NASA Prepares for Hurricane Ivan
Melissa Mathews/Allard Beutel |
Sept. 14, 2004
Weather forecasts indicate some NASA centers and facilities could feel Ivan's terrible wrath.
Preparations are under way to secure important space flight hardware. NASA's Stennis Space Center (SSC), Miss., and the Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, are getting ready to ride out the storm. Other NASA installations, from Johnson Space Center, Houston, to Kennedy Space Center, Fla., are keeping a wary eye on Ivan's track.
"We really saw our readiness for Hurricanes Charley and Frances pay off," said William Readdy, NASA's associate administrator for space operations. "KSC was in the path of those two strong storms, and while some of our buildings were damaged, we made sure our workforce was safe and had no injuries. We were also able to protect our three Space Shuttles, our International Space Station components, and other key hardware. Ivan looks like it may be an even more powerful storm, so it's important that we do everything we can to prepare our people and our facilities," he said.
At SSC, where Space Shuttle engines are tested before flight, workers were sent home this afternoon to prepare for the storm with their families. A team of essential personnel plans to ride out the storm. Two flight-qualified Space Shuttle Main Engines were secured; one was put back into its container, and the other was wrapped in plastic. Two developmental engines were enclosed on their test stands and protected.
A ride-out team will remain in place through the storm at Michoud, across the Mississippi-Louisiana border from SSC. Lockheed Martin and NASA workers were dismissed this morning to make preparations at home. The large Space Shuttle external fuel tanks manufactured and assembled at Michoud, a NASA facility operated by Lockheed-Martin, have been secured. Equipment was moved indoors, facilities sandbagged, and important materials, such as insulating foam and adhesive, loaded onto trucks for transportation out of the area, if necessary.
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), located well inland in Huntsville, Ala., is also taking precautions and making preparations for possible tornados or other effects from Ivan.
The International Space Station (ISS) crew is also keeping watch over the storm. Video and still images from the Station are feeding on NASA TV. They will be updated as new footage becomes available. Images are also available on NASA's Web site.
NASA TV is available on the Web and via satellite, in the continental U.S., on AMC-6, Transponder 9C, C-Band, located at 72 degrees west longitude. The frequency is 3880.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical, and audio is monaural at 6.80 MHz. In Alaska and Hawaii, NASA TV is available on AMC-7, Transponder 18C, C-Band, located at 137 degrees west longitude. Frequency is 4060.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical, and audio is monaural at 6.80 MHz. More information is available at:
http://www.nasa.gov/ntv Employees at any of NASA's facilities in Ivan's path can also use the NASA Web site to get status updates and information about reporting to work. That information is available at:
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