STS-134 Mission Specialists Greg Chamitoff and Mike Fincke visited Michoud Assembly Facility July 19 to thank workers for a great external tank, ET-122. The astronauts also took time to sit down with two 11-year-old Zachary students from Copper Mill Elementary. Fifth graders Alexis Albert and Leanne Sorrel were part of teacher Circe Bridges’ team whose science experiment was chosen last year by a national space education group for a place on the Space Shuttle Endeavor’s final flight. The students’ experiment asked, “How does microgravity affect the development of murine myoblasts?” The other fifth-grade team members, who were not able to attend the event, were Grace Dry, Madison Russell, Tyler Jackson and Jake O’Brien.
Picturedleft to right: Astronaut Greg Chamitoff, students Leanne Sorrel andAlexis Albert, and Astronaut Mike Fincke. (Jacobs)
As I read this newsletter I am reminded of the precision of our name, Michoud Assembly Facility Operations, and the intrinsic importance of the work we do. I enjoy this reminder. I know that I need this reminder, and I don’t think I am alone in this. By week’s end, I occasionally wonder what was really accomplished, why do what we do, what is better now than before and what will be better in the future? Without a consistent recorder of achievement, pride and success like the Messenger, our everyday work that demands unwavering dedication and passion could become “just a job.” Unless we step back from our day-to-day activities to reflect on the historic nature of the extraordinary products and services that we support, we risk becoming insensitive to the elite nature of our work and our inherent responsibilities as industry leaders.
I remember when Dr. Michael Griffin, previous NASA Administrator, accepted the 2007 Quasar Award for economic development excellence. His economics-centric acceptance speech was somewhat NASA/Space Program specific, but his ideas on “acceptable reasons” and “real reasons” for space related expenditures offer a compelling answer to any question of why we pursue technological advances. He specified these “real reasons” as our desire to compete, our sense of human curiosity, our wonder and awe at the unknown and the unending quest for knowledge. Dr. Griffin referenced Norman Mailer’s book “Of a Fire on the Moon,” to highlight the kind of people who recognize the importance, power and majesty of a technological event; people who engage in such things; people like us.
As you read The Messenger, step back and consider for a minute the broader influence of the work we do. Think about the enduring benefit to humankind from the Michoud Assembly Facility, from our contributions, from all the associated companies and people providing their individual support to the history of space exploration, fusion energy research, transportation, infrastructure, biotechnology and the environment. Realize the magnitude of all of this and take pride that 100, 500 or 1,000 years from now, the world will be better, in part, because of what we are involved in today.
Jacobs Vice President and Deputy General
Michoud Assembly Facility
NASA’s recent budget announcements have gotten everyone’s attention. As we watch the ensuing debate in Congress, it’s easy to get distracted about MAF’s future. I believe MAF is positioned perfectly to take advantage of the current environment. With NASA’s guidance, Jacobs has developed competitive pricing and streamlined approval processes unique in the agency. We have developed a strong relationship with the State of Louisiana, with MAF being the State’s preferred site for numerous potential projects. This puts us in a position to attract business because we add value through efficient responsive support, phenomenal facilities and a highly-skilled work force. The end result: NASA retains its only large advanced manufacturing capability for future programs while we help new tenants grow.
We are actively marketing MAF to a wide range of new tenants including companies engaged in engineering, military and space hardware, advanced manufacturing, film production and clean energy. In addition, some of our best potential areas of near term growth are with the global aerospace leaders we already host at MAF. We seek to encourage and enable Lockheed Martin and Boeing to grow their MAF operations by providing low cost, responsive services and capability to meet their needs. The same holds true for the critical USDA and US Coast Guard operations at MAF.
To date our successes are small in size, but large in stature. Geocent, a local high tech business, recently leased space in Building 350 to perform one of its Navy contracts. This is new revenue to operate and maintain the site. Lockheed also terminated a commercial real estate lease and moved its Advanced Program group into Building 102/103, indicating the environment on site is improving. These early successes will be added to in the near future as we let people know about MAF and our work force.
New business is important, but successfully attracting new business will not matter if we don’t keep our focus on flawless delivery of three more external tanks, Orion Ground Test Article progress and major construction activity for upper stage. Proven performance and safe operations are absolutely vital to our ability to attract companies to MAF. Stay safe and remember a perfect safety record not only means we send everyone home in as good or better shape as when they came to work, it also means we can attract more tenants because a safe workplace is good for business.
The Jacobs Manufacturing Support and Facilities Operations Contract (MSFOC) team is holding a series of town hall meetings May 7-8 for all incumbent employees at Michoud. Check it out at http://www.jacobstechnology.com/msfoc/transition.html
The Jacobs team has a very informative web site that explains their phase-in process and communicates the latest news and information regarding MSFOC activities. Bookmark it at http://www.jacobstechnology.com/msfoc/welcome.html