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Author Topic:   Hurricane Frances damage to Kennedy Space Center
Leon Ford

Posts: 309
From: Shreveport, LA, United States
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-01-2004 03:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Leon Ford   Click Here to Email Leon Ford     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have been following the news reports of the progress of Hurricane Frances and it looks like the Kennedy Space Center might take a pretty good hit from the storm.

Most of the buildings at KSC were built in the 1960s to withstand winds of 110 to 115 mph. The Shuttle Orbiter Hangers were built to withstand winds of 105 mph. I know budget cuts have kept a lot of money from being spent on building up keep around the Cape for many years. I hope this doesn't come back to haunt NASA. I have heard the VAB is in pretty bad shape.

At 2 pm today, the highest winds of Hurricane Frances were in the 140 mph range.


Posts: 1208
From: Upcountry, Maui, Hawaii
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 09-01-2004 05:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rizz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
...and its moving towards warmer water.


Posts: 2732
From: Stuart, Florida
Registered: Jun 2000

posted 09-01-2004 10:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron   Click Here to Email albatron     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Actually the ambient water temp is all about the same in the areas Frances will be in, save for the Gulf Stream, and generally the GS turns them more northward.

It is also forecast to weaken over the Bahamas (also normal) and by the time it reaches land, the winds are expected to be reduced to 115.

Anyway lets hope. I have always been amazed they built it to only those specs, and have not strenghtened it since.


Posts: 1217
From: Huntsville, AL, USA
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 09-02-2004 10:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good article on the subject:
"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.

LoneStar Scouter

Posts: 927
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 09-02-2004 10:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LoneStar Scouter   Click Here to Email LoneStar Scouter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Time to load those orbiters on 747s and fly them here to Oklahoma...


Posts: 3120
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 09-02-2004 06:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good point, but how many of the shuttle orbiters are in a fit state to fly on top of the 747? Could a shuttler be flown out without, say, its engines? One or both OMS pods? What about the centre of gravity and aerodynamic stability?


Posts: 953
From: South Bend, IN
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 09-02-2004 07:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman1953   Click Here to Email spaceman1953     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Moving those shuttles would be a good idea. Wonder if anybody in authority has thought/talked about it.

Since you all already started this Frances thread, I will take this opportunity to wish all our collectSPACE friends down in that part of the world Godspeed. and hope that somehow they took the most important parts of their collections with them.


Posts: 400
From: Union, New Jersey
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 09-05-2004 02:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkman   Click Here to Email Hawkman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I hope the Fox News site keeps the picture up long enough to see but if it doesn't, it shows the Mercury Redstone on its side at KSC, bent, damaged and missing pieces.


Posts: 2113
From: Staffs, UK
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 09-05-2004 02:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sad to see, but it looks repairable from the images.

It is to be hoped that other structures — like gantries, viewing stands, comms towers etc — on KSC and CCAFS weathered the storm better.

But, more importantly than the hardware, I just hope all our space friends (and everyone down there in Florida and surrounding states) are safe and well.


Posts: 3161
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 09-05-2004 10:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As expected, Ed Mitchell did not show at the autograph event in Burbank, California this weekend due to the storms — but Guenter Wendt was there. He was leaving this afternoon and was understandably concerned at the footage he had seen of the Redstone near his Titusville home.

Please join me in hoping that his home is okay, along with everyone else in Florida.


Posts: 591
From: Madisonville, Louisiana
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-06-2004 12:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for collshubby   Click Here to Email collshubby     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is a sad photo to see of the Mercury-Redstone. But as said above, it does look like it can be repaired.

I noticed today that all of the KSC-based websites that I tried to access were down. Has anyone else noticed this? I was mainly trying to access mission pages.

Looks like there is another lurking, called Ivan or something like that.


Posts: 73
From: Merritt Island, FL, USA
Registered: Feb 2004

posted 09-06-2004 10:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Choose2Go     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I drove by KSC this morning and noticed that besides the Redstone at the Titusville gate the south Merritt Island gate had damage to the Mercury mockup. The Visitor Complex's Rocket Garden had damage as the Juno has toppled and the Thor-Delta lost its upper stage.


Posts: 340
From: Vilano Beach, FL, USA
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 09-06-2004 01:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for star51L   Click Here to Email star51L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA has released the first damage assessment for the Kennedy Space Center:
Emergency crews are on site at Kennedy Space Center in Florida and are providing the first information on conditions there following Hurricane Frances. They report that key buildings such as the Launch Control Center and the massive, white Vehicle Assembly Building are still standing.

The emergency crews see some exterior damage to the VAB, where Space Shuttles are readied for launch. There are a significant number of panels missing from the exterior. The Shuttles themselves rode out the storm in their hangars, known as Orbiter Processing Facilities. We do not yet have information on conditions there.


Posts: 340
From: Vilano Beach, FL, USA
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 09-06-2004 03:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for star51L   Click Here to Email star51L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Additionally from Spaceflight Now:
Hurricane Frances has battered the Kennedy Space Center's 525-ft high Vehicle Assembly Building ripping off over 1000 panels from its exterior, Center Director Jim Kennedy told reporters a short while ago. With another Hurricane possibly on course to hit Florida this weekend, the space agency is worried.

"The VAB is something of concern," Kennedy said."Not only because of the initial damage but because of the potential that Ivan brings to us. Our weather people tell us that Ivan could be at the backdoor of KSC as early as Saturday."

Ivan is a powerful hurricane packing winds of 115 miles per hour, currently located 360 miles east-southeast of Barbados.

Although power was lost to all three Orbiter Processing Facilities (OPFs), which shelter the shuttle fleet, there was no significant damage to the buildings other than some minor water intrusion beneath doors. Power has been restored to OPF bays 1 and 2, but not yet at bay 3, which houses Discovery, the shuttle slated for NASA's post-Columbia return to flight.

NASA's efforts to return the shuttle fleet to flight could also be impacted by extensive damage to the tile manufacturing facility at the space center.

"We believe that the roof is partially gone," Kennedy said. "There is extensive water damage within the facility."

Until repairs can be made, NASA is considering reactivating a recently closed tile manufacturing facility in Palmdale, California, according to Kennedy.

With each panel on the side of the VAB measuring 4 by 10 feet, Kennedy estimated 40,000 square feet has been exposed to the elements. The damage occured on the south and east facing side.

A portion of the grandstand roof at the space center press site has been ripped away and the roof of the news center facility has been damaged.

Kennedy Space Center employees, except those in Disaster Assessment and Recovery Teams, are not to report to work tomorrow.


Posts: 503
From: Highland Heights, KY
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 09-06-2004 05:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nojnj   Click Here to Email nojnj     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA Kennedy Space Center Director Jim Kennedy held a teleconference with the news media this afternoon and provided a preliminary picture of the damage Hurricane Frances inflicted upon the space center. The Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) has the most visible damage. According to Kennedy the damage can be seen on the South and East walls of the VAB. There are some 1,000 panels that have lifted off of the building. There are also areas of insulation and subpanels missing. Each panel is 4x10 feet in size. The Shuttle Tile Facility suffered significant damage. The roof is partially gone and there is extensive water damage inside. There does not appear to be any damage to the Space Shuttles Discovery, Atlantis, or Endeavour.

Steve Smith

Posts: 503
From: Wichita, Kansas, USA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 09-06-2004 07:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve Smith   Click Here to Email Steve Smith     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
An update on Guenter Wendt: We were on the same plane from Burbank to Dallas that left at 6:50 a.m. PDT this Monday, and arrived in Dallas about 11:30 a.m. CDT. He seemed much relieved from his state of mind yesterday afternoon.

He noted his wife was okay, and his house okay (may have been some roof tiles blown off).

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 42988
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-07-2004 03:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was told today that the Apollo Saturn V Center "lost its roof," though it was unclear if there was any damage to the Saturn V itself.


Posts: 340
From: Vilano Beach, FL, USA
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 09-07-2004 08:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for star51L   Click Here to Email star51L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Photos: NASA Kennedy Space Center Cleans Up After Hurricane (photos)

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 42988
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-08-2005 03:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From A Field Guide To American Spacecraft:
On September 5, 2004, Hurricane Francis bore down on Florida's Space Coast, only the second time in recorded history this area was struck by the full force of a hurricane (and second of what would be three strikes that summer). One unfortunate result was the damage of the Mercury Spacecraft mockup atop the Redstone booster found at KSC's Gate 2 on State Hwy. 3. Many of the corrugated panels were tossed around the parking are by the Press Center nearby.

On June 7, 2005, the spacecraft returned. Guard Lee of Apopka, FL, produced the fiberglass reproduction using the original framwork removed earlier. The aluminum escape tower mockup was also cleaned and repainted. This new capsule serves double duty, providing an authentic looking vehicle but also acting as a rain umbrella, preventing future water damage to the booster interior.

Pictures and more details are here.

Jim Gerard, who runs AFGAS, also notes that the toppled Redstone that once stood near KSC Gate 3 has recently been discovered to be one of only two uprated Redstone boosters that did not fly. Until this discovery, the location of neither original Mercury-Redstone was known.

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