As a child, Eric Bordelon had posters of the space shuttle in his room. Now, he takes photos and video for NASA as a multimedia specialist at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Known as NASA’s Rocket Factory, the site is where structures for NASA’s Apollo, shuttle, and now, NASA’s SLS (Space Launch System) rocket and Orion spacecraft are produced for Artemis missions.
Bordelon joined the NASA team in 2007 working with the external tank program for the space shuttle at Michoud. One of Bordelon’s favorite aspects of the job is being a part of the storytelling involving Michoud’s rich history, including documenting the facility transition from the Space Shuttle Program to the SLS Program.
“Many people don’t realize that Michoud has been around since the 40s and NASA has been here since the 60s,” Bordelon said. “A part of my job I really love is meeting and taking photos of the people working behind the scenes on the rocket. They’re turning bolts, welding, spraying foam, and are artists in their own way. One of my goals is to learn what each of these people do, so I can help tell their stories.”
Bordelon grew up in Destrehan, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans, and initially dreamed about being a sound recording engineer. He attended Loyola University New Orleans where he studied music business but soon after went to work for a print shop. During his time there, he met several photographers and soon picked up a new hobby: photography. He purchased his first digital camera in 2005 and started taking photos around New Orleans. When the job at NASA opened, he decided to see if that hobby could turn into a career.
Fast forward to 2022: That young boy with space posters on his wall grew up to be a part of the Artemis Generation. Though he had been capturing how rockets came together for years at Michoud, Bordelon had not seen a launch. That changed in 2022 with Artemis I. Not only did Bordelon watch his first launch at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, but he also photographed and documented it for NASA.
“I watched this powerful rocket’s core stage be built at Michoud,” Bordelon said. “When I first saw the SLS rocket fully assembled with Orion atop, sitting on the launch pad ready for its inaugural flight for Artemis I, I had to pause, take a minute, and revel in just how amazing it was to be a small part of that.”
During Artemis I launch activities in 2022, he captured a stunning photo of the Sun behind the SLS rocket as a Florida storm rolled in. The photo – with its purple, pink, and orange hues – was selected for one of NASA’s “Picture of the Year” awards.
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.