Jeanne 'kindler, gentler' to KSC than Frances
BY WILLIAM HARWOOD
STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS "SPACE PLACE" & USED WITH PERMISSION
Posted: September 27, 2004
The Kennedy Space Center suffered additional wind and water damage from Hurricane Jeanne, but officials said today the spaceport never experienced hurricane-force winds and that Frances caused considerably more damage.
Spaceport Director James Kennedy said the Vehicle Assembly Building, which lost 820 4-by-16 foot siding panels in Hurricane Frances, lost another 30 during Jeanne's onslaught. The Operations and Checkout building in the space center's industrial area suffered serious water intrusion damage from fifth-floor roof leaks.
But NASA's three space shuttles, along with space station hardware awaiting launch and three unmanned rockets on launch pads at the nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, escaped damage.
At the Kennedy Space Center, sustained winds of 54 mph were recorded at ground level with gusts to 64 mph. At the 492-foot level, sustained winds from Jeanne and Frances were 68 mph. But Frances produced gusts up to 102 mph while Jeanne's gusts measured 93 mph.
Frances generated winds greater than 50 mph for more than 36 hours compared to 21 hours for Jeanne. Rainfall from Frances measured 8 inches while Jeanne produced just 3 inches.
"Frances was definitely more serious in terms of impact," Kennedy said. "All in all, (Jeanne) was definitely a kinder, gentler kind of a storm for us."
Kennedy said he did not yet know what the additional damage from Jeanne might cost and he would not speculate on what impact the storms might have on NASA's plans to resume shuttle flights next year.
The first post-Columbia flight remains officially targeted for March. But that target was in jeopardy even before Jeanne and Frances because of ongoing technical issues implementing return-to-flight safety upgrades.
Given the work stoppage due to the hurricanes, the March launch window no longer appears viable.
Kennedy would not address the issue, but he said senior shuttle program managers will meet late this week at the Johnson Space Center to assess the return-to-flight schedule.