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Media Invited Thursday, July 19 to Attend NASA Briefing and Facility Tour at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans
Kim Newton
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.

Media advisory: M07-083

What: Members of the news media are invited to attend a NASA briefing and facility tour Thursday, July 19, at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The event will highlight the role of the Michoud complex in manufacturing large structures and composites for the Orion crew exploration vehicle, the spacecraft that will carry up to six astronauts to space. Making its first flights early in the next decade, Orion is part of NASA's Constellation Program to send human explorers back to the moon and then onward to Mars and other destinations in the solar system.

Managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., the Michoud manufacturing facility contains one of the largest production buildings in the nation, which includes a vertical assembly building for stacking external tank components for the Space Shuttle Program. The external tank is the single largest element of the shuttle, 27.6 feet in diameter and standing as tall as a 15-story building.

Michoud has been selected by NASA to support several major projects for the Constellation Program, which is responsible for development of NASA's next-generation of crew exploration and launch vehicles. Including Orion, the facility will manufacture and assemble the upper stages of the Ares I and Ares V launch vehicles. Michoud is also the site chosen for the assembly of a commercial vehicle for NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) project, a NASA effort to partner with industry to deliver crew and cargo to the International Space Station.

Who: NASA speakers will include Sheila Cloud, transition director at the Michoud facility; Caris "Skip" Hatfield, project manager for the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston; Cleon Lacefield, vice president and Orion program manager at Lockheed Martin Corp. in Houston; and Jim Bray, the Lockheed Martin Orion program manager of Michoud operations in New Orleans.

Michoud also will welcome Jim Landry, director of Advanced Materials of the Louisiana Department of Economic Development.

Thursday, July 19, 2007
9:30-10:15 a.m. CDT -- Speaker presentations
10:15-10:30 a.m. -- Media interview opportunities
10:30-11:30 a.m. -- Facility tour

Where: NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans East, off Interstate 510, Exit 246A

To Attend: News media interested in covering the event should contact Kim Newton at 256-544-0371 no later than Wednesday, July 18. To attend the event, media must report to the lobby of Michoud Building 101 with photo identification.