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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Hurricane Ida landfalling in Louisiana. pic.twitter.com/Z8uHSlhFQrAugust 29, 2021
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.
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