Aug. 31, 2005 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. Both facilities are closed during recovery efforts. During the storm, hundreds of people including employees, family members and others took shelter at Stennis. A small contingency of NASA employees and contractors rode out the storm at Michoud. There are no reports of any injuries at NASA facilities.
"My heart goes out to all the people affected by this hurricane," said NASA Administrator Michael Griffin. "I will be visiting Stennis and the Michoud Assembly Facility soon to talk with our people."
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 today. Initial damage assessments indicate some buildings at Stennis sustained water and roof damage, but the exact extent has not been determined.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is using the center as a staging area for local recovery efforts. 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.
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