SpaceX facilities at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is experiencing one of the largest storms to hit the coast of Florida in the last 50 years. Hurricane Matthew’s massive 5 to 8 foot storm surges and destructive wind gusts expected to reach over 130 mph have forced all personnel at the Kennedy Space Center to evacuate.
As billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s space company continues to work on solving the mystery behind the recent Falcon 9 rocket explosion that damaged its current launch pad, nearby pad 39A originally intended for the company’s upcoming Falcon Heavy rocket was being modified to support Falcon 9 space missions, expected to resume flight as early as next month. However, the impact of Hurricane Matthew on launchpad 39A and nearby launch structures, situated a few hundred yards away from the surging Atlantic Ocean, could create further delays if damaged by tides and hurricane force winds.
Meanwhile, SpaceX’s ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ floating drone ship remains tethered at Port Canaveral with tugboat operators stationed nearby in the event something catastrophic happens, according to port CEO John Murray. “There are a couple of tug boats, one fuel barge that can’t leave. The SpaceX droneship is moored alongside with a tugboat standing by in case it needs to be protected,” Murray said.
Hurricane Matthew is expected to pass late Friday before hitting Georgia and the Carolina coasts on Saturday.