When NASA ended the space shuttle, it seemed Michoud might be left for space junk. But, new space projects have emerged for the New Orleans East facility to help build. First, the facility was helpling to build a protoype for the Orion capsule, which people who like space travel want to use to get to an asteroid. Yesterday, Sen. David Vitter gave word that New Orleans will help build the jets to get astronauts out that far, too.
IF (and that's a bigger if than we can type here) there are no funding setbacks, the space program's 30-story heavy-lift rocket is scheduled for its first manned launch in 2021. Though no one has publicly laid out specifics on what parts of the rocket the plant will have a part in, Michoud will construct components of the rocket that will likely be similar to what the facility built for the shuttle and Apollo programs. Thousands of jobs that were on the skids at the end of the shuttle program are likely to be restored.
“Michoud is the only NASA facility that is currently ready to do the large manufacturing that will be required for the heavy-lift rocket," Vitter said.