NASA Facilities Riding Out Ivan

Sep 16, 2004

NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans are riding out Hurricane Ivan, which made landfall near Gulf Shores, Alabama, overnight. NASA has made preparations to secure important space flight hardware against damage.

Stennis, where Space Shuttle engines are tested before flight, is about 45 miles inland near the Mississippi-Louisiana border and is home to about 300 NASA personnel and 1,250 NASA contractors as well as employees from other agencies. Workers there were sent home Tuesday, Sept. 14 to prepare for the storm, and the center is not expected to open before Friday, Sept. 17. Information for Stennis employees will be posted on http: //www.nasa.gov/stennis as it becomes available.

A team of about 50 essential personnel will ride out the storm at Stennis. Two flight-qualified Space Shuttle Main Engines at Stennis have been secured; one was put back into its container, and the other was wrapped in plastic. Two developmental engines were enclosed on their test stands and protected.

A ride-out team will also remain in place through the storm at Michoud, across the Mississippi-Louisiana border about 40 miles to the southwest of Stennis. The NASA facility, operated by Lockheed-Martin, manufactures and assembles the large Space Shuttle external fuel tanks, and is home to about 3,900 employees from NASA, Lockheed-Martin and other agencies. Lockheed Martin and NASA workers were dismissed Tuesday, Sept. 14. to make preparations at home, and the facility is not expected to open before Friday, Sept. 17. Contact information for Michoud employees is available at http: //www.nasa.gov/marshall.

The shuttle fuel tanks at Michoud have been secured. Equipment has been moved indoors, facilities have been sandbagged, and important materials -- such as insulating foam and adhesive -- have been loaded onto trucks to be transported out of the area, if necessary.

KSC Recovering From Frances

Meanwhile, approximately 14,000 people returned to work at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) this week, following an 11-day closure due to Hurricane Frances. Recovery efforts are already underway.

"We really saw our readiness for hurricanes Charley and Frances pay off," said William Readdy, NASA's associate administrator for space operations. "KSC was in the path of those two strong storms, and while some of our buildings were damaged, we made sure our workforce was safe and had no injuries. We were also able to protect our three Space Shuttles, our International Space Station components, and other key hardware."

During the closure, the KSC Damage Assessment and Recovery Team (DART) completed initial damage assessments. KSC weathered sustained winds greater than 70 mph and gusts as high as 94 mph. A thorough assessment of KSC's 900 facilities and buildings continues and could take weeks or months to complete.

The Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), the Thermal Protection System Facility (TPSF) and the Processing Control Center (PCC) received significant damage. The Operations and Checkout Building, Vertical Processing Facility, Hangar AE, Hangar S, and Hangar AF Small Parts Facility received substantial damage.

Source: NASA

Explore further: Start of dwarf planet mission delayed after small mix-up

Related Stories

Enormous hole in the universe may not be the only one

Apr 22, 2015

Astronomers have found evidence of a giant void that could be the largest known structure in the universe. The "supervoid" solves a controversial cosmic puzzle: it explains the origin of a large and anomalou ...

Solar Orbiter launch delayed to 2018

Apr 14, 2015

The launch of Solar Orbiter, an ESA mission to explore the Sun in unprecedented detail, is now planned to take place in October 2018. The launch was previously targeted for July 2017.

Spacecraft transit the Panama Canal

Apr 10, 2015

Apollo spaceflight would not have been possible without the Panama Canal, a major transportation hub more than 1,000 miles south of the Florida launch site. These two powerful examples of modern engineering ...

Recommended for you

The riddle of galactic thin–thick disk solved

20 hours ago

A long-standing puzzle regarding the nature of disk galaxies has finally been solved by a team of astronomers led by Ivan Minchev from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP), using state-of-the-art ...

Giant cosmic tsunami wakes up comatose galaxies

22 hours ago

Galaxies are often found in clusters, with many 'red and dead' neighbours that stopped forming stars in the distant past. Now an international team of astronomers, led by Andra Stroe of Leiden Observatory ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.