Warnings issued for Hurricane Matthew as KSC closes down
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — KSC closed its doors at 1 p.m. EDT (17:00 GMT) on Wednesday, Oct. 5, as Hurricane Matthew wound its way up toward Florida out of the Caribbean.
As of this writing, Matthew is a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 120 mph (193 km/h) and is about 70 miles north-northeast of Cabo Lucrecia, Cuba.
The space agency provided the following statement about its activities in advance of Matthew’s arrival: “Across the spaceport, essential personnel are preparing facilities for the storm’s arrival. Hurricane Matthew is expected to make its closest approach to the Cape Canaveral/Kennedy area overnight Thursday and into Friday morning, bringing with it the potential for heavy rain, storm surge and hurricane-force winds.”
After Matthew has passed over the Space Coast, NASA will assess what damage, if any, has occurred and then allow the civil and contractor workforce to return (after it has been determined that it is safe for them to do so).
NASA has good reason to take precautions. In 2004, Hurricane Frances caused damage to the exterior of the Vehicle Assembly Building as well as other facilities at KSC.
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station has progressed from Hurricane Condition IV to II in just the past 24 hours. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will be closed on Thursday, Oct. 6, and Friday, Oct. 7. Visitor complex officials anticipate reopening on Saturday, Oct. 8, at 9 a.m. after a thorough assessment of the property has been completed.
Governor Rick Scott has already issued a State of Emergency as Florida braces for Matthew’s arrival. This would mark the first time that a major hurricane has made landfall in Florida since Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
The Kennedy Space Center codaphone, 321-867-2525, will be updated periodically with Kennedy hurricane status.
Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.