The majority of NASA’s 14,000 workers at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) returned to the Florida facilities earlier this week.
The KSC was closed for nearly a week. During that time, the facilities were hit with sustained winds about 70 mph (113 km/h) and gusts as high as 94 mph (151 km/h
There were no indications of injuries to employees or damage to space-flight hardware. Initial evaluations of KSC’s two launch pads suggest they are in good shape. While the SWIFT spacecraft, which is scheduled for launch early next month, also appears fine, the building that housed it during the hurricane suffered damage.
The most visible damage occurred at the site’s Vehicle Assembly Building. The effects seem cosmetic, with about 820 panels (measuring 14 feet by 6 feet each) torn off during the storm. An initial survey of the building’s interior showed the equipment was unscathed, including two space-shuttle external tanks.
While the preliminary assessments gave personnel a survey of the damage, it will take weeks or months to complete thorough evaluations of Kennedy’s 900 buildings.
While the cleanup continues, KSC personnel will watch the path of Hurricane Ivan. As this hurricane moves inland on Louisiana and Alabama, it still bring fierce storm effects to the east coast of Florida.