Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards joined NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Director Todd May to announce significant growth at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility, including progress and job growth in the assembly of NASA’s Orion crew capsule and Space Launch System rocket, the major components being built in New Orleans that will convey future U.S. missions to space. The leaders were joined by state, local and private sector officials, including executives from Boeing, new Michoud Assembly Facility tenant Sinter Metal Technologies, and expanding tenant Advanced Cutting Solutions.
State leaders, including Louisiana Community and Technical College System President Monty Sullivan, also announced plans to create an aerospace manufacturing center of excellence at nearby Nunez Community College, where students will be trained for aerospace-related careers at Michoud Assembly Facility and with other regional employers.
Major NASA initiatives underway at Michoud Assembly Facility include development of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen tanks, major components of the Space Launch System. The SLS is a deep-space rocket that will propel NASA’s Orion capsule into space. Boeing leads SLS production operations at Michoud, while Lockheed Martin is the lead contractor for assembly of the Orion capsule.
Boeing employs approximately 600 people at Michoud, having added more than 200 highly technical jobs this year in Louisiana, where the majority of its workforce supports the Space Launch System program. As the space industry grows, Boeing anticipates additional job growth in the future. Michoud also is home to the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing. NCAM represents a partnership of NASA, the State of Louisiana, Louisiana State University and the University of New Orleans that supports major industrial and aerospace employers, such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin, and attracts additional advanced manufacturing projects from the private sector.
Gov. Edwards also announced that the Liechtenstein-based owners of a company affiliated with Sinter Metal Technologies plan to make a $5 million capital investment at Michoud Assembly Facility and create 15 new direct jobs. In addition, existing Michoud tenant Advance Cutting Solutions LLC will create 30 new direct jobs at the facility.
“Clearly, our longstanding relationship with NASA is paying big dividends for Louisiana and New Orleans,” Gov. Edwards said. “Our National Center for Advanced Manufacturing, coupled with our aerospace training initiative at Nunez Community College, are positioning Michoud Assembly Facility for a new aerospace era that will drive innovation, employment and economic growth for Louisiana. We are happy to be home to NASA’s assembly operations — more than 2 million square feet under roof — in one of the world’s most advanced manufacturing facilities that is attracting new investment and jobs for our people.”
SLS workers at Michoud are building segments of the first rocket that will carry an uncrewed Orion capsule on a test flight. With NASA’s eventual plans to send a crew and cargo on Orion, the New Orleans SLS team led by Boeing will develop a larger in-space, upper-stage portion of the rocket, capable of propelling a heavier payload beyond the Earth’s gravitational pull. The SLS will be a key component, along with the Orion spacecraft, that allows NASA to send humans beyond low-Earth orbit – for the first time since the Apollo missions – and eventually to asteroids, Mars and more. Michoud is managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
“NASA’s valuable and collaborative relationship with the State of Louisiana advances America’s advanced manufacturing capabilities and helps NASA succeed in our human exploration mission,” May said. “With the support of the State of Louisiana, we’ve created a world-class manufacturing hub right here in New Orleans at the Michoud Assembly Facility.”
Chief Engineer Mike Wood of Boeing’s Space Launch System Program praised the New Orleans workforce for its dedication to returning American astronauts to deep space. Boeing is responsible for the design, production, testing and integration of the core stages and avionics for the new NASA rocket.
“We’ve been ramping up production for the Space Launch System, relying on critical skills in fabrication and production,” Wood said. “We applaud the State of Louisiana for investing in training programs at Nunez Community College that will help provide a skilled workforce.
Also at Michoud, Sinter Metal Technologies co-CEOs Tilsim and Rudolf von Liechtenstein plan a $5 million investment to develop a sintering facility that bonds powder-based metals into extremely strong, precision parts. The new project will occupy available space at Michoud, and will create 15 new direct jobs with an average salary of $55,000 per year, plus benefits. LED estimates the project will result in 28 indirect jobs, for a total of 43 new jobs.
The latest of many foreign direct investment projects to select the state, the project represents the first capital investment project in Louisiana from the Republic of Turkey and the Principality of Liechtenstein. To secure the project in New Orleans, the State of Louisiana offered a competitive incentive package that includes the comprehensive workforce solutions of LED FastStart®, as well as a performance-based, forgivable loan of $250,000 from the state’s Economic Development Award Program. The project also is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs Program.
“We chose New Orleans, as we personally like the place and its environment,” Tilsim von Liechtenstein said. “The caliber of the people we met, the quality of the help, and the streamlined manner in which things are done, along with a plug-and-play facility offered by Michoud amounted to a proposal we could not ignore. For the kind of startup we are looking at forming, it quickly became clear that this is the best opportunity we could think of.”
Advanced Cutting Solutions executive Peter Schneeweiss announced the manufacturing company is retaining three jobs, creating 30 new direct jobs, and making a $500,000 capital investment at its operations in Michoud. The new positions will come with an average annual salary of $40,000, plus benefits. Founded in 2013, Advanced Cutting Solutions specializes in kit-cutting for composite materials serving the wind-energy and maritime industries. To secure the Advanced Cutting Solutions expansion, the State of Louisiana offered the company a competitive incentive package that includes the workforce solutions of LED FastStart, the No. 1 state workforce program in the U.S. The company also is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.
“Advanced Cutting Solutions is committed to working with the renewable energy industry to reduce costs and increase productivity,” said Schneeweiss, vice president of Advanced Cutting Solutions. “We look forward to working with our Governor, Louisiana Economic Development, and the Michoud Assembly Facility to create an environment where Advanced Cutting Solutions can provide quality jobs to the residents of Louisiana, continue to grow, and be competitive in a global market.”
The new investment and jobs created at Michoud represent a significant milestone for the facility, which is strategically equipped and situated for advanced manufacturing and aerospace companies. The latest announcement welcomes approximately 245 new direct jobs to the region.
“I’m thrilled to welcome new jobs from Boeing, Sinter Metal Technologies and Advanced Cutting Solutions to our great city,” said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “This is truly a great day for the New Orleans economy and a clear sign of confidence in investing in New Orleans East. Our business attraction efforts are paying off and the future of our city is bright. As we near our 300th anniversary, these announcements are proof that our city is headed toward its best days.”
With workforce demand increasing at Michoud, nearby Nunez Community College is working with Michoud tenants and industrial partners, including Boeing, to develop training programs that directly match the skills required for work at Michoud. The Louisiana Community and Technical College System, or LCTCS, and Louisiana Economic Development are supporting the expanded opportunities in aerospace and advanced manufacturing. LED is providing $500,000 to expand the training programs at Nunez, with LCTCS contributing a matching $500,000.
“Governor Edwards has worked to diversify the state’s economy by growing manufacturing jobs with great corporate partners like Boeing,” LCTCS President Monty Sullivan said. “Today, we are investing jointly with Louisiana Economic Development in the latest in training equipment necessary for our people to gain the skills of today and tomorrow. Together, Nunez Community College and our industry partners here at Michoud are building a brighter future for the people of Southeast Louisiana."
The Michoud Assembly Facility is a significant asset for Louisiana’s attraction of new investment or expansion projects by companies in the aerospace and advanced manufacturing sectors, two of Louisiana Economic Development’s target industries.
“Today’s announcement underscores the opportunity in the advanced manufacturing sector of our region, especially at the Michoud Assembly Facility,” said President and CEO Michael Hecht of Greater New Orleans Inc. “GNO Inc. is proud to have played a key role in recruiting a leading metal technology company with roots in Turkey and Liechtenstein to New Orleans, and to have supported the favorable business climate that underpinned the expansion of Boeing and Advanced Cutting Solutions. The future of advanced manufacturing and the Michoud Assembly Facility is bright.”
NASA's vision: We reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind. Michoud supports several major projects for America's next generation of space transportation vehicles, including NASA's Space Launch System(SLS) heavy-lift rocket and the Orion spacecraft. Michoud's highly skilled work force is manufacturing and assembling Orion and also will build the critical core stage of the SLS, which will extend human presence farther into space than we have ever traveled before. Michoud is also home to the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing in partnership with the State of Louisiana, the University of New Orleans and Louisiana State University to support aerospace manufacturing research, development and innovation critical to the goals of the nation's space program.