The mighty storm Dorian unleashed a siege of devastation over the Bahamas and Florida. Storm surges, wind and rain have claimed many lives and destroyed homes and infrastructure. Dorian is reported to be one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes on record.
Orion and its European Service Module is designed to sustain the loads of launch and the rigours of the space environment and to fly to the Moon but it was not designed to have a close encounter with a hurricane. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, where Orion is currently, has well-established procedures for storms.
The centre was closed on August 31 but with the Orion wrapped up and the vehicle put in a safe condition.
Kennedy Space Center was reopened after the storm subsided and testing of Orion has resumed. Airbus campaign manager Lillo Gemelli who was on site says: “We are glad that the bulk of the hurricane avoided KSC and that the KSC building and Orion vehicle suffered no damage but more importantly that all our NASA and industry colleagues are safe, our thoughts go to the people who have lost families and friends and property due to this storm.”
The complete Orion spacecraft will head to NASA’s Plum Brook station in less than two months.