Augustine Panel Visits Michoud Assembly Facility
Augustine Panel tours Michoud Assembly Facility. Clyde "Chip" Jones, Michoud Chief Operating Officer, explains the various project work to support the Constellation Program and Space Shuttle Program to members of the Augustine Panel during their June 25 visit. Image credit: Lockheed Martin (Click to view larger image) Members of the U.S. Human Space Flight Committee visited National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA's) Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans June 25.

At the request of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, NASA established the committee to conduct an independent review of ongoing U.S. human space flight plans and programs as well as alternatives. The purpose of the committee is to ensure that NASA is on the right path for the future of human space flight -- one that is safe, innovative, affordable, and sustainable.

The review is being led by an independent, blue-ribbon panel of experts working closely with a NASA team and will be reporting progress on a regular basis to NASA leadership and the Executive Office of the President. The panel is lead by Norm Augustine, retired Lockheed Martin chairman and CEO.

The group visited the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama before flying to New Orleans to tour MAF. MAF is a NASA-owned facility managed by Marshall. MAF contains one of the largest production buildings in the nation, including a vertical assembly building for stacking external tank components for the Space Shuttle Program, which is being retired next year.

The committee toured the facility, reviewing the status of External Tank production, and preparations for Orion crew module and Ares I Upper Stage. Orion and Ares I Upper Stage support NASA’s Constellation Program, which is developing America’s next generation of space transportation vehicles.

Executive director of the committee, Phil McAlister, Bohdan Bejmuk and former astronauts Leroy Chiao and Sally Ride were among members who toured MAF.