JSC begins Rita Evacuation

by Chris Bergin

Staff at the Johnson Space Center are now officially starting to evacuate the NASA center due to concerns over Hurricane Rita’s current path.

The category five Hurricane – stronger than the recently devistating Hurricane Katrina is currently in the Gulf of Mexico, but is projected to hit land in Texas late on Friday.

Managers at the home of “Mission Control” were in meetings during Wednesday, before finalising plans for the evacuation – should the dangerous storm continue to follow projections from weather agencies. JSC is now evacuting.

Plans will include a “handover” of the control of the International Space Station (ISS) to Russian Mission Controllers near Moscow and placement of a specialist ISS centre at another unnamed NASA facility in case of a major incident on the outpost during the JSC downtime.

The location of JSC is at Clear Lake, near Houston – part of Galveston Bay, which is near the targeted Gulf of Mexico.

While forecasters note that the path of Rita can change without much warning, Texas is taking no chances, with the Mayor of Houston asking people to make their preparations to evacuate – learning from the lessons of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated an area the size of the UK recently.

That Hurricane spared NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans from major damage, although they are also not taking any chances, with the employees that have returned to the External Tank factory also on standby to once again leave.

Further updates will be published when information is forthcoming.

Live update thread:

Related Articles