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Hurricane Ida puts NASA facilities in Louisiana and Mississippi on lockdown

Hurricane Ida picks up steam in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021.
(Image credit: CIRA/NOAA)

NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and the agency's Stennis Space Center in nearby Hancock County, Mississippi, both faced a wallop from Hurricane Ida as the massive storm made landfall on Sunday (Aug. 29).

Located on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, Michoud and Stennis are no strangers to hurricanes, of course. Both facilities closed for the duration of the storm, with only what NASA dubs "ride-out" personnel on-site — 50 people at each facility, spokespeople for the two facilities told Space.com. The ride-out crews will stay at the facility for the full duration of the hurricane, ensuring safety and monitoring any mission-critical operations that need to proceed throughout the storm.

Those crews are still evaluating the storm's impact, with only initial reports available from each site as of Monday morning (Aug. 30).

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Initial reports from staff at Michoud suggest that the site has weathered the worst of the storm fairly smoothly. Although the site remains closed and is operating on power from generators, all ride-out crewmembers remain accounted for and no injuries have been reported, according to Shannon Segovia, a spokesperson at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, which oversees the facility.

"There's no significant flooding at the facility and at this time we do not believe there is any damage to flight hardware," she told Space.com. Michoud currently hosts parts of the Space Launch System (SLS) rockets for NASA's Artemis 2 and 3 missions that will carry astronauts first around the moon, then to its surface, later this decade.

Email Meghan Bartels at mbartels@space.com or follow her on Twitter @meghanbartels. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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Meghan Bartels

Meghan is a senior writer at Space.com and has more than five years' experience as a science journalist based in New York City. She joined Space.com in July 2018, with previous writing published in outlets including Newsweek and Audubon. Meghan earned an MA in science journalism from New York University and a BA in classics from Georgetown University, and in her free time she enjoys reading and visiting museums. Follow her on Twitter at @meghanbartels.