Letters from Leadership

On Sept 11, two major components of the Deep Water Horizon Mishap Investigation arrived at the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) opening a new chapter on NASA’s support to other federal agencies. All those following the aftermath of the BP mishap now turned their eyes to MAF.

We faced four monumental tasks. First, we had to plan, develop and implement critical lifts to move the components from their transport; these lifts were far larger than anything previously attempted by MAF personnel. Next, we needed to construct a test structure on which the components could be mounted and testing performed. Third, we had to accomplish these tasks safely with no incident or impact to any personnel or the environment. Finally, we needed to coordinate simultaneously with the U.S. Coast Guard, FBI, Department of Justice, commercial marine barge crews and tugboat crews.

Our skills and diplomacy were pushed to the limits as we worked with numerous agencies and personnel unfamiliar with NASA safety standards. However, working side by side with all the agencies, each quickly saw the value in our professional, well-trained and highly disciplined crews who focus on safely performing an operation as the key to all success. MAF crews conducted several flawless critical lifts without the slightest incident which clearly impressed the other members of the team. Our Environmental crew took the initiative to address the potential leaks and residue on the components to prevent any harm to our waterways or shoreline.

This event demonstrated how teams focused on safety, working together, sharing ideas and clearly communicating expectations can be successful. The Michoud team was able to provide the stellar teamwork vital to accomplishing these difficult tasks and exemplified flawless performance to the watching world. Well done to all!

 – Stephen A. Turner
NASA Manager of Safety, Mission Assurance and Protective Services