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Hurricane damages NASA facilities
Posted: Wed, Aug 31, 2005, 9:01 AM ET (1301 GMT)
Michoud Assembly Facility (Lockheed Martin) Hurricane Katrina, which devastated portions of the Gulf coast earlier this week, has caused modest damage to two NASA facilities in the area that could affect the next shuttle mission. In a statement late Tuesday, NASA said that the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, where the shuttle's external tanks are assembled, several buildings suffered roof and window damage, although initial assessments found no signs of damage to space hardware. Some buildings were also damaged at the Stennis Space Center in southern Mississippi, but the space shuttle main engine test stands at the center survived the storm undamaged. Some minor storm-related damage was also reported at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. Regardless of the damage to the facilities themselves, the centers could be weeks or months away from full operations given that a large fraction of its workforce has been displaced by the powerful storm. That could affect the March 2006 launch of STS-121, the next shuttle mission, although NASA officials said it was too soon to tell what kind of impact the storm would have on the shuttle program.
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