Recovery efforts are underway at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, which was impacted by a tornado at 11:25 a.m. CST Tuesday. All 3,500 employees at the facility have been accounted for, with five sustaining minor injuries.
“Our hearts go out to our employees and the people in New Orleans who have suffered from this serious storm,” said Keith Hefner, director of the facility. “The safety of our team is always our main concern, and we are pleased to report that we’ve identified only minor injuries.”
The facility is currently closed and will remain closed Wednesday, Feb. 8, with only emergency personnel on site to continue damage assessments. All NASA employees and tenants who are not involved in emergency operations have been evacuated. Local law enforcement helped ensure employees arrived home safely. All utilities and services to the facility are being secured and efforts are underway to restore power.
At this time, emergency personnel have identified damage to building numbers 103, 350 and additional structures. Building 103, Michoud’s main manufacturing building, has roof damage in several areas. Approximately 200 parked cars were damaged, and there was damage to roads and other areas near Michoud.
“Michoud has a comprehensive emergency plan that we activated today to ensure the safety of our people and to secure our facilities,” said Hefner. “I am proud of our dedicated team onsite who are successfully implementing that plan.”
Hardware for NASA’s heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System, and the Orion spacecraft is secure, and no damage from the storm has been idenfied to hardware or the barge Pegasus docked at Michoud.