NASA, Louisiana Economic Development (LED) and leaders from the University of New Orleans and LSU celebrated the renewal of their partnership in the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing (NCAM) during a signing ceremony June 16 in New Orleans.
Through NCAM, located at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, NASA is expanding its efforts to engage industry and academia on advanced manufacturing topics central to the nation's space mission, with a particular focus on manufacturing technologies that reduce the weight of materials during spaceflight.
"The rockets and technology required to take human explorers on missions into deep space and to Mars are possible only with the development of advanced manufacturing techniques," said Patrick Scheuermann, a UNO alumnus and director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, which manages Michoud for the agency. "National Center for Advanced Manufacturing tools are among those being used today at Michoud to build the core stage of NASA's Space Launch System -- the most powerful rocket in history -- and the Orion spacecraft that will carry astronauts on missions farther from Earth than ever before."
NCAM, originally formed in 1999, is a partnership among NASA, the State of Louisiana, LSU and UNO. LSU leads NCAM on behalf of the partnership. The new five-year agreement will allow for greater flexibility as NCAM explores fresh opportunities to work with government, industry and other universities.
Edward James, LED director of business development; Richard Koubek, dean of the LSU College of Engineering; and Emir José Macari, dean of the UNO College of Engineering, joined Scheuermann for a signing ceremony at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans.
To date, NASA and the State of Louisiana have infused more than $62 million into NCAM, which has more than 100,000 square feet of high-bay manufacturing space with large-scale, multi-axis robotic equipment. Other assets include a uniquely skilled workforce, educational outreach programs and a suite of specialized welding, composite fiber placement and non-destructive evaluation and inspection equipment.