Is NASA just a film studio and not a space agency?

By May 17, 2023 Lifestyle, Technology

We came across this recent post on Facebook claiming that NASA has one of the world’s largest film studios and that it is not actually a space agency. The post also seems to support the popular conspiracy theory that the moon landing in 1969 was merely a hoax, despite being debunked multiple times over the years.

NASA Michoud Assembly Facility

The photograph included in the Facebook post is that of NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility (Michoud) in New Orleans, United States. The facility is used to manufacture and assemble “large-scale space structures and systems” and is seemingly known as “America’s Rocket Factory”.

Source: NASA

While Michoud is a government-owned facility, it is leased out to other government and commercial tenants such as aerospace contractors. Although not the largest film set in the world, as claimed by the Facebook post, Michoud is one of the largest manufacturing facilities in the world.


Was NASA’s facility used for films?

NASA has indeed rented out its facilities for films. Notably, parts of the 2011 movie “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”, were filmed in several of NASA’s facilities such as the Space Station Processing Facility. NASA has also provided technical expertise for certain movies and has even provided footage to be used in movies.

On the left: Michoud facility, on the right: Ender’s Game set in Michoud; Source: Flickr and Collider

Michoud, in particular, has also been used for filming purposes after the end of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011. The Space Shuttle – one of NASA’s spacecraft – was used for various purposes including in the process to build the International Space Station, and was retired primarily due to high costs and safety issues.

While parts of Michoud’s facilities may have been used for films, there is no evidence that NASA’s entire Michoud manufacturing facility is merely a film studio.

Further, a list of Michoud’s current tenants can also be found on NASA’s website. Therefore, we give the claim that Michoud and/or NASA is just a film studio, a false rating.

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