Flooding in Houston, Texas, due to the catastrophic hurricane Harvey has forced NASA to keep its Johnson Space Centre closed.
According to the space agency, while the centre was closed due to flooding mission control continued to operate as normal. The JSC in Houston has been closed to all non-critical staff from Sunday and will remain closed on Tuesday. The NASA facility covers 1,700 acres southeast of Houston.
The JSC Emergency Management said: “Centre Closure Includes all Sites.”
“While the vast majority of our workforce is safe, many have experienced severe flood damage, are without power and may need other assistance,” JSC Director Ellen Ochoa, a former astronaut, said.
NASA added that the Mission Control Centre is “operational and fully capable of supporting the International Space Station (ISS) from Houston”.
“Oh boy – looks like a tonne of rain is about to unload. Here’s a prayer for family, friends & everyone in Hurricane Harvey’s path…stay safe,” astronaut Jack Fischer, who is currently in the ISS, posted photos of the storm when he orbited over the hurricane.
Later, the ISS account shared pictures Fischer photographed from the station’s six-sided observation dome.
“Wish I was up there and not down here,” said JSC Director Ochoa who retweeted the images.
Tropical storm Harvey is still causing catastrophic flooding in the Houston area, as NASA satellites saw the storm’s centre moving back into the Gulf of Mexico.The National Weather Service extended the flash flood warning that includes the JSC area on Monday night.
The Category 4 hurricane made landfall on the night of August 25 in the coastal area of Texas.
It later downgraded to a tropical storm. Torrential rain has been pouring down in the coastal area as well as Greater Houston, resulting in heavy flooding.
At least 10 people have died as a result of the storm, as floodwaters continue to turn streets into waterways and gush into buildings, reports said.