Space center reopens after hurricane, damage in millions

October 11, 2016 by Marcia Dunn
This Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016 photo provided by NASA shows damage to the roof of the Beach House during an aerial survey of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Hurricane Matthew passed to the east of the state on Oct. 6 and 7, 2016. (Cory Huston/NASA via AP)

NASA's Kennedy Space Center reopened for business Tuesday, relying on industrial air conditioners rushed in from around the country in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.

Director Robert Cabana said the damage—mostly ripped-off roofs—is still being tallied, but is in the millions of dollars. He said it would have been much worse had Matthew not weakened and veered slightly offshore Friday as it swept up the Florida coast.

"We were definitely blessed," Cabana, a former space shuttle commander, told reporters.

Among the buildings with roof and water damage: the 1960s-era beach house once used by astronauts for parties and barbecues before launches. Cabana hopes to get it repaired for conferences.

The portable were brought in after the roof came off the building that serves as the electrical room for air conditioning throughout the main launch area. The switching equipment ended up soaked. Without the new units, employees could not have returned so quickly, Cabana noted. Even so, some workers were displaced. About 8,300 people work at Kennedy.

This time, all of the panels held on the massive Vehicle Assembly Building. Back in 2004, while the space shuttles were still flying, hundreds of panels were blown off the face of the 525-foot-tall structure by Hurricane Frances, creating gaping holes.

Cabana said corrosive fasteners failed back then and were replaced with stainless steel washers and locknuts.

This Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016 photo provided by NASA shows damage to a support building during an aerial survey of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Hurricane Matthew passed to the east of the state on Oct. 6 and 7, 2016. (Cory Huston/NASA via AP)
"It did its job. The panels look great. We kept them all on," Cabana said.

The launch pad being modified for NASA's future mega rocket held up well, as did the pad being leased by SpaceX.

No flight hardware was damaged, and the planned November launch of a next-generation weather satellite shouldn't suffer too much of a delay.

The space center—which shut down last Thursday to everyone except a 116-person crew—experienced surface winds of 80 mph to 86 mph. Gusts of more than 135 mph were measured at 500 feet.

The local bald eagles also lucked out: Their huge, longtime nest survived in the trees along a tour bus route.

Explore further: Hurricane Matthew damages roofs at NASA's launch center

More information: NASA: www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/home/index.html

Related Stories

Kennedy Space Center reopens after Wilma

October 27, 2005

NASA's Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida have reopened for operations after the passage of Hurricane Wilma.

XCOR to move operations near Kennedy Space Center

August 24, 2012

Kennedy Space Center is getting a new neighbor: XCOR Aerospace announced they intend to establish an operational base in Florida, and also hope to build a manufacturing and assembly center for the XCOR Lynx Mark II suborbital ...

Recommended for you

Physicists discover new class of pentaquarks

March 26, 2019

Tomasz Skwarnicki, professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University, has uncovered new information about a class of particles called pentaquarks. His findings could lead to a new understanding ...

Study finds people who feed birds impact conservation

March 26, 2019

People in many parts of the world feed birds in their backyards, often due to a desire to help wildlife or to connect with nature. In the United States alone, over 57 million households in the feed backyard birds, spending ...

Matter waves and quantum splinters

March 25, 2019

Physicists in the United States, Austria and Brazil have shown that shaking ultracold Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) can cause them to either divide into uniform segments or shatter into unpredictable splinters, depending ...

0 comments

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.