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NASA, Louisiana Officials Renew Partnership With National Center For Advanced Manufacturing
by Staff Writers
Huntsville AL (SPX) Aug 08, 2012


File image.

NASA and Louisiana leaders Thursday committed to a five-year extension of their partnership in the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing (NCAM). NCAM is a principal NASA resource in Louisiana that supports aerospace manufacturing research, development and innovation critical to the goals of the nation's space program.

NCAM was formed in 1999 and includes NASA, NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, the state of Louisiana and the University of New Orleans.

This new agreement will expand the NCAM partnership to include Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, which has engineering and research capabilities that can assist NCAM in fulfilling the nation's aerospace technology needs.

About 400 of the 2,600 employees at the multi-use, multi-tenant Michoud facility are associated with and benefit from NCAM. The partners strive to improve U.S. competitiveness in aerospace and commercial markets, and enable transfer of technology to industry partners and educational institutions within the partnership and across the nation.

NCAM also has a strong education role, sponsoring a consortium of Louisiana research universities developing advanced materials and manufacturing technologies key to the production of aerospace hardware and structures.

"Advanced manufacturing is a matter of fundamental importance to the economic strength and national security of the United States," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said.

"The President's manufacturing initiative is helping us forge partnerships like this that are closing the gap between research and development activities and the deployment of technological innovations in domestic production of goods. And at NASA, whether we're developing needed technologies for space exploration or advancing the nation's aeronautics capabilities, great ideas are benefiting our nation, creating jobs and making life better here on Earth."

NASA and the state of Louisiana enhanced the NCAM partnership beginning in 2004 with a joint investment of more than $62 million to date.

Their key goals are to promote growth of Louisiana's trained aerospace workforce and sustain world-class manufacturing capabilities, such as those at Michoud, where work is under way on elements of NASA's Space Launch System, the heavy-lift vehicle that will usher in a new era of exploration and discovery beyond Earth orbit.

"This renewed agreement reflects and amplifies NASA's long commitment to sustaining a strong, technologically trained work force in New Orleans and across Louisiana," said Marshall Center Associate Director Robin Henderson. "The National Center for Advanced Manufacturing has proven itself vital to NASA's work at Michoud and to the agency's overall mission of exploration and discovery."

Under the newly restructured NCAM agreement, NASA and its academic and industry partners will continue to work jointly on research, development and test activities to meet future space systems needs. New goals for NCAM are intensive new education outreach across the greater New Orleans region through a partnership with the University of New Orleans and expansion of NCAM research and development activities on a national scale.

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