NASA's historic spaceport in Florida, the Kennedy Space Center, has received the "all clear" after a glancing blow from Hurricane Dorian Wednesday (Sept. 4).
Hurricane Dorian, currently a Category 2 storm on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale, drenched the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Cape Canaveral with torrents of rain and brutal winds as its outer layers blew past the spaceport overnight Tuesday and early Wednesday. A damage assessment team will begin reviewing the storm's impact to the center on Thursday.
KSC officials closed the spaceport last week as Dorian, then a harrowing Category 5 storm, threatened to hit Florida's east coast. The storm has since weakened and turned north, avoiding a head-on hit to Florida. Still, a 120-member "Ride Out Team" has been encamped inside the center's Launch Control Center since Monday (Sept. 2) to monitor the storm's impact, NASA officials said. Members of the U.S. Air Force's 45th Space Wing also rode out the storm at the launch center, the space agency said.
"Data from our 250-foot tower clocked the top wind speed at 90 mph (145 km)," KSC officials said in a Twitter update. "The closest approach Dorian's eye [made] to the Cape was 70 nautical miles (130 km)."
Raising the American flag at Kennedy’s historic countdown clock was one of the first actions by security after the “all clear” for #HurricaneDorian was given pic.twitter.com/4asuWlIR5YSeptember 4, 2019
By midday Wednesday, officials had declared the all-clear at the space center, with a security detail raising an American flag above the iconic countdown clock at Launch Complex 39, which saw the launches of NASA's most historic Apollo and space shuttle missions.
"The Damage Assessment and Recovery Team will fully survey Kennedy for Hurricane Dorian damage on Thursday," KSC officials said via Twitter. "Workers at NASA Kennedy are scheduled return to work Friday."
The Damage Assessment and Recovery Team will fully survey Kennedy for #HurricaneDorian damage on Thursday ⛈ Workers at @NASA Kennedy are scheduled return to work Friday 👩🚀 pictured: Emergency Management Officer Tim Moore and Brig. Gen. Doug Schiess pic.twitter.com/dBRUnWzLBKSeptember 4, 2019
As of 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT) on Wednesday, Hurricane Dorian had maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (175 km/h) and was located about 150 miles (245 km) south of Charleston, South Carolina, according to a National Hurricane Center update. The storm is forecast to approach South Carolina's east coast late Wednesday and move near or over the North Carolina coast on Thursday and Friday, the center reported.
If you live along Hurricane Dorian's path, follow your local National Weather Service office for the latest forecasts. You can find the latest updates on Dorian from the NHC here.
- NASA Sees Hurricane Dorian from Space Station (Video)
- NASA's Kennedy Space Center Prepares for Hurricane Dorian
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Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.