Governor inks deal with NASA to create ‘Louisiana Space Campus’ 50-acre business park


    NASA’s Ground Transportation team guides NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s completed core stage from NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans to the agency’s Pegasus barge on Jan. 8. (Image via NASA/Tyler Martin).

    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.

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    Wesley Muller
    Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the following 22 years since then, he has worked as a journalist for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. Much of his work has involved reporting on First Amendment issues and watchdog coverage of municipal and state government. He has received several honors and recognitions, including McClatchy's National President's Award, the Associated Press Freedom of Information Award, and the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award from the Mississippi Press Association, among others. Muller is a New Orleans native, a Jesuit High School alumnus, a University of New Orleans alumnus, a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper, and an adjunct English teacher at Baton Rouge Community College. He lives in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, with his teenage son and his wife, who is also a journalist.