Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an agreement Wednesday with NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility that could lead to the creation of the Louisiana Space Campus, a 50-acre business park within NASA’s 829-acre site in New Orleans.
NASA and Louisiana Economic Development signed a memorandum of understanding, or MOU, to mutually explore development of the space campus to its “highest and best use,” according to a press release from the governor’s office. The space campus would target commercial office development for existing Michoud tenants and new prospects from the public and private sector to support the Michoud facility and other industry in New Orleans East.
“This year, as we celebrate 60 years of NASA’s operation of the Michoud Assembly Facility, we proudly announce a new chapter in this site’s storied history,” Gov. Edwards said. “We are excited about partnering with NASA for the development of the Louisiana Space Campus, and we look forward to the future tenants who would locate here. 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.”
Development of the Louisiana Space Campus would mirror the Water Campus located between downtown Baton Rouge and Louisiana State University’s main campus. The 35-acre Water Campus has attracted more than $100 million in public and private investment during its first phase, with long-range plans projecting a potential 4,000 scientists, engineers, researchers and support personnel connected to the campus. In New Orleans, about 3,500 jobs already are associated with Michoud operations, including the U.S. Coast Guard’s Base New Orleans that supports more than 900 regional personnel.
The main building at Michoud encompasses 43 acres of climate-controlled manufacturing space, and hosts both government and commercial tenants, including Boeing, which is assembling the Space Launch System, or SLS Artemis rocket; and Lockheed Martin, which is developing the Orion crew capsule. The site has a history of hosting defense and civil agencies and contractors. The Louisiana Space Campus would build on that foundation with a new initiative to attract leading-edge tenants, the press release said.
Business investment at the space campus would not be limited to aerospace functions, but businesses in that sector would be encouraged to explore the possibilities of the new campus. NASA would have the ability to evaluate potential tenants, ensuring that there are no security or environmental concerns for the broader Michoud site.