Kennedy Space Center Prepares for Hurricane Dorian By Moving Key Hardware Indoors

By  //  August 31, 2019

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key piece of launch infrastructure headed indoors

Hurricane Dorian is slowly making its way toward the eastern coast of Florida, prompting NASA’s premier spaceport, Kennedy Space Center (KSC), to prep for the coming storm. (NASA image by Loren Gush)

(THE VERGE) – Hurricane Dorian is slowly making its way toward the eastern coast of Florida, prompting NASA’s premier spaceport, Kennedy Space Center, to prep for the coming storm.

Employees at the spaceport are used to bracing for hurricanes, and they have already started moving some key hardware to safety before Dorian arrives.

Right now,  more than 8,000 employees at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral are operating under an internal status known as HURCON IV, which means that the area expects to experience hurricane-level winds exceeding 75 miles per hour within the next three days.

Dorian is predicted to hit the Florida coast on Monday, September 2, possibly as a Category 4 storm with winds exceeding 140 miles per hour.

That would make it the most powerful storm to hit the east coast of Florida since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

In the wake of Andrew’s trail of destruction through Florida, people at KSC decided that any building built after that storm would be constructed to withstand winds between 130 and 135 miles per hour.

Other, older, buildings are also storm-ready. The large, iconic Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) that is used to store the center’s biggest spacecraft should be able to withstand wind gusts of 125 miles per hour.

While that’s a threshold below Dorian’s expected high wind speeds, KSC isn’t too worried about the VAB’s integrity just yet.

“It’s a solid steel cage with aluminum siding,” Derrol Nail, a communications representative at NASA’s KSC, tells The Verge. “There are 8,000 tons of steel inside this building, so yes it can withstand a lot.”

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