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John Yembrick
Headquarters, Washington

Allard Beutel
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Aug. 20, 2008
RELEASE : 08-210
NASA Kennedy Space Center Partly Reopens
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., will reopen Thursday at 10 a.m. EDT for "mission essential" personnel. Kennedy has been closed since Tuesday because of Tropical Storm Fay, which is continuing to bring heavy rain and wind to the region.

Individual center supervisors will define which workers are considered "mission essential." These will include employees who are needed to ensure center infrastructure is safe and working, and personnel who process spaceflight hardware, such as space shuttles and Hubble Space Telescope equipment. A liberal leave policy for employees will be in effect Thursday. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will remain closed Thursday, but reopen on Friday.

Plans call for the center to open to all employees and return to full operation Friday.

Based on initial assessments, there are no injuries, damage to flight hardware or flooding associated with Fay at the center. Only minor damage has been seen on a few facilities, including the Vehicle Assembly Building, which lost one exterior panel from its east side.

About 200 emergency personnel, known as a "ride-out crew," will remain on-site overnight into Thursday morning to provide real-time storm assessments.

Kennedy workers should check with the center's hurricane information phone line for the latest status: 321-861-7900 or 1-866-572-4877. Employees should check with their supervisors if they have not been notified about their Thursday work status.

Storm updates also are available online at the agency's emergency operation center Web site:

Reporters also can hear the latest status by using Kennedy's media update phone line: 321-867-2525.

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