NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - "Louisiana occupies a special place in the space program," says Don Pierson.
Major projects for the next generation of space transportation vehicles, including NASA's Space Launch System, are in the works right now at the NASA Michoud facility.
The workforce is assembling ORION, and building the critical core stage that's intended to take explorers farther into the solar system than ever before.
"The world will be watching and Louisiana will have a star role," says Todd May.
With all of the work going on at the facility today several companies are now joining in to be a part of it.
"We're seeing new investments or expansions by companies in the air space fields setting up operations at Michoud," says Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Edwards says the companies are here to be close to the action, make use of the resources and hire from the Louisiana workforce. The bulk of manufacturing of liquid hydrogen tanks will be done by Boeing and that company along with others is partnering with Nunez Community College.
"Through these efforts, Nunez is producing the sort workforce that Boeing will need to continue to grow and expand," says Edwards.
"It's been said that in order to get to the moon or Mars, you have to go through New Orleans first and that's certainly true," says Mike Wood.
Additional job creating projects are also taking place at the Michoud facility. The new projects include dozens of new jobs and more than $5 million in investments.
"New Orleans is in fact the hub for advanced manufacturing and you cannot be in anything but awe as you walk around this facility," say Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
The space program now includes investments, education and production.
"So as we approach 2019, and the nation and the world looks up to the heavens and watch the SLS carry the ORION space capsule it will represent that America has put it's best eggs in one basket and we made the basket right here," says Don Pierson.