From Jim Kennedy Concerning Frances Aftermath
Greetings, my friends! As we head into day three after the wrath of Hurricane Frances, I wanted to take a moment to address some of the actions the Center has taken in the best interest of KSC and its employees. I will also give you a preliminary picture of how KSC fared after the storm.
First, and foremost, I have received no reports of any of our work force being injured from the storm. If you saw my note last week, this was by far my number one priority. We were all truly blessed. I'm not naive and totally understand hundreds and even thousands of you have home and property damage and many still don't have power. My thoughts are with you during this hectic time.
As I'm sure you heard, and in concert with our major contractors, I made the decision not to bring the total work force back to KSC until Monday, Sept. 13. The major reasons for this decision are as follows: Brevard County has requested that as many people as possible to stay off the roads as the county recovers. There are gas, food and ice shortages the county is managing. At the same time, we have many damaged facilities and we want to make sure we have safe and working facilities for everyone to return to. I also realize many of you are struggling to clean up and maintain your home front. Brevard County Schools are closed until Monday so many people need to take care of their children. Finally, by this weekend, our weather experts will have a good feel for what Hurricane Ivan is going to do. A combination of all these reasons led to the decision. Thanks for your patience and understanding; I know many people are chomping at the bit to check out their offices and facilities for themselves.
At the same time, approximately 500 DART team members, augmented by 500 more people have been assessing damage and bringing the Center back to life. They have been doing Herculean work and I, and the Center's leadership, appreciate it! The following is a sketch of what they have found. Again, this is preliminary and the details will come in the days to follow.
- All of our Space Shuttles, International Space Station elements and Launch services space flight hardware are safe. This includes the SWIFT spacecraft awaiting launch.
- The VAB, however, was not so lucky. It lost 820, 4 x 16 foot panels or more than 52,000 square feet of its surface. The roof is very soggy and soft to the point our recovery team did not feel safe walking on it to inspect it. The external tanks and forward and aft skirts for the solid rocket boosters that were inside the VAB appear to be unharmed.
- The Thermal Protection System Facility, which creates our TPS tiles, blankets, and all the internal thermal control systems for our shuttles is almost totally unserviceable at this time. It lost approximately 35 percent of its roof and much of the equipment and materials were severely damaged.
- The Processing Control Center, which processes our shuttle software, lost its roof. However, because people followed the hurricane plan, plastic sheeting covered the nearly $10 million of computers and our experts believe the computers were saved.
- There are many buildings with roof damage that led to water leaks too numerous to mention here. But we are documenting them all and trying to install temporary fixes. We'll create a priority list and work them all as fast as we can.
To keep you informed, beginning this afternoon, a "Hurricane Frances Recovery Newsletter" will be distributed as best we can across the Center. This will serve as our primary way of communicating what we are doing to recover from Frances, and God forbid, prepare for Hurricane Ivan next week. Keep your spirits up and we'll take it one day at a time.