Welcome to the sixth installment in our series on NASA facilities. In this article, we are going to focus on some of the smaller, lesser-known, NASA locations. We hope you enjoy the journey.
Michoud Assembly Facility
This NASA facility gets its name from Antoine Michoud, a Louisiana sugar cane refinery owner in the 1700’s. The U.S. Government purchased the land in 1940 to build a facility to manufacture cargo aircraft, tank engines, and more for the war effort. And in 1961 NASA acquired the facility for assembling rocket stages. For more than 40 years now, the Michoud Assembly Facility has become “America’s rocket factory” and is the preeminent manufacturing site for large-scale space structures and assemblies.
This manufacturing facility is one of the largest in the world, covering 43 acres of manufacturing space under one roof! That is approximately the size of 31 football fields.
Michoud’s mission today is to manufacture and assemble some of the largest rockets NASA has ever produced: the Space Launch System (SLS) core stage. This is the world’s most powerful rocket, as well, and will send the Orion spacecraft, its astronauts, and supplies on the moon exploration mission. At its peak, the SLS measures 322 feet tall.
Already Michoud has delivered the core stage for Artemis I to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center where it is being prepared for the first integrated flight of the SLS and the Orion spacecraft. Teams at Michoud are continuing to construct the core stages for three (3) more SLS rockets to support missions to the Moon and Mars.
NASA Safety Center
NASA’s Safety Center (NSC) is located in Cleveland, OH, and is part of the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance. It was founded in October, 2006. The NSC offers professional development opportunities to equip Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) community members with the knowledge, skills and tools needed to do their jobs with confidence. This includes training in NASA’s SMA Technical Excellence Program, or STEP.
The NSC manages the Agency’s Safety and Mission Assurance assessments, audits and investigations. It supports all SMA disciplines to help customers identify, assess and mitigate issues, concerns, and risks.
The main goal of the NSC is mishap prevention. By supporting risk assessment and mitigation, and by sharing data across all of the Agency’s facilities, the NSC helps reduce the occurrence of similar incidents and promotes a more resilient NASA.
NASA Shared Services Center
NASA Shared Services Center (NSSC) is located at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The NSSC provides more than sixty (60) business activities to the 10 NASA Centers to increase operational efficiency and improve overall customer service by performing a variety of functions in the areas of Financial Management, Procurement, Human Resources, Enterprise Services and Agency Business Support.
There’s more to NASA than just Johnson and Kennedy Space Centers. It takes a lot of people working together to make such a difference to drive U.S. space exploration forward. Many of those people are hidden in plain sight, in communities that you not have heard about.
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