Skip to comments.Rounding up roadkill for shuttle safety - Kennedy Space Center
Posted on 04/27/2006 2:00:59 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - NASA is trying to rid the Kennedy Space Center of vultures after the shuttle struck one of the large birds during lift-off last year on the first flight after the Columbia disaster.
The space center has set up what it calls a "road kill posse" to quickly clear as many carcasses as possible from the 6,000-acre site (2,400-hectare), in hopes of encouraging the vulture population to relocate by cutting off its food supply.
When shuttle Discovery lifted off the launch pad last July on the first flight since the 2003 Columbia accident, it hit a vulture during its climb to orbit.
Discovery did not suffer any damage that time, from the vulture or from the chunks of foam that fell off its fuel tank during launch. But NASA fears collisions with the large, carrion-eating birds could damage shuttle heat shields, leaving the spacecraft vulnerable to an accident like the one that killed Columbia's seven astronauts.
"We need everyone's help," the agency wrote in newsletters distributed to the space center's work force last week. "A crew will be sent to quickly remove the carrion before the vultures are attracted to the free meal."
About 500 pounds of animal carcasses have been removed since the program began two weeks ago, the center said.
In addition to picking up dead animals, the space center said it was employing other tactics to discourage the vultures, including testing a sound system that would broadcast loud noises and spraying a noxious chemical. The center said it would also try to trap and remove the birds.
The agency is preparing to resume shuttle launches this summer from the space center, which lies within a wildlife preserve.
Its roads are dotted with the bodies of possums, raccoons, feral pigs, squirrels, birds and other animals fallen victim to traffic. The center is asking anyone who sees dead animals to call a "roadkill" hotline to report the location.
Betcha that left a mark....on the vulture.....
If you've never bee to Cape Canaveral, it's a little hard to picture, but the space complex is quite literally in the middle of a wildlife preserve. So yes, feral pigs would be a problem.
Florida has some of the biggest and meanest wild pigs you ever saw. And good eating too..... You try living in a swamp with millions of mosquitoes cottonmouth moccasins and alligators and you'll be pretty mean I'll bet.
Good point. :)
We had a racoon problem at SAEF-II. In fact it got so bad, we literally had to run to our cars in the evening (1am) to avoid being swarmed by em. Some fool was feeding em!
That sounds like one of the more unappealing summer jobs I've ever heard of.
Yes and big too.
I worked out at KSC for 12 years and saw some big mommas.
I hit a big pig one morning and it lifted the car up as it rolled under the chassis.
Road Kill Posse. Sounds like a band to me.
I was there in 88-89. Wonder if we were there at the same time.
Peta alert! PETA alert! PETA ALERT!
Somebody please call PETA!
Yes, wild pigs. An aunt in Florida saw some immigrant hunters butcher one when the land next to her house was undeveloped.
All FReepers are welcome to the WV Road Kill Cookoff in Marlinton, Pocahontas Co, WV on Sept. 30, 2006.
Did they ever hear of controlling the speed on the roadway?
In addition to the small stuff, there are lots of deer, feral hogs, alligators and even bear to contend with on the space center roads.
I was there from 1986 thru 1998 with a brief layoff after the 51-L accident.
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