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Latest News at Michoud Assembly Facility

Space Launch System: Tooling Up to Build the World's Largest Rocket

Vertical Weld Center Artist illustration of the Vertical Weld Center. (NASA/MAF)
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A wrench and hammer might be good for some building projects, but the nuts and bolts found in a standard garage toolbox definitely wouldn't hit the nail on the head when it comes to constructing a 321-foot, 5.5 million-pound rocket. That's why engineers at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans are installing massive tools -- one more than 170 feet tall -- specifically designed and built to weld together pieces of the core stage of the Space Launch System (SLS) -- NASA's new heavy-lift rocket that will send humans to deep space destinations, including an asteroid and Mars.

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Aerial view of the manufacturing plant which houses the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility.

An aerial view of the primary manufacturing facility at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. (LMSSC-MO)
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Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans is a world-class manufacturing facility providing vital support to NASA exploration and discovery missions. Michoud is NASA-owned and managed for the agency by the Marshall Space Flight Center. Michoud's capabilities include the manufacture and assembly of critical hardware components for exploration vehicles under development at Marshall and other NASA centers.

Michoud is unique in that it contains one of the largest production buildings in the nation. Its vertical assembly building proved a critical resource for stacking components of the space shuttle external tank, which was constructed, tested and delivered to NASA's Kennedy Space Center by Michoud throughout the Space Shuttle Program. Between 1979 and 2010, the facility produced 136 tanks; only one of these was never used for spaceflight.

Today, Michoud supports several major projects for America's next generation of space transportation vehicles, including NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket, managed by Marshall, and the Orion spacecraft, managed by Johnson Space Center. Michoud's highly skilled work force is manufacturing and assembling Orion and also will build the critical core stage of the SLS, which is intended to take human explorers farther into our solar system than ever before.

Helping Sustain a Vibrant New Orleans
Marshall also is helping sustain a vital New Orleans economy with employment opportunities at Michoud, partnering with the State of Louisiana and the University of New Orleans, in support of the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing. Marshall works to develop new opportunities for Michoud's manufacturing, testing and laboratory capabilities, and its underused green space and real property.

Requesting Utilization of Michoud: http://mafspace.msfc.nasa.gov/business.html


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Michoud Blog

Exploration Systems Development Programs Cut Ribbon at Michoud
NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations director William Gerstenmaier visited Michoud on June 21 to view progress at Michoud Assembly Facility and Stennis Space Center on the Space Launch System (SLS) and the Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) programs.

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Get the Facts
Get the facts on Michoud Assembly Facility, including the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing.

Michoud Assembly Facility (PDF, 1.65 MB)
› Tenants (PDF, 314 KB)
› Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) Manufacturing Support and Facility Operations Contract (MSFOC) Phase-In Web site

Members of the media, please contact:

Angela Storey
Marshall Space Flight Ctr.


Page Last Updated: January 8th, 2015
Page Editor: Lee Mohon