Status Report

Internal Lockheed Martin Memo From Marshall Byrd To Michoud Employees Regarding Shuttle External Tank Contract Changes

By SpaceRef Editor
January 26, 2006
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Internal Lockheed Martin Memo From Marshall Byrd To Michoud Employees Regarding Shuttle External Tank Contract Changes


Date: January 25, 2006
To: Michoud Operations Employees
From: Marshall Byrd, Vice President & General Manager
Subject: ET Contract Changes

For the past two years, NASA and the Space Shuttle program have planned for the safe, successful fly-out of the shuttle by 2010 and transition to the execution of the Vision for Space Exploration. Over the last several weeks, significant actions have been taken to both initiate the end of the shuttle era and to define its replacement.

On January 11, NASA issued its Call for Improvements for the Crew Exploration Vehicle – the shuttle replacement – with the intent of selecting a winner by summer from the competing Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman- Boeing teams. Then last week, we received direction to accomplish the work necessary to reduce our existing contract deliveries from 35 External Tanks to a total of 18.

As a result of this direction, we have begun the process of terminating the contracts of suppliers who have already provided sufficient materials to support the production of 18 Sixth Buy tanks. About 100 suppliers will be affected, with the majority in the greater Los Angeles area, although others reside in Alabama, New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oregon and Vermont. This action was long expected and now defines our future requirements in support of the Space Shuttle program.

Having already delivered two Sixth Buy tanks to NASA, it means that we have 16 more tanks to complete and others to retrofit. It will be a significant challenge to complete all this work in order to support program termination in less than six years. With just the required activities that we know to date, I foresee no impact to Michoud Operations employment as a result of this announcement.

The safe, successful fly-out of the Space Shuttle program is critical to the future success of both America’s space program and Michoud Operations. As we slowly wind down External Tank work, I fully expect to see Crew Exploration Vehicle, Crew Launch Vehicle and future heavy lift launch vehicle work coming to Michoud.

Receiving NASA direction for the External Tank project confirms our required support to the Space Shuttle program; it does not limit our future opportunities and success. Our transition to support of the Vision for Space Exploration is already in motion. Today’s ET work will provide the momentum that leads to tomorrow’s successes. I look forward to sharing them together with you.


Marshall Byrd

SpaceRef staff editor.