I’m on a conference call right now with Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for Space Operations, and Bill Parsons, NASA’s senior official in charge of the hurricane relief effort, getting an update on the impact of Katrina on NASA.
Here’s what I’m getting so far:
Estimates to repair the two NASA facilities hit by the hurricane:
$600 million Stennnis Space Center
$500 million Michoud Assembly Facility
These costs include not only repairing the physical structures, but also housing the hundreds of workers who are now homeless.
The schedule is blown for returning the shuttle to flight. Before the hurricane, estimate was for a March 2006 launch. Now officials refuse to speculate on a date. “We don’t have a schedule,” says Gerstenmaier.