NASA is honoring 38 men and women who risked their lives during Hurricane Katrina to protect the agency's Michoud Assembly Facility, where space shuttle external fuel tanks are manufactured east of New Orleans.
The event is at 2 p.m. EST (1 p.m. CST), Thursday, Jan. 5. To attend event at Michoud, media must call NASA's MarshallSpaceFlightCenter, Huntsville, Ala., at: (256) 544-0034 by 4 p.m. EST, Jan. 3. Several of the honorees will be available for media interviews after the ceremony, and NASA TV's Media Channel "Video File" will provide event b-roll.
While thousands evacuated the area before Katrina made landfall, this "ride-out" crew stayed behind. To recognize that dedication, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin will present the workers with the Exceptional Bravery Medal. The medal is awarded for demonstrating exemplary handling of an emergency that prevents loss of life and government property, while disregarding personal safety. The team ensured Michoud sustained only minor damage from high winds and massive flooding that devastated the surrounding community.
As a result of their heroic efforts, delay in external tank processing was kept to a minimum. The crew's work was essential not only to NASA's Space Shuttle Program, but also to the future of human space flight. Michoud's unique manufacturing facilities figure prominently in America's Vision for Space Exploration, since derivatives of the external tank are part of the design for the next generation spacecraft.