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February 10, 2017: NASA Status Update on Tornado Recovery at Michoud Assembly Facility

Michoud Assembly Facility director Keith Hefner
Michoud Assembly Facility director Keith Hefner, center, briefs emergency operations team members at the New Orleans’s facility following the Feb. 7 tornado strike. Credits: NASA/Jude Guidry

The onsite teams at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans are making steady progress as they continue with recovery efforts from Tuesday’s tornado strike. The primary goal is to bring all facility systems including power and utilities online and have them fully functioning as soon as possible. Visible and physical surveys of most areas have been completed and work is underway to repair roofs and damage. Only three buildings have significant damage.

Tenants are being allowed to return in a methodical manner as their work areas are determined to be safe and secure. U.S. Coast Guard facilities received no damage, and employees reported back to work today. Syncom Space Services (S3), Inc. contractors who provide support functions to Michoud have returned to work to expedite recovery and repairs.

Lighting has been restored to most areas of the main manufacturing building where the Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft flight hardware are being built and full power is expected soon. The SLS and Orion tooling and hardware that has been assessed so far is undamaged. Further assessments are being completed as more areas are made safe to enter. Some Boeing employees have returned to work to continue manufacturing the SLS core stage and to help with ongoing inspections of tooling and hardware.

The Feb. 8 imposed temporary flight restrictions over the area remain in effect to ensure recovery and operations crews can complete their work without interference from other drones or low-flying aircraft.

Access to Michoud through the weekend remains restricted to security and emergency operations crews, and employees who have been cleared for entry to either resume operations or help with recovery. Employees need to contact their management about specific plans for returning to work.