Transforming Technology at NASA's Michoud Facility

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Lockheed Martin begins manufacturing liquefied natural gas tanks

On March 12, Lockheed Martin announced a new venture that will boost the local New Orleans job market and continue a 37-year tradition at the Michoud Assembly Facility.  The company will leverage its long history in manufacturing space shuttle external tanks by meeting the growing demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanks for transportation and storage.  

Applying the same capabilities that were previously developed to support NASA space shuttle missions, these new cryogenic tanks will be used for storing and supplying LNG fuel to engines made by Wärtsilä, a global leader in complete lifecycle power solutions for the marine and energy markets.

“This opportunity is a particularly compelling example of how we can leverage defense- and space-related technology for applications in the private sector,” said Gerry Fasano, president of the defense product line at Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems & Global Solutions. “Initiatives such as this help exploit the economic advantages of natural gas, while simultaneously helping reduce green house gas emissions.”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said, “Louisiana is at the forefront of the natural gas boom, and we are proud that Lockheed Martin has selected Louisiana to pursue new practical applications and technologies that harness this growing energy source. Their investment in our state demonstrates the confidence they have in our world-class infrastructure, our strong business climate, and our incomparable workforce.”

Transforming Technologies

Technologies that were previously developed and used solely for government and military are increasingly being adapted and repurposed for use in the private and commercial sectors – strengthening and extending Lockheed Martin’s business portfolio.  For the LNG program, Lockheed Martin will adapt production equipment used to manufacture the external tank for the space shuttle for a wide range of LNG supply chain applications.

In addition to applying its external tank manufacturing expertise, the Lockheed Martin team will draw on a variety of capabilities developed for a range of other programs, spanning propellant handling; assembly, test and integration; composites manufacturing; and production facility and tooling design.  Using the Michoud Assembly Facility, Lockheed Martin can manufacture tanks in varying sizes and capacities for multiple transportation applications; LNG distribution by land, rail or waterway and for land-based LNG storage.

Posted March 13, 2013

highlights
  • Lockheed Martin will leverage its long history in manufacturing space shuttle external tanks by meeting the growing demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanks for transportation and storage. 
  • In addition to applying its external tank manufacturing expertise, the Lockheed Martin team will draw on a variety of capabilities developed for a range of other programs, spanning propellant handling to composites manufacturing.

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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Information Systems & Global Solutions-Defense President Gerry Fasano announce Lockheed Martin's step to manufacture liquefied natural gas tanks.


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An External Tank leaving the Final Assembly Building on its way to receive thermal protection close-outs before being shipped to the Kennedy Space Center.