Hurricane Flybys

Instead of the usual Friday Flybys mix, this week's Flybys are all Katrina-related.

Hurricane blows away launch date:
Not that NASA had a launch date for the next shuttle mission. But
now, with half of the 2,000 workers at the Michoud Assembly Facility east of New Orleans still unaccounted for, and damage to Michoud and Stennis Space Center estimated at $1.1 billion, including repair of buildings and providing homes and help for displaced employees and contractors, NASA cannot say when the shuttle will fly again.

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A hit, a miss:
One bright note appears to be that another storm, Ophelia (not a moon of Uranus), which grew into a hurricane overnight and then weakened back into a tropical storm by morning, will likely spare Florida and Cape Canaveral, despite fears yesterday. And computer models now show no risk it will enter the Gulf coast. (However, we are warned Ophelia does have the potential to loop around and restrengthen into a hurricane over the next day or so. Hurricanes so suck.)

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California dreamin'...
A Californian writes to
Alan Boyle suggesting that to avoid future hurricanes, "NASA and its contractors might consider moving back out to the West Coast and move its displaced workers at the same time. The facilities are still here at Plant 42, Edwards Air Force Base and Phillips Laboratory as well as throughout Southern California."

But Alan points out, "there's so much infrastructure in Cape Canaveral, both physical and intellectual, that it would be difficult to contemplate a move."

And see
Rand Simberg's interesting elaboration as to why launching shuttles from the sunshine state is not that simple. (Apart, that is, from the California hazards Rand's readers mention, such as brushfires, earthquakes and Sean Penn. But hey, don't look at me, I love California.)

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Florida dreamin'...
And no word that Space Adventures is thinking twice about maybe basing its space tourism operations somewhere other than in the hurricane zone. (link via Alan Boyle)

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Be safe and dry.

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