In Brief

NASA's Kennedy Space Center Reopens Saturday, One Week After Hurricane Irma

KSC after Irma
Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39 and surroundings can be seen in this aerial survey image after Hurricane Irma passed through on Sept. 10. (Image credit: NASA)

NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) will finally reopen tomorrow (Sept. 16), just over one week after it closed to prepare for Hurricane Irma.

The Florida space center weathered some visible damage and flooding from the storm, as spotted in an aerial survey, and was without water safe for drinking until today (Sept. 15). To take care of the center during the hurricane, 120 employees formed a "ride-out" team; a 250-person damage-assessment and recovery team replaced them on Sept. 12. Now, all 7,900 employees can return.

"The center has received an all clear for employees to return; however, recovery operations are ongoing and personnel should use caution when returning to work," NASA officials wroteon KSC's emergency management website.

The officials noted that all identified hazards had been controlled but that there might be debris; they asked that employees be aware of their surroundings and report any additional issues they find.

An estimate from the Patrick Air Force Base 45th Space Wing Weather Squadron said wind speeds during the storm varied from 67-94 mph (59-82 knots) at the 54-foot (16 meters) level to 90-116 mph (79-101 knots) at the 458-foot (140 m) level.

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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.