Space is important to us and that’s why we're working to bring you top coverage of the industry and Florida launches. Journalism like this takes time and resources. Please support it with a subscription here.
Update (7:45 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 30): NASA says its Space Launch System rocket slated to launch the Artemis I mission to the moon was not damaged during Hurricane Ian and will fly no earlier than mid-November, according to a Friday statement.
"There was no damage to Artemis flight hardware, and facilities are in good shape with only minor water intrusion identified in a few locations," the agency said. "As teams complete post-storm recovery operations, NASA has determined it will focus Artemis I launch planning efforts on the launch period that opens Nov. 12 and closes Nov. 27."
"Focusing efforts on the November launch period allows time for employees at Kennedy to address the needs of their families and homes after the storm and for teams to identify additional checkouts needed before returning to the pad for launch," NASA said.
Teams will decide on a more specific date soon.
Update (3:08 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 30): The Space Force has issued an "all-clear" for its facilities at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Patrick Space Force Base in the wake of Hurricane Ian. Damages appeared to be minimal.
Facilities and amenities like the base exchange, commissary, and more began opening again Friday. See a full list here.
At Kennedy Space Center, where damages were also minimal, workers began reporting to work again early Friday.
Update (9 p.m. EDT Thursday, Sept. 29): NASA will allow employees to return to work at Kennedy Space Center starting Friday, the agency said in a statement. Damages at the space center from Hurricane Ian appear to have been minimal.
"Teams have cleared most large operational facilities with minimal damage reported. Additional facilities will be assessed Friday," KSC said Thursday night. "Civil service and contract employees will return to work tomorrow Friday, Sept. 30, in accordance with their supervisor’s guidance."
At Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Patrick Space Force Base, meanwhile, the military branch said damages also appear to be minimal so far. Most facilities are still closed, but are expected to start re-opening Friday. See a full list of closures and openings here.
"The preliminary report is that there is minimal damage to the base and its facilities," Space Launch Delta 45 said. "We have recovery teams on location doing a search and walk through. Once there is a full status report, we will follow up with more information."
Check back for updates.
Hurricane Ian's impacts appear to have been mostly minimal across the Space Coast's military bases and spaceport, though assessment and recovery teams still have work ahead of them as the storm's remnants linger over the area.
Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Patrick Space Force Base, and Kennedy Space Center all remained in HURCON I status as of Thursday morning, the highest readiness level.
At Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Patrick Space Force Base, teams were still in HURCON 1C status, meaning recovery and response had not yet been activated.
"Preliminary reports sound like there is minimal damage and impact from the storm," Space Launch Delta 45's Heather Scott, chief of media operations, said in a statement. "Once we reach HURCON 1R status, and it is safe to do so, our teams will perform assessments and we will have a report out as quickly as possible."
At KSC, damage assessment teams had been dispatched to investigate impacts from Ian. Updates were expected later in the day, but officials had not heard of any significant damage to the spaceport and its facilities.
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, meanwhile, said it would be closed to guests through Friday.
"All attractions, exhibits, programs and the Kennedy Space Center Bus Tour will be open for regular operating hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Oct. 1," the visitor complex said in a statement.
Note: The above section will be updated as conditions improve and more information becomes available.
Ian on the Space Coast: Live updates: Hurricane Ian and Brevard, how the storm will affect the Space Coast on Thursday
Rocket launch impacts
Ian's impact on the launch schedule, however, was more significant. The backlog includes at least three missions now on a back-to-back cadence.
The Space Coast had at least two launches planned this week before Ian hit, but the next is now expected no earlier than Tuesday, Oct. 4. That's when United Launch Alliance plans to launch an Atlas V rocket from the Cape's Launch Complex 41 with two commercial communications satellites for Luxembourg operator SES. Liftoff is slated for 5:36 p.m. EDT.
SpaceX is then expected to fly the next mission from KSC's pad 39A. A Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule will take three astronauts and a cosmonauts to the International Space Station no earlier than noon on Wednesday, Oct. 5. That will mark the opening of a six-month science mission for the crew.
Then at the Cape's Launch Complex 40, SpaceX is targeting Oct. 6 to boost two Intelsat communications satellites to orbit. Liftoff of that Falcon 9 rocket is expected sometime in the early evening between 6 and 8 p.m. EDT.
In the Vehicle Assembly Building, meanwhile, the massive Artemis I moon rocket continues to stay sheltered ahead of its next launch attempt. Another two-week opportunity to fly opens Oct. 17, but officials and experts say liftoff is more likely sometime in the Nov. 12 to 27 window.
For the latest, visit floridatoday.com/launchschedule.
This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Hurricane Ian: Kennedy Space Center, Space Force bases appear OK