BREVARD COUNTY, Florida – A new climate change study focused on the east coast of Florida reveals growing concerns in Brevard County.
- Survey: By 2100, rising water is expected to affect missile launch sites
- NASA began construction of a 3-mile dunes to protect sites
- Owner of Dixie Crossroads also worried about business downturn
- Learn more about climate research in the central environment
Non-profit researchers Central climate finds that water can start crawling at a surprising rate and affect space flights and potentially family businesses.
Laurilly Thompson is a shop in Titoville and has spent most of her life fishing off the coast of the Space Coast. [1
She is also a local legend: Thompson is captain of her family's restaurant, Dixie Crossroads . She has been in her family for over 35 years.
"We call ourselves world-famous," she said, attributing this to their native hospitality, the fresh fish and the space industry on which it depends.
"They would bring the families of the astronauts on the night before the launch (s). They would take the whole back of the restaurant and have great dinners," Thompson says of patrons during the shuttle boom.
Of course, it was in the 1980s, when jobs were plentiful and tourism peaked.
"Coming here after the launch was still part of the launch," Thompson said.
Dixie Crossroads has landed near the 72-mile stretch of Brevard coastal area, better known worldwide as the Space Coast. It is an emblematic symbol of patriotism, honor and American glory.
"The thrill of standing on the bridge in Titusville and watching this rocket lift. It's such an experience for people," Thompson says.
This is an experience that may soon be lost. The moving waters that Thompson grew to love and depend on can now significantly harm her business.
She sees changes already in and around Titusville.
"The water level rises the way it is, the sandy beaches disappear," she said.
Maya Buchanan is a Climate Researcher Central.
"We will now see more of these impacts," she told Spectrum News in an interview with Skype.
Buchanan speaks of rising waters along the Florida coast. This is part of a new study on climate change by an independent research group.
"We are well aware that rising sea levels are exacerbating coastal flooding," Buchanan says.
Her research team studies the effects of warming and future flood risks, The largest area of interest for Thompson and NASA includes the four launch sites at Cape Canaveral and the 39A and 39A launch complexes of the CCC of Christina .
'It is important to emphasize risk. It's not just a long-term problem, "Buchanan says.
The study determined that if nothing was done, coastal flooding would affect the launch sites this century and the launches could be threatened.
"What was surprising was how quickly this risk increased in this area," Buchanan says.
Most at risk are launch complex 39A, currently leased by SpaceX and 39B, which supports NASA Space Launch System .
NASA is aware of the problem; in fact, the agency is already working on a solution. It is building "a robust internal dunes system that will protect our internal infrastructure from storms and floods," according to NASA's Don Dunkert, who serves as the lead for the Kennedy Space Center.
NASA is building a 17-foot-high dune extending three miles. Part of it was made and it took on storms like Hurricanes Matthew and Irma.
“The dune really exceeded our expectations in its performance. We have seen little to no erosion, "Dunkert said. NASA expects to complete the remainder of the dune by the fourth quarter of 2020.
Coastal geologist Dr. Joseph Donogue is exploring the space coast and considers it a temporary support band.
"These measures will work in the short term, but at sea – rising levels are relentless and the next storm could potentially just take them out," he said.
The study also shows that by 2100, rising waters are expected to hit both missile launches, as floods increase
NASA would not speak to Spectrum News about the study or any additional plans to increase defenses against potentially crippling rising waters.
Donogue stated that seafront reinforcement is another remedy, but it may be costly and also ineffective for the long-term knowledge of sea-level rise forecasts for that particular area.
Donoghue also said that these starter pads probably cannot be moved. The structures are not only too massive to be moved inland or elevated, but the topography there on Merit Island is too restrictive.
The receding shoreline north of the cape is where some of the erosion has been worst, he said.
"The highest percentage is actually right near where SpaceX has its landing area, where they booster." Donogue said.
These landing and launch areas are key to the success of the renewed space programs in Brevard County. Jobs are back and families are thriving.
Jen Sugerman, President and CEO of The Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce confirmed that space programs are vital to the community. "
" Space is huge and it's a pretty big economic impact, "she said. "In fiscal 2017, GDP for NASA alone was $ 2.2 billion."
Thompson said the space industry has recently had a positive impact on Dixie Crossroads. She remembered the first launch of Falcon Heavy : "I actually saw crowds that were equal to the crowds we would get after a space shuttle launch, which made us very happy."
for the 1980s, when business was booming.
For Thompson and Dixie at the crossroads, combating the effects of climate change is a prerequisite for survival, as well as for the survival of the delicate ecosystem around the birthplace of space flight in America.
"If we lose this, it will definitely affect my business," Thompson said.
"Everything we do now must be heroic," Donogue said.
Aurela Horn-Müller contributed to this article.