations in the House and Senate, while displays in the rotunda and on the lawn gave Capitol visitors a vivid look at work underway on the Space Launch System, Orion and other NASA projects.

Mastracchio also joined NASA officials and educators for visits to Park Forest Middle School Boys and Girls Club and Scotlandville Magnet High School in Baton Rouge. NASA representatives also visited area universities and other schools and Boys and Girls Clubs to talk about space exploration and the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM education.

For more than 50 years, NASA and Louisiana have worked together to take giant leaps in space exploration, building the giant Saturn V rocket that made it possible for humans to set foot on the moon and tanks for the space shuttles that traveled to and from orbit to build the International Space Station. Today, the unique workforce and capabilities at Michoud are building the core stage of the Space Launch System — to be the most powerful rocket ever built, able to carry explorers on deep-space missions to Mars and back.

The National Center for Advanced Manufacturing, located at Michoud, developed some of the leading-edge tools, techniques and materials being used to build SLS and the Orion spacecraft that will carry explorers on deep-space missions. NCAM, originally formed in 1999, is a partnership among NASA, the State of Louisiana, Louisiana State University and the University of New Orleans. LSU leads NCAM on behalf of the partnership.

“Through NCAM, NASA is expanding its efforts to engage industry and academia on advanced manufacturing topics central to the nation’s space mission, with a particular focus on manufacturing technologies that reduce the weight of materials during space flight,” Scheuermann said. “Advanced manufacturing techniques are essential to creating the rockets and technology that will allow humans to explore deeper into space and make a journey to Mars.”

NCAM had another reason to celebrate on Aerospace Day: the partnership has been awarded a National Institute of Standards and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Technology Planning Grant of $500,000 over two years. The grant will be used to create the Center for Accelerated Development of Large-Scale Structures, a consortium from the aerospace, ship-building and ground-transportation sectors to address common challenges in design and manufacturing.

For more information about NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility, visit:

For more information about NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, visit:

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