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NASA's 'office park for rocket scientists' could be coming to New Orleans East

The campus would build on the foundation of the 43 acres of climate-controlled manufacturing space that already is home to Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

NEW ORLEANS — Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Wednesday that the state has signed an agreement with NASA that could create a 50-acre Louisiana Space Campus within the agency’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans East.

NASA and Louisiana Economic Development signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the development of the space campus. Edwards said the space campus would target commercial office development and provide new amenities for existing businesses at the Michoud site. 

The campus would build on the foundation of the 43 acres of climate-controlled manufacturing space that already is home to Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

Boeing is currently assembling the Space Launch System - “the world’s most powerful rocket engine” - and the Artemis rocket and Lockheed Martin is building the Orion crew capsule at the MAF. Both systems are critical for NASA’s plans for manned missions to the Moon and beyond.

“From the days of the Apollo missions to the development of the Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft, we have long looked to Michoud for a glimpse at our destiny in space. The Louisiana Space Campus will help us fulfill that destiny,” Edwards said.

New Orleans leaders praised the project as an economic boon to the region. Mayor LaToya Cantrell said the agreement could bring transformative development in New Orleans East.

“A Louisiana Space Campus will not only provide jobs and economic opportunity, but will also inspire us all, particularly our young people, to dream big and boldly,” Cantrell said.

“The creation of an ‘office park for rocket scientists’ would not only support NASA, and America’s space mission, but would also create a physical hub for hundreds of STEM-related jobs in the region and state,” said President and CEO Michael Hecht of GNO Inc.

The governor said the project would mirror the Water Campus located between downtown Baton Rouge and Louisiana State University which has attracted $100 million in public and private investment in its first phase.

“NASA is excited to enter into this MOU with the State of Louisiana to explore the concept of the Louisiana Space Campus,” NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility director Robert Champion said. “For 60 years, NASA has enjoyed a great partnership with Louisiana that has propelled the success of our nation to launch humans into space. 

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