To reach Renee about SLS or Michoud Assembly Facility email her at renee.horton@nasa.gov

K. Renee Horton, Ph.D.​TM

Dr.  K. Renee Horton currently serves as the Space Launch System (SLS) Lead Metallic/Weld Engineer and Vertical Assembly Center POC at the NASA Residential Management Office at Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans.  Renee has been affiliated with NASA starting in 2004-2011 as a student and recipient of NASA Graduate Research Fellowship followed by a NASA Harriet Jenkins Fellowship.  She started working at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in 2012 as a full time employee.


The Vertical Assembly Center, is the largest spacecraft welding tool in the world and is located at MAF. The 170-foot-tall, 78-foot-wide giant completes a world-class welding toolkit that is used to build the core stage of America's next great rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS).


The Vertical Assembly Center is part of a family of state-of-the-art tools designed to weld the core stage of SLS. It will join domes, rings and barrels to complete the tanks or dry structure assemblies. It also will be used to perform evaluations on the completed welds.

SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever built for deep space missions, including to an asteroid and eventually Mars. The core stage, towering more than 200 feet tall (61 meters) with a diameter of 27.6 feet (8.4 meters), will store cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen that will feed the rocket's RS-25 engines. Boeing is the prime contractor for the SLS core stage, including avionics. To learn more about SLS click here


Dr. Horton's dissertation work was completed on Self Reacting Friction Stir Welding, which is the welding used on the SLS Core Stage.  If you would like more information on Dr. Horton's dissertation titled "MICROHARDNESS, STRENGTH AND STRAIN FIELD CHARACTERIZATION OF SELF-REACTING FRICTION STIR AND PLUG WELDS OF DISSIMILAR ALUMINUM ALLOYS"  click here