As Hurricane Dorian edges closer to Florida’s eastern coast, a 120-strong team of NASA personnel will ride out the storm at Kennedy Space Center, where they will monitor any damage to key launch infrastructure.
“With Hurricane Dorian forecast to bring hurricane conditions to the Kennedy Space Center in just a few hours, 120 members of the ‘Ride Out Team’ reported to the Launch Control Center to monitor and mitigate possible damage to spaceflight hardware,” NASA tweeted late Monday.
The space agency then tweeted an image of an industrial hygienist prepared to ride out the hurricane in Kennedy’s Launch Control Center. “Once its [sic] safe to go out, this industrial hygienist and her team immediately do a post storm hazard analysis at KSC,” NASA explained.
Service members from the 45th Space Wing from nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station also arrived at Kennedy’s Launch Control Center to shelter from the hurricane. “Even the General is here!” tweeted NASA.
On Aug. 30, NASA confirmed that its mobile launcher had been moved to the space agency’s gigantic Vehicle Assembly Building to protect it from Dorian.
The mobile launcher is key to America’s space future. It’ll be used to launch NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39B for future Artemis missions to the Moon.
Kennedy Space Center’s visitor complex is also closed through Sept. 4 as a result of Dorian.
In 2017 NASA said that Kennedy Space Center had sustained “a variety of damage” as a result of Hurricane Irma.
A year earlier NASA reported limited damage to Kennedy Space Center from Hurricane Matthew.
Hurricane Dorian weakened to a Category 2 storm Tuesday as it battered the Bahamas with life-threatening storm surge. But Dorian is expected to remain a powerful hurricane during the next few days.
The hurricane’s core is moving away from Grand Bahama Island, the National Hurricane Center reported Tuesday. At 2 p.m. EDT Tuesday, the Center reported that the hurricane is moving northwest at 5 mph with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph.
Officials in northeastern Florida are urging people to stay away from the beaches due to possible storm surge from Hurricane Dorian.
Flagler County Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord said Tuesday that waves of up to 20 feet are expected along the area’s Atlantic beaches as the storm moves toward the north.
Florida’s official hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30, and typically enters its peak in mid-August.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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