NASA's Kennedy Space Center, SpaceX Facility Not Spared From Hurricane Matthew
Hurricane Matthew pounded on Haiti and the Bahamas the last few days, leaving properties wrecked and some people dead. Matthew, the category 4 hurricane, was even spotted from space by the camera aboard the International Space Station (ISS). As it turned out, even the Kennedy Space Center and SpaceX facility in Cape Canaveral Air Force Base were not spared from its wrath.
The launch pads in Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida and their high-tech facility were not spared from Hurricane Matthew. Both launch pads serve as bases for many space flight activities for NASA and other commercial space flight service companies such as SpaceX.
NASA's rocket launch facility was also pounded by hurricane Matthew last Friday, Oct. 7. The storm caused power outage and many physical damages. Images of Kennedy Space Center were released to the public to show the damage incurred during the storm. The photos show roof damages and not an imminent threat to NASA's crucial equipment and rockets.
However, the space agency is still thankful that no major hardware was damaged when Matthew plowed through Florida. Most rockets, space crafts and other space exploration equipment on the launch pad remained unharmed.
"While there is damage to numerous facilities at Kennedy Space Center (KSC), it consists largely of roof damage, window damage, water intrusion, damage to modular buildings and to building siding," NASA representative Sarah Loff said in a statement. "There does not appear to be damage to flight hardware at this time," Loff added.
Although there were scattered debris, power outage and roof damage, none of these bear a huge impact on equipment and rockets owned by NASA.
The storm passed Cape Canaveral at 9:45 am, according to NASA. The impact of the storm was felt at 8:30 am at NASA's launch pad located about 26 miles from the tip of Cape Canaveral Air Force Base.
The storm had recorded winds of 107 miles per hour. Because of Matthew's powerful winds, employees were forced to evacuate; however, a crew composed of 116 people remained throughout the storm to secure the facility. SpaceX also confirmed that they were closely monitoring the weather conditions in their launch pad during the storm. However, it looks like SpaceX suffered more damages compared to NASA's as Saturday's initial investigation shows.
"Hurricane Matthew caused some damage to the exterior of SpaceX's payload processing facility at Space Launch Complex-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The company has a ready and fully capable back-up for processing payloads at its SLC-40 hangar annex building," a SpaceX official said in an Interview with Ars Technica. "There was no damage to the company's facilities at Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center."