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Hurricane Katrina Devastates Gulf Coast and New Orleans

Affects NASA as Well

Date: 9/2/05

On Monday, August 29, hurricane Katrina slammed into the gulf coast of the US, bringing death and destruction. Now, several days later, the full affects of Katrina are not yet known, and it appears it will be quite some time before they can be measured, much less remedied. It now seems clear that New Olreans and the other cities nearly wiped off the map will never be the same.

NASA has designated a telephone number (256/544-4700) for family members seeking information about people who may have sought shelter from Hurricane Katrina at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and Michoud Assembly Facility near New Orleans. Support personnel at that number will also assist people trying to locate employees who work at either facility.

NASA established a toll-free number (888/362-4323) for recorded updates about general conditions at Stennis and Michoud.

NASA's Space Shuttle Program Manager Bill Parsons was named the senior agency official in charge of the hurricane recovery effort. His deputy, Wayne Hale, has been named the acting Space Shuttle Program manager.

"My heart goes out to all the people affected by the hurricane," said NASA Administrator Mike Griffin in a message to employees. "I will be visiting the Stennis Space Center and Michoud Assembly Facility as soon as possible." Administrator Griffin also stated that NASA wants to make certain that our colleagues and their families affected by Hurricane Katrina get the help they need. The NASA Family Assistance Fund will provide a grant of up to $400 and an interest free loan of up to $600 for people living in declared disaster areas.

NASA facilities in the area were also affected by Katrina.

Stennis Space Center (SSC):

  • A nearby runway is clear and receiving aircraft, including a NASA plane delivering satellite phones to the center
  • 40 portable generators are functioning on-site. NASA centers will send more generators to provide supplemental power
  • Approximately 1,000 to 1,500 people, including NASA employees, contractors and the public are at the center. There were approximately 4,000 people at the center Monday night after the storm hit
  • Since Stennis is serving as an emergency safe haven, NASA is coordinating with relief agencies, like the American Red Cross, to help support members of the public seeking refuge there
  • NASA is preparing key personnel from other agency centers to assist in Stennis/Michoud recovery efforts; they will deploy, as required
  • A doctor and a nurse arrived to Stennis today with additional medical supplies
  • Doctors and nurses from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., and Johnson Space Center, Houston, are on 24 hour standby to help support Stennis
  • Two telemedicine unit vans will be sent to Stennis tomorrow. The vans will provide video links and also have Ham radios. Potable water supply is fine
  • Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., is delivering 100 blue rain protection tarps
  • No NASA employee or contractor injuries have been reported
  • Early estimates indicate many homes of Stennis employees have been damaged or destroyed


  • Some telephones are working
  • Various NASA centers will rotate support personnel into Michoud.
  • They are bringing food and other supplies
  • The only way to access the facility is by helicopter or boat since the surrounding roadways are flooded or damaged
  • It appears space flight hardware was not damaged

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