Press Release

NASA’s Marshall Center Supports Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts

By SpaceRef Editor
September 3, 2005
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NASA’s Marshall Center Supports Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., is providing aid and resources to NASA personnel, their families and two Agency facilities recovering from Hurricane Katrina.

NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Gulfport, Miss., and the Michoud Assembly Facility near New Orleans were hit hard by Katrina. Approximately 3,500 NASA civil service and contractor employees work at the two sites, in addition to some 4,600 employees of other federal agencies.

The Marshall Center is working to restore communications and power to both facilities, and to deliver supplies to recovery teams and on-site personnel. The first of numerous transports — an Army helicopter loaned to Marshall by Redstone Arsenal — left Marshall Aug. 30, carrying security personnel and engineers to help secure the Michoud facility, set up emergency communications equipment and aid in damage assessment.

For more than a week, trucks from the Marshall Center have traveled to Stennis, delivering building supplies, construction tools, tarps and a variety of personal items, from groceries and bottled water to diapers and medicine. The Army helicopter and another provided by NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Fla., are daily flying supplies and equipment from Stennis to Michoud, which remains accessible only by air until flood waters recede.

On Friday, engineers at Marshall established a 10-megabyte communications link with Stennis. The temporary system will carry voice and data messages, speeding up the recovery process until normal communications resume. Marshall also will send three large power generators — back-up systems for the fleet of generators now servicing Stennis and Michoud until routine power is restored.

On Sunday, seven NASA mechanics, three electricians and three engineers will fly from Marshall to Mississippi to relieve Stennis Center workers. They are expected to be the first of several NASA teams rotating in and out of the affected centers, coming from NASA field sites all over the nation. Regular flights from Marshall to Stennis will continue to bring in goods and supplies, including portable air conditioning units, washers and dryers and other equipment.

The Marshall Center has called upon its workforce to open their homes to families of displaced Stennis and Michoud employees in coming days, helping them get back on their feet as recovery efforts continue across the southern coast. Marshall teams are working with the local chapter of the American Red Cross and with Huntsville Mayor Loretta Spencer’s office to ensure NASA efforts are coordinated with the overall community response.

The Marshall Center also is partnering with Huntsville City Schools to enroll children of impacted NASA employees in local schools, and also will partner with the City of Madison and Madison County Schools to accommodate additional children of displaced employees.

Numerous Stennis and Michoud employees will be provided work accommodations at the Marshall Center and other field centers until their own offices are restored.

Activated in the wake of the Aug. 29 disaster, the Marshall Center’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is coordinating with the NASA Headquarters EOC and other EOCs throughout the Agency. Peter W. Allen, director of emergency management at Marshall, is coordinating the Center’s role.

Stennis Space Center primarily serves as a key hardware and engine testing facility for NASA. The Michoud Assembly Facility is responsible for constructing the massive Space Shuttle External Tanks that help lift the Shuttle to orbit.

NASA has designated a telephone number (877/470-5240) for displaced employees to call for assistance and to advise NASA of their whereabouts. Family members also may use the number to inquire about employees and others sheltering at Stennis and Michoud. For contact information for employees and contractors, or for general public information, visit:

In addition, NASA has established a toll-free number (888/362-4323) for recorded updates about general conditions at Stennis and Michoud. For updates on the Web, visit:

For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.