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Louisiana Gov. Blanco, Key NASA Leaders, Others to Break Ground for New Structure at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans Dec. 18
Kim Newton
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.

Marie Centanni
Press Secretary, Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
Baton Rouge, La.

Media advisory: M07-141

What: On Dec. 18, NASA and Louisiana leaders will break ground for a $40 million, five-story Research and Development Administration Building at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco; Michael Olivier, Louisiana state secretary of economic development; Robert Lightfoot, deputy director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.; and Sheila Cloud, transition director of the Michoud Facility, will participate in the groundbreaking.

The new 120,000-square-foot facility is funded by the state of Louisiana through the University of New Orleans Research & Technical Foundation and the Louisiana Office of Economic Development as part of a long-term partnership agreement with NASA. It will contain administrative offices, a conference center, and collaborative research and development space for NASA's key partner organizations, including the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing. The center, formed in 1999 by NASA, the state of Louisiana and the University of New Orleans, seeks to fulfill the technology needs of aerospace and commercial markets.

NASA has selected Michoud to support a number of major projects for the Constellation Program, which is developing NASA's next generation of crew exploration and launch vehicles. Michoud will manufacture and assemble the upper stage of the Ares I crew launch vehicle, the core stage and Earth departure stage of the Ares V cargo launch vehicle and the Orion crew exploration vehicle -- the spacecraft that will carry a new generation of explorers to Earth orbit, to the moon and beyond.

Who: Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco, Economic Development Secretary Michael Olivier, Marshall Center Deputy Director Robert Lightfoot and Michoud Transition Director Sheila Cloud

When: 11 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 18

Where: Michoud Assembly Facility, East New Orleans. The groundbreaking will be held at the site of the new building; a reception in Building 351 will follow.

A media availability with Blanco, Olivier, Lightfoot and Cloud will be held immediately after the groundbreaking ceremony. Media interested in arranging interviews should contact Kimberly Newton at 256-544-0034 or Rick Smith at 256-544-3248, no later than 6 p.m. CST Monday, Dec. 17. Interested media must arrive no later than 10:30 a.m. Dec. 18 at Building 350 for badging. Buses will be on hand to transport guests to the groundbreaking site.

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