BATON ROUGE, La. - Patrick Scheuermann, director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., met May 8 with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and key members of the state Legislature. His visit was part of "NASA Day in Baton Rouge," designed to honor NASA's historic and ongoing partnership with the people and industry of Louisiana, boosting the state's economy and furthering the nation's work in space.
Scheuermann met with Louisiana legislators including La. State Sen. Jack Donahue, chairman of the State Finance Committee, and La. State Rep. Charles Kleckley, speaker of the State House. Other members of the NASA workforce were on hand to talk with officials and members of the public about the science, engineering and exploration exhibits on display in the state Capitol building - all demonstrating the space agency's work in Louisiana and around the country.
NASA's longtime history in the state is anchored by the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, where a highly skilled workforce has long built and assembled large, complex space systems and structures for vital NASA programs and projects - from Apollo-era rockets to the 136 external fuel tanks which lifted the space shuttle to orbit during its 30-year history.
Now workers at the Michoud facility, managed for NASA by the Marshall Center, are manufacturing and assembling hardware for the Space Launch System heavy-lift launch vehicle and the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. Managed at Marshall, the Space Launch System will carry explorers to new solar-system destinations in the coming decade.
"NASA's investment in Louisiana - as evidenced by our hard work at Michoud in New Orleans and our continuing, joint industry and academic endeavors - plays a vital part in supporting the agency's mission of discovery and exploration," Scheuermann said.
"In turn, NASA and Marshall help sustain a vibrant New Orleans economy, and NASA strives to create new employment opportunities and strong partnerships of benefit all across the state of Louisiana," he added.
The Michoud Assembly Facility alone employs an estimated 2,700 people, and NASA helps to generate thousands of additional jobs across the state. The space agency's economic impact includes more than $109 million in obligated funds within the state, according to 2011 findings - including nearly $107 million in business with large and small Louisiana companies; $1.2 million for educational institutions including Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and the University of New Orleans and Tulane University in New Orleans; nearly $1 million to other government entities; and approximately $100,000 to nonprofit institutions.
And NASA and the state recently signed a five-year extension for the jointly funded National Center for Advanced Manufacturing, a principal NASA resource in Louisiana which supports aerospace manufacturing research, development and innovation critical to the agency's goals.
"We are poised to enter a truly exciting new era in the nation's space program," Scheuermann said. "Louisiana is helping NASA make that happen."
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