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Allard Beutel
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone 202/358-4769)

James Hartsfield
Johnson Space Center, Houston
(Phone 281/483-5111)

September 21, 2005
RELEASE : M05-159
NASA's Johnson Space Center Closes Due to Hurricane Rita
NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston will close at 2 p.m. EDT today due to the threat posed to the Houston-Galveston area by Hurricane Rita. A small, emergency rideout crew will remain on site.

The center will not reopen until the storm threat has passed. Employees may monitor the status of the center by contacting emergency information phone lines that will be updated as information becomes available: 281/483-3351 or 1-877/283-1947.

Johnson Space Center is the home to NASA astronauts and is responsible for their training. Johnson's Mission Control Center directs all space shuttle missions and manages all activity onboard the International Space Station.

Primary flight control of the station will transition to the Russian Mission Control Center in Korolev, outside Moscow. As usual, a group of NASA flight controllers is positioned at the Russian control center to assist with operations. Also, an advisory group of flight controllers will provide operations assistance from a remote location. All station systems are operating normally, and the crew has been informed of the plans for Johnson Space Center's closure.

Employees have been working for the past couple of days to protect important documents and equipment at the center. NASA aircraft are being moved to El Paso, Texas, as part of the center's hurricane preparations.

Members of the media may obtain additional information on NASA operations from NASA Headquarters, Washington.

For updates and images of Hurricane Rita on the Web, visit:


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