NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is preparing to weather the arrival of Hurricane Dorian, which could hit Florida early next week.
Those preparations include preparing to protect the massive Mobile Launcher that is currently on a launch pad undergoing testing in part of NASA’s Artemis program to land astronauts on the moon in 2024, should the team decide such a move is necessary. The Mobile Launcher is a tower designed to support NASA’s Space Launch System megarocket when it’s on the launchpad for missions to the moon and beyond.
“We have a hurricane, which is forecast to come to Florida,” NASA’s Derrol Nail said in a video update from the spaceport, “and so this particular launch tower, which is 400 feet tall, is obviously at risk of being damaged by a hurricane if it makes a hit in this area.”
Dorian became a hurricane on Wednesday (Aug. 28) as it made its way across the Caribbean Sea. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Hurricane Center (NHC), the hurricane is currently forecast to head north-northwest on Friday, turn west across the northern Bahamas over the weekend, and hit Florida on Monday, although that is all still subject to change as the storm develops.
As usual for tropical storms and hurricanes, meteorologists tracking Hurricane Dorian are relying heavily on satellite views of the storm. The latest imagery shows the hurricane from the perspective of NOAA’s GOES-East satellite on Aug. 28 and 29. The six astronauts living and working on board the International Space Station can also see the hurricane developing.