General Dynamics Nassco, the last surviving shipbuilder on the West Coast, recently laid the keel for its second mobile landing platform ship. The ship will be named the USS John Glenn, after the first U.S. citizen to orbit the Earth.

The new class of U.S. Navy ships is intended to move troops, vehicles and equipment into areas that do not have adequate offloading facilities. Nassco has a contract with the Navy to build at least three of the MLPs at an approximate cost of $500 million each.

The company, which has about 3,000 employees at its yard in Barrio Logan, held a keel laying ceremony that was attended by Glenn’s daughter, Lyn. Glenn, the former U.S. senator from Ohio, is 91.

Earlier this week, Nassco announced it had a new contract to build two commercial container ships that will run from the U.S. mainland to Puerto Rico. The contract with Seattle-based Tote Shipholdings Inc. includes an option to build three additional ships.

— Mike Allen