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Mon, Oct 24, 2005

KSC Battens Down The Hatches

Space Center Closed Monday Due To Storm

NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Titusville, FL will be closed Monday to all business and operations in anticipation of the threat caused by Hurricane Wilma. The storm is expected to make landfall along the southwestern coast of Florida by Monday morning as a strong Category 2 storm, although it should weaken to a Category 1 by the time it reaches the eastern portion of the state.

The center was placed on HurCon II status Sunday afternoon, according to a NASA press release, and center officials sent all employees home. KSC government and contractor employees were told not to report for work Monday, as were employees of the KSC Visitor Complex.

Facilities and launch pads have been secured, and the payload bay doors of the three space shuttles at the facility have been closed to prevent damage to the delicate shuttle innards by debris falling inside hangars, or leaking water. The New Horizons spacecraft, scheduled to be launched towards Pluto in January 2006, was placed inside a protective transport canister inside its clean room for the same reason.

KSC went into HurCon I (or "rideout") status at 8 p.m. Sunday, 12 hours before the expected arrival of the storm. Kennedy Space Center employees are urged to maintain contact with NASA through a toll-free hotline, or via the NASA employee website.

FMI: www.nasa.gov

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