NEW ORLEANS – When NASA sends astronauts from the earth to Mars, the journey will take about nine months. But getting to the point of liftoff for that flight has taken years, and the talent of scientists and engineers in New Orleans.
NASA’s Artemis space program is projected to send an un-crewed Orion space capsule on a trip around the Moon later this year. A future flight will carry four astronauts in the Orion crew capsule for a spin around the Moon, in preparation for NASA’s ultimate goal: sending astronauts to Mars.
But what many New Orleanians don’t know is that both the Orion capsule and the rocket that will propel it into space are being put together in our own backyard– at Michoud Assembly Facility.
Before the end of the shuttle program in 2011, the shuttle’s external fuel tanks were produced at Michoud, and before that– in World War II– some of the famous Higgins boats were built there.
Now, Lockheed Martin is assembling the Orion crew capsule, and Boeing is building the rocket.
And our neighbors in Mississippi have a role in the Mars mission as well– before the rocket is shipped to Kennedy Space Center for liftoff, it’s tested at Stennis Space Center.
You can get a glimpse of how the future of space flight is taking shape today at Michoud, in our story above.