NASA Facilities Affected by Hurricane Katrina

NASA is marshaling agency resources to assist Gulf Coast-area facilities that suffered damage from Hurricane Katrina. The agency is preparing to provide help for NASA employees and contractors whose homes were damaged or destroyed.

Monday’s storm hit NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, which is operated by Lockheed Martin. There are no reports of any injuries at NASA facilities. Both facilities are closed during recovery efforts.

Stennis provided shelter to 4,000 people — NASA employees, contractors and family members and stranded local residents — as the hurricane moved through. Stennis is still being used as a shelter location and the Center’s parking lot is being used by Federal Emergency Management Agency officials as a staging area for recovery operations. A small contingency of NASA employees and contractors rode out the storm at Michoud.

“My heart goes out to all the people affected by the hurricane,” said NASA Administrator Mike Griffin. “I will be visiting the Stennis Space Center and Michoud Assembly Facility as soon as possible.” Administrator Griffin also encouraged employees who want to get involved to contribute to the NASA Families Assistance Fund.

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., sustained minor damage and is providing support to Stennis and Michoud. Two helicopter flights from Marshall were delivering communication equipment and other supplies to the facilities Tuesday. Initial damage assessments indicate some buildings at Stennis sustained water and roof damage, but the exact extent has not been determined. The center’s Space Shuttle main engine test stands do not appear to be damaged.

At Michoud, which makes the Space Shuttle’s external fuel tanks, several buildings suffered window and roof damage. It appears that space flight hardware was not damaged, but a preliminary assessment has not been completed. The facility has no electrical power and communication is limited. Debris on roadways is restricting transportation around the facility.

NASA will provide new information as it becomes available.


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