Diversifying and Innovating


Artemis: A Louisiana-Made Moon Rocket Spurs Economic Development and Collaboration

Blasting off with a legacy of innovation

Artemis: A Louisiana-Made Moon Rocket Spurs Economic Development and Collaboration

Since the early days of aerospace, Louisiana has been home to high-flying innovation. From the Apollo missions to the Space Shuttle era, skilled local workers have played a big part in the space program. It’s  no different now with Artemis, NASA’s moon and Mars mission. Its Space Launch System, a new lunar rocket largely constructed at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, is the latest in a legacy of aerospace engineering and manufacturing. 

The new SLS moon rocket, the largest and most powerful rocket ever built, combines a core stage and dual boosters. A 212-foot central section, the core stage contains half a million gallons of fuel and supercooled oxygen that is propelled out of one of Artemis’s four engines. 

Constructed with the help of Nunez Community College students in partnership with Boeing, Artemis  further cements Louisiana’s role in space exploration. Thanks to the LED FastStart team who traveled to other aerospace programs to assess the necessary tools, curriculum, and equipment needed, LED paved the way for Nunez’s Aerospace Manufacturing Technology Program.

The rocket successfully launched on Nov. 16th, with the unmanned craft circling the moon in a distant orbit before reentering the atmosphere. After six weeks, Artemis completed its lunar test flight, splashing down in the Pacific. 

NASA hopes to launch a manned lunar-orbiting rocket in two years. And by 2025 or 2026, the agency hopes to launch a crew complete with the first women and people of color that will set foot on the moon’s surface.

Artemis also represents the efforts of the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing, a partnership between the state of Louisiana, Louisiana State University, the University of New Orleans and NASA. NCAM was created to devise new manufacturing technologies used to build NASA rockets. Located in the Michoud Assembly Center, the group has helped construct the SLS rocket alongside Nunez students.