Conrad Shipyard gets NASA award for Pegasus barge project

(MORGAN CITY, La.) — Conrad Industries Inc. announced today its receipt of the NASA Space Flight Awareness Supplier Award based on its performance with the conversion of the NASA Pegasus barge. This annual award honors outstanding performance by hardware, software, or service suppliers who support NASA human space flight programs. Awardees are chosen based on their production of high-quality products, excellent technical and cost performance, and adherence to schedules.

The Pegasus barge was built to replace NASA's aging Poseidon and Orion barges — both built in the 1940s to serve in World War II and converted in the 1960s for NASA's Apollo program. In 2002 it became the sole means of transport for the shuttle external tanks. Today, it's the only barge of its kind in NASA's inventory. The long-serving Pegasus barge will begin transporting rocket components for NASA's next-generation Space Launch System (SLS) between manufacturing, testing and launch locations upon its completion. Conrad has lengthened the barge from 260 feet to 310 feet so it can handle Space Launch System hardware and components, which are dramatically larger than the older space shuttle propulsion systems. Conrad will perform maintenance and refurbishment to ensure the restored vessel meets American Bureau of Shipping standards.

Astronaut Capt. Stephen G. Bowen along with Stephen Doering, director of center operations at Marshall Space Flight Center; Teresa Vanhooser, deputy center director, Marshall Space Flight Center; Michael Kynard, deputy director, Michoud Assembly Facility, and Malcolm Wood, deputy chief operating officer, Michoud Assembly Facility, visited Conrad to present the award. "The Pegasus barge will play a crucial role in our ability to get the hardware from the Marshall Space Center, or Stennis, or Michoud to Kennedy for the launch, so it's an absolutely critical role," said Doering.

Dan Conrad, senior vice president of Conrad Shipyard, commented, "From our beginnings in 1948 building wooden shrimp trawlers, to supporting our country's space exploration program, is humbling. We must give appreciation to our valued work force who have done a fantastic job of completing our scope on time, and most importantly, safely."

Conrad Industries Inc., established in 1948 and headquartered in Morgan City, La., designs, builds and overhauls tugboats, ferries, liftboats, barges, offshore supply vessels and other steel and aluminum products for both the commercial and government markets. The company provides both repair and new construction services at its five shipyards located in southern Louisiana and Texas.

By Professional Mariner Staff