Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Sept. 13, 1999
STATUS REPORT : S-19990913
3:40 PM EDT

Over the weekend, KSC workers got a head start on implementation of the center's standard hurricane preparedness plan. By about 9 p.m. tonight, all possible steps to protect Shuttle flight hardware, payloads, equipment and facilities will be accomplished at KSC. Should Hurricane Floyd continue on its predicted track, all KSC employees will be released from work at about 4:30 p.m. today to allow adequate time for personal hurricane preparation. Forecasters currently indicate that Central Florida's east coast could experience winds in excess of 50 knots by 4 p.m. Tuesday and in excess of 100 knots by 2 a.m. Wednesday.

Space Shuttles Discovery, Endeavour and Columbia remain in Orbiter Processing Facility bays 1, 2 and 3 respectively. Orbiter Atlantis is being stored in Vehicle Assembly Building high bay 2. Today, workers closed the payload bay doors on all orbiters and are protecting the landing gear as part of standard hurricane protection efforts. Shuttle and payload test equipment will be raised above floor level to avert flood damage. The Rotating Service Structures at Launch Pads 39A and 39B will be rotated back to the Fixed Service Structures to maximize their protection from high winds.

Eleven solid rocket booster segments are being prepared for transport to Tallahassee, FL, by railroad. If railroad traffic and local evacuation efforts prohibit transport efforts, the segments will be secured at KSC underneath their railcar covers. The Vehicle Assembly Building and launch pads can withstand winds of 125 mph. The Orbiter Processing Facility can withstand winds of 105 mph and other payload and flight hardware support facilities can endure winds of 110 mph.

Besides protecting the orbiters and payloads within the facilities, the buildings themselves are being secured. This includes boarding windows, removing or tying down antennas, and sandbagging doors. The Kennedy Space Center elevation is approximately nine feet, so a concern for water intrusion exists in the event of a storm surge.

The Orbiter Processing Facility is designed to withstand winds of 105 mph, the VAB, PHSF and launch pads 125 mph, and the other payload and flight hardware facilities, 110 mph.

In the Space Station Processing Facility, the International Space Station flight hardware is already elevated in test stands but are also being covered. Test equipment is also being elevated and covered. The SRTM payload will ride out the storm in the Space Station Processing Facility high bay inside the payload canister with the doors closed. In the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility, the Hubble Space Telescope flight elements are being bagged and the test equipment covered.

Rideout crews totaling about 120 individuals will be stationed throughout KSC during the storm. At about 4 p.m. Tuesday, a decision will be made to keep the rideout crews on location at KSC or to have then evacuate the center as well. KSC is scheduled to be closed Tuesday and Wednesday.


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