Astronauts aboard the ISS 250 miles above the Earth are having trouble sending down imagery of Hurricane Harvey, because it's parked over Houston, the city they'd be sending it to.
Houston, we have a problem 250 miles above Earth. And it’s because the astronauts about the International Space Station can’t send down imagery of Hurricane Harvey, because they’re supposed to send it to NASA’s Johnson Space Center near Houston, where the storm has dumped feet of rain in the last few days.
“All right, you guys have got photos of Harvey on SSC-21 if you like,” an astronaut called down, according to CBS News.
“Copy, photos of Harvey on SSC-21,” came the reply from mission control. “We do not have an ops plan on this shift because of Harvey, ironically, so we will get them when we can.”
Many flight controllers and other personnel were currently sheltering at the Johnson Space Center as torrential rain and flooding hammers south Texas and the Houston area as the remnants of Hurricane Harvey have been parked over the city since making landfall on Friday.
The crew at NASA is cut off, saying over Twitter that they are basically on an island with high water rescues taking place just a half mile away, and with “abandoned cars all over the roads.”
“At NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, an analysis of Hurricane Harvey’s tremendous rainfall was created using eight days of satellite data,” NASA said in a statement. “NASA’s Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM or IMERG product is used to make estimates of precipitation from a combination of space-borne passive microwave sensors, including the GMI microwave sensor onboard the Global Precipitation Measurement satellite GPM core satellite, and geostationary IR (infrared) data.
“IMERG rainfall estimates for the period 21 to 28 August 2017 showed the accumulated effects of all of the rain from Harvey to date. So far, IMERG shows rainfall totals have reached on the order of 20 inches from the coast near Galveston Bay to in and around the Houston area as a result of the near continuous stream of showers and rain being drawn over the coast in rainbands on the eastern side of Harvey’s counter clockwise cyclonic circulation. Elsewhere, at least 10 inches were calculated to have fallen from western Louisiana all the way to near Corpus Christi on the coast.”