Jolly Ol' St. Nick Reportedly Interested In New Lightning
NASA tells ANN the space agency has granted permission to Santa
Claus to access Kennedy Space Center's airspace on Christmas Eve,
The jolly fellow, in his reindeer-propelled sleigh, is expected
to fly over the center sometime between 2200 and midnight EST to
take a close look at the ongoing construction at Launch Pad 39B.
Workers are installing a new lightning protection system as part of
the efforts to transition the pad from a space shuttle facility
into the launch site for the Constellation Program's Ares I crew
NASA says officials at the North Pole are interested in the
weather safety upgrades at the launch pad because they may install
a similar system around Santa's workshop. The new system at Pad 39B
will feature large cables strung between three 594-foot-tall steel
and fiberglass towers. The towers will be the tallest structures on
KSC property when completed, surpassing the 52-story Vehicle
"We're always concerned about safety, so following NASA's lead
is always a good idea," said chief toymaker Buzz Elfrin. He added
that Space Coast residents and families living in surrounding areas
may be able to catch a glimpse of Santa during his flyby of the
center, depending on the sleigh's altitude.
The launch pad will be the site of the first Ares test flight,
called Ares I-X, scheduled for 2009.
The automated landing systems will be left on in the automatic
mode at the Shuttle Landing Facility during Christmas Eve to
support any emergency Santa may experience while in the Central
Florida area. No government expense is involved in leaving these
landing systems on.
Although it has never been confirmed that Santa has made a pit
stop at Kennedy, a routine sweep of the runway to remove debris
after the holidays last year produced one ripped stocking, a broken
toy truck and what appeared to be reindeer tracks.