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NASA officials and agency contract workers respond to Hurricane Dorian's fierce wind and rain, securing rocket stages, spacecraft assembly areas, and even hauling a 6.7 million pound mobile launch pad for the spacecraft huge rocket being built for the Artemis lunar program is scheduled to start the 19659004 planned construction of the 355 foot high portal structure on a squat Apollo-era crawler 6,2 km drive from takeoff complex 39B back to protect the VAB at daybreak Friday , a ride that is expected to take more than eight hours.
The VAB is designed to withstand wind speeds of 200 km / h without major damage. The highest wind ever recorded at NASA's launch site during an earlier hurricane was around 180 km / h.
"Right, we're dealing with a Cat 4 Hurricane with no sneezing," said Bob Cabana, director of The Kennedy Space Center and a former shuttle commander, CBS News. "It is predicted that we will come a little south of us, which actually puts us on the wet side of the storm, the storm surge that gives cause for concern."
After the Hurricane Sandy in 2012, beach The dunes that protected the launch ramps 39A and 39B suffered great damage and erosion. After two recent hurricanes, Irma and Matthew, a beach restoration project was carried out and more sand was pumped ashore.
"Unfortunately, all the growth needed to stabilize the dunes has no chance of really gaining a foothold," said Cabana. "We'll see how it behaves in the face of the impending storm surge, and I hope there's enough out there to keep it in place, and this is also to protect the pads."
As for the mobile one sitting on Pad 39B Launcher says, "this is obviously a huge investment," Cabana said of the towering structure. As Dorian approached Florida's Space Coast, NASA executives met on Wednesday and decided to protect the crawler transporter. The mobile launcher was designed to withstand a Category 1 hurricane. Given the steady reinforcement by Dorian was on Thursday, the decision to transport the rocket back in the VAB.
The Space Center will be transferred to Hurricane 3 (Hurcon 3) on Friday. Usually this happens when wind speeds of 50 knots are expected within 48 hours. Cabana, however, said that he had set the wind speed earlier than usual. "We wanted to get ready early on a holiday weekend and make sure people had a chance to increase wind speed. Finish work Saturday and Sunday and make your own arrangements.
Based on the route of the storm and if strong winds are expected, NASA plans to close the Kennedy Space Center on Sunday. A team of 100 to 120 people from the Space Center will be left behind in the emergency response center, which is located next to the VAB in the Launch Control Center. The building is designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane.
"Once the storm is over, we'll call in the damage assessment and recovery team to make sure the center is sure people will get back on board," Cabana said. "Depending on how things are going, we could bring them in on Tuesday. It only depends on when the storm is over and how the wind blows and when it is safe. "
Space Launch System missiles being built by Boeing in a sprawling facility just outside New Orleans bring the capsules of the Orion crew to the moon. A non-flown test flight is scheduled for 2021, followed by a test flight crewed around the Moon in 2022-23 and a lunar landing mission in 2024.
The Orion capsule built by Lockheed Martin is launched on the Moon The first SLS Booster in 2021 will be mounted in a hangar-like processing building in the heart of the Kennedy Space Center, where Apollo Moonships were once tested for flight. Sandbags are positioned around door frames, and loose material outside the building is transported indoors.
A spokeswoman for the United Launch Alliance, a partnership between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, which builds Delta-4 and Atlas-5 missiles, said the company is providing the vehicles in processing facilities at Cape Canaveral Air Protected by Force Station. The Atlas levels required for the launch of Boeing's first two commercial crew ships CST-100 Starliner are located on the Cape, as are components for a Delta 4 "Heavy" scheduled to launch next year.
"All ULA facilities are designed to withstand hurricane winds," the spokeswoman told Spaceflight Now. "These design loads vary with the plant and the time frame in which it was designed. Most of our launch facilities are designed for wind speeds of 200 km / h and higher. … Our design processes include additional factors in addition to these wind loads, so we would expect our systems to withstand higher winds without suffering major damage.
SpaceX is launching missile Falcon 9 from Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Falcon 9s and Falcon Heavy Booster from Pad 39A at the nearby Kennedy Space Center. A spokesman said the company is working with Air Force and NASA personnel "to take all necessary precautions to protect our employees and protect facilities in the potentially affected areas."
Cabana said he was confident that Dorian would "exercise no greater influence" on the community and our people. "
" That's the biggest concern, "he said. "Hardware, this is interchangeable, but my concern is the team here at KSC. I want to make sure everyone comes home to look after their families and that everyone returns safely to bring Artemis to the moon by 2024."