KSC got lucky as Hurricane Matthew, that still caused millions in damages, sparred the facility and didn’t hit at its full force.
The Kennedy Space Center (KSC) officials feared and expected the worst after meteorologists predicted that the tropical system would most probably hit the facility. As the concerned authorities shut down the base, the actual damages left by the hurricane’s passing caused relief amongst those concerned.
As most of Matthew’s winds kept their distance and revealed an offshore activity, the base was spared from the worst, as post-hurricane photos and aerial data tend to show. After the hurricane passed and the area was deemed safe, the base’s officials gathered to assess damages, took land and aerial photos that they later posted.
The images revealed a number of defaced buildings, with one facility’s roof being blown up, whilst others remained surprisingly intact. One of the lucky few is the Vehicle Building, a fifty-two story edifice, that escaped Matthew’s wrath after being severely hit by Hurricane Jeanne back in 2004.
The Vehicle Assemble Building’s neighboring edifices seem to have escaped unscathed, the same being the case for the Space Center’s interior exhibits and for the launch complex that was to house the Apollo program.
The list of damaged buildings and annexes is not that long. Some of the trailers in the parking area suffered minor, repairable damage, as did the fence that surrounds the aforementioned parking zone.
One of the worst hit buildings in the area, though it can be repaired, was the beach house used by astronauts prior to rocket launches. Built in 1962 and figuring a two-stories floor plan, the house had its roof torn off by the powerful winds, with subsequent damages being inflicted through the now open area.
Other effects of the storm’s passing include a rocket losing its top after it was carried away by the wind, and possible utility difficulties. As water intrusions may pose a problem and some equipment got soaked, water supply problems and power cuts in some of the buildings were to be expected.
The KSC closed down in the wake of the hurricane to all but a crew of 116 members and resumed its official activity on Tuesday. The Center’s Visitors Complex was closed for only a day, in which damages were evaluated, and re-opened Sunday, a mere two days after the storm.
As the flight hardware wasn’t damaged, the weather satellite launch planned for November will not suffer too much of a delay and officials consider that the KSC got lucky as the facility will soon enough be back to working at its full capacity.
Image Source: Wikimedia