NASA Aerial Survey Shows Hurricane Irma's Damage to Kennedy Space Center

This article was updated at 5:28 p.m. after learning that Kennedy Space Center will remain closed Thursday, Sept. 14.

Survey photos from the air and the ground reveal the damage that Hurricane Irma, which tore through Florida starting Sept. 10, dealt to NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC). The storm is now a post-tropical cyclone heading northward. 

The space center in Cape Canaveral, Florida remains closed today (Sept. 13) and will be closed Sept. 14 as well as its damage assessment and recovery team (DART) — joined by KSC's director, Bob Cabana — continues to catalog and mitigate the damage caused by the storm's intense winds and rainfall. NASA closed KSC on Friday (Sept. 8) as Irma approached Florida. [In Photos: Hurricane Irma Damage at NASA's Kennedy Space Center]

A trailer is seen flipped on its side near NASA's massive Vehicle Assembly Building in this photo of Hurricane Irma damage at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida taken on Sept. 12, 2017 during a damage assessment. The storm passed over the space center on Sept. 10. (Image credit: Bill White/NASA)

According to a NASA blog post, the team will put together a damage-assessment report over the next few weeks after a full inspection is complete. KSC has had electricity for the past few days, but it's still without running water.

The recreational facility KARS Park I is flooded at Kennedy Space Center in the wake of Hurricane Irma. (Image credit: Bill White/NASA)

The new images and video show a space center with pools of standing water in wooded areas, torn-up roofs, a broken dock and even some damage to the Beach House, where astronauts would reside before their launches. (However, the damage to the Beach House is not as extensive as it was after Hurricane Matthew.)

NASA's historic Beach House — where astronauts reside before launching on space missions from Kennedy Space Center in Florida — after Hurricane Irma. (Image credit: Bill White/NASA)

Yesterday (Sept. 12), the 250 DART members replaced the 120-person "ride-out team," which weathered the storm as the center's caretakers after it closed. Besides the visible damage cataloged in the aerial survey, there were at least 37 break in the utility system.

Damage from Hurricane Irma to a dock at NASA's Kennedy Space Center is seen in this image from a damage assessment on Sept. 12, 2017 at the Cape Canaveral, Florida spaceport. The massive Vehicle Assembly Building is visible in the distance. (Image credit: Bill White/NASA)

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Sarah Lewin
Associate Editor

Sarah Lewin started writing for in June of 2015 as a Staff Writer and became Associate Editor in 2019 . Her work has been featured by Scientific American, IEEE Spectrum, Quanta Magazine, Wired, The Scientist, Science Friday and WGBH's Inside NOVA. Sarah has an MA from NYU's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program and an AB in mathematics from Brown University. When not writing, reading or thinking about space, Sarah enjoys musical theatre and mathematical papercraft. She is currently Assistant News Editor at Scientific American. You can follow her on Twitter @SarahExplains.