The Michoud Assembly Facility is a manufacturing complex in New Orleans owned by NASA.

  • During the Apollo program, the first stages of the Saturn I, IB, and V rockets were built there.

  • During the Shuttle program, the external tanks were manufactured there.

  • Some modules of the International Space Station were built there between the mid-1990s and 2010.

  • The core of the Space Launch System -- derived from Shuttle technology -- is currently being built there.

Was anything manufactured or assembled at that facility between the Apollo and Shuttle programs?

  • $\begingroup$ Didn’t NASA go directly from Saturn to the Shuttle? $\endgroup$
    – RonJohn
    Jun 2, 2021 at 6:01
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "From September 1961 to the end of the Apollo program in December 1972 the site was utilized by Chrysler Corporation to build the first stages of the Saturn I and Saturn IB, later joined by Boeing Corporation to build the first stage of the Saturn V rockets. From September 5, 1973, to September 20, 2010, the factory was used for the construction of the Space Shuttle's external fuel tanks by Martin Marietta Corporation." There was not much time for anything else between December 1972 and September 5, 1973. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Nov 17, 2021 at 9:49

1 Answer 1



This timeline on the MAF website mentions no activities in between:

Year Major Events
1965 MSFC Michoud Operations name officially changed to Michoud Assembly Facility. Construction of the Saturn S1B and S1C boosters continued at the Michoud facility until the early 1970s.
1970's The Apollo program wound down and work began on the Space Shuttle, the next generation launch vehicle.
1981 First External Tank was produced by Martin Marietta (now known as Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company) flew on STS-1 on April 12 and returned on April 14. Space Shuttle Columbia orbited the Earth 37 times during this 54.5 hour mission. First manned space flight since the Appollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975.

The last S-1C stage was shipped from MAF to the Mississippi Test Facility for static firing tests in September 1970 and returned to MAF in October of the same year. It was considered for a Skylab mission up until about 1975-ish, but after completion of the stage the production facilities were no longer used.

Production of the Space Shuttle External Tank kicked off already in September of 1973. The first tank was delivered in 1979.

I have found no evidence that anything got built in the three years between finishing the last S-1C and the start of ET production.


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