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
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.