As Hurricane Dorian lurches toward Florida, NASA is working to secure key launch infrastructure at Kennedy Space Center.
In a tweeted video on Thursday, the space agency said it's in HURCON VI status -- Hurricane Condition 4. “What that means is that within 72 hours, or about three days, we’re expecting winds of up to 50 knots. For those that are not on a nautical vessel, that’s about 58 miles per hour,” an official said in the video. “Our process right now is to protect our assets and infrastructure from potential damage, most notably being the Mobile Launcher, which will be located back inside the Vehicle Assembly Building for safekeeping.”
“If we do get to a HURCON I status, that means that Dorian is here and we’re ready for impact,” he added.
The Mobile Launcher is key to America’s space future. It'll be used to launch NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39B for future Artemis missions to the Moon.
The Artemis program aims to land American astronauts on the Moon once more by 2024 and establish a sustainable human presence on Earth’s natural satellite. Artemis will also make history by landing the first woman on the Moon.
In 2017 NASA said that Kennedy Space Center had sustained “a variety of damage” as a result of Hurricane Irma.
A year earlier NASA reported limited damage to Kennedy Space Center from Hurricane Matthew.
Four days before the system is expected to come ashore, projections say Dorian could hit practically anywhere in Florida, meteorologists said. As of Thursday, the National Hurricane Center had practically all of eastern Florida included in a cone of uncertainty, meaning the entire region was at risk.
Florida's official hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30, and typically enters its peak in mid-August.
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