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11/22/2017 10:05:29 PM
Posted: 9/2/2004 12:23:58 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/2/2004 12:25:45 PM EST by Airwolf]
dsc.discovery.com/news/afp/20040830/hurricane.html

NASA's Newest Foe: Hurricane Frances
By Irene Mona Klotz

Sept. 1, 2004 —NASA may soon have to deal with a new set of problems in its tedious, time-consuming and expensive quest to return the space shuttles to flight: the aftermath of Hurricane Frances.

With the three remaining space shuttles, the dozens of unique space station components and modules and billions of dollars worth of launch facilities and assembly hangars, the Kennedy Space Center sits uncomfortably close to the predicted path for Hurricane Frances, a Category Four storm barreling toward Florida's east coast.

“ If there were serious damage to one or two of the orbiters or the facilities needed to process and launch the orbiters, I think it would raise a very large question about the continuation of the shuttle program. ”

The space center has never experienced a direct hit by a hurricane, though there have been a few close calls. The outlook for another miss is looking bleak.

Even if the immediate area is spared the brunt of the storm's 140 mph winds — if it's still such a strong storm when it comes ashore — most forecasts predict Frances will blast through Brevard County, passing to the west of Kennedy Space Center and leaving in its wake dangerous conditions for a tidal surge.

The space center sits on a narrow piece of land between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway.

Typically during hurricanes and tropical storms, NASA assigns about 140 people to remain onsite at the space center to keep watch over the equipment and respond to any emergencies. This time, however, NASA is considering leaving only about 12 people in an emergency operations center with limited ability to command and control equipment.

"We may not even do that," added NASA spokesman George Diller.

Among the most vulnerable structures is the roof on the Orbiter Processing Facility, which is housing NASA's three orbiters — Atlantis, Discovery and Endeavour. The building was constructed during the Apollo era and has a roof designed to withstand 105 mph winds, Diller said.

Even newer facilities are at risk. The immense hangar where the space station components are tested and stored prior to launch is designed to withstand 110 mph winds.

"The original decision to locate the Apollo facility on Merritt Island was a gamble with the weather and so far, if NASA was the house, the house has won. But the nature of gambling is sometimes the house loses," said John Logsdon, a member of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board and the head of George Washington University's Space Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.

"All you can do is cross your fingers," he added.

The hurricane approaches as NASA strives to resume shuttle flights in March 2005 following the Feb. 1, 2003, loss of shuttle Columbia and its seven crewmembers. The agency expects to spend more than $1 billion on equipment upgrades and modifications to the fleet and support equipment.

Many of the structures at KSC are unique, such as the launch pad Rotating Service Structure, which wraps around a shuttle at the pad to protect the orbiter and provide access into the vehicle. The launch pads are designed to withstand 125 mph winds.

"If there were serious damage to one or two of the orbiters or the facilities needed to process and launch the orbiters, I think it would raise a very large question about the continuation of the shuttle program," Logsdon said.

Added Diller, "There is nothing we can do until after the storm and see what damage we got."
Link Posted: 9/2/2004 12:27:27 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/2/2004 12:27:45 PM EST by ar50troll]
NASA doesn't need a hurricane to be crippled. It's so poorly managed they take care of that themselves...
Link Posted: 9/2/2004 12:30:16 PM EST
The VAB is screwed. Then they'll be forced to spend the money to either repair or rebuild it---it has been in a state of disrepair for so damn long.
Link Posted: 9/2/2004 12:31:16 PM EST

Originally Posted By Airwolf:
[The space center has never experienced a direct hit by a hurricane, though there have been a few close calls. The outlook for another miss is looking bleak.



When you leave your ass hanging out for so long it will get smacked sooner or later.
Link Posted: 9/2/2004 12:56:22 PM EST
A direct hit with damage to the Orbiters, ISS modules and facilities could end up costing BILLIONS in damage in just this one location (not to mention leaving Vandenberg as our only operational launch site -which only works for Pacific downrange shots and polar orbit insertions).

Couple that with what may be BILLIONS more in damage since this thing looks like it's going to trash Orlando and this could make Andrew look like a leaky roof in a drizzle by comparison.
Link Posted: 9/2/2004 4:29:05 PM EST
I heard yesterday that they are not even leaving a skeleton crew - they are evacuating EVERYBODY off KSC.

FWIW.

Merlin
Link Posted: 9/2/2004 4:30:31 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/2/2004 4:30:54 PM EST by ar50troll]

Originally Posted By Merlin:
I heard yesterday that they are not even leaving a skeleton crew - they are evacuating EVERYBODY off KSC.

FWIW.

Merlin



Where did you hear that from? I bet you all the gold in Fort Knox there will be a human there.
Cite your source pls.
Link Posted: 9/2/2004 4:31:56 PM EST
Let's pack everything and launch it. Might as well watch from orbit.
Link Posted: 9/2/2004 4:34:41 PM EST
they can't afford to abandon it
Link Posted: 9/2/2004 4:35:13 PM EST

Originally Posted By ar50troll:

Originally Posted By Merlin:
I heard yesterday that they are not even leaving a skeleton crew - they are evacuating EVERYBODY off KSC.

FWIW.

Merlin



Where did you hear that from? I bet you all the gold in Fort Knox there will be a human there.
Cite your source pls.


From someone who works there. There will be some KSC cops/SWAT to secure the premises, obviously, but it looks like the 'cane crew (united space alliance workers) may not be retained there after all.
Link Posted: 9/2/2004 4:35:19 PM EST

Originally Posted By twonami:
they can't afford to abandon it



EXACTLY
Link Posted: 9/2/2004 4:35:57 PM EST

Originally Posted By mikr:

Originally Posted By ar50troll:

Originally Posted By Merlin:
I heard yesterday that they are not even leaving a skeleton crew - they are evacuating EVERYBODY off KSC.

FWIW.

Merlin



Where did you hear that from? I bet you all the gold in Fort Knox there will be a human there.
Cite your source pls.


From someone who works there. There will be some KSC cops/SWAT to secure the premises, obviously, but it looks like the 'cane crew (united space alliance workers) may not be retained there after all.



That's what I was talking about...
Link Posted: 9/2/2004 4:42:46 PM EST

Originally Posted By ar50troll:
NASA doesn't need a hurricane to be crippled. It's so poorly managed they take care of that themselves...



You know, sometimes I believe it is run by idiots
Link Posted: 9/2/2004 4:45:04 PM EST

Originally Posted By Bobby_the_Hun:

Originally Posted By ar50troll:
NASA doesn't need a hurricane to be crippled. It's so poorly managed they take care of that themselves...



You know, sometimes I believe it is run by idiots



It's a shame cuz it's one of mankinds most important endeavours.
Link Posted: 9/2/2004 4:50:26 PM EST
Too bad they just can't launch everything like boat owners.
Link Posted: 9/2/2004 4:52:10 PM EST

Originally Posted By SS109:
Too bad they just can't launch everything like boat owners.



If NASA was managed properly over the last 30 years and was funded on the level it should, we could...
Link Posted: 9/2/2004 4:54:18 PM EST
Best news I've heard so far. It would be nice to finally be rid of that POS shuttle program.

CW
Link Posted: 9/2/2004 5:06:14 PM EST
They just need to get some sturdy chains to tie that stuff down with. It'll be alright.
Link Posted: 9/2/2004 5:11:26 PM EST

Originally Posted By GomerPyle:
They just need to get some sturdy chains to tie that stuff down with. It'll be alright.


Well gollllly, why didn't we think of that?

CW
Link Posted: 9/2/2004 5:15:42 PM EST
That place is amazing.

We went last July. Every kid should get to go there.

Did you know that they could easily set Yankee Stadium on top of the VAB, with an acre left over for parking????
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