The Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans was active in the 1960s and 1970s when the US was building rockets to travel to the moon. However, it has been less active in that past decades due to the lack of funding and missions by NASA. However, a new program called, NASA`s Space Launch System (SLS) to the moon and beyond is a rocket assembly that is now 80 percent complete and will be test launched in 2020 without any humans on board.
Plans call for the Orion capsule aloft before the engines are jettisoned 8 minutes and 14 seconds out, according to a several articles from the Yomiuri Shimbun and others. When topped with the Orion spacecraft and its fuel tank, it will stand 98 meters high – taller than the Statue of Liberty but shorting than the Saturn V rocket that launched the Skylab space station and the Apollo program. The cost overruns for the program are $20 billion to $30 billion, but these are just estimates.
Our Views: The US space program has fallen into disrepair over the past 20 years as NASA has had no real mission nor, focus. Now with new targets by China and Russia, the US is getting back into a space race that will be driven by technology, just like the 1960s when the Soviet Union and the United States raced to win the crown – landing on the moon. Currently 22% of Americans believe there was never a US landing on the moon.