back to article Vintage Space Shuttle fuel tank destroyed by New Orleans tornado

A tornado has totalled some priceless NASA artefacts. The tornado swept through the space agency's Michoud Assembly Facility near New Orleans at 11:25am on February 8. Beyond NASA's facility, the tornado has damaged warehouses and the walls of a US Department of Agriculture office. The Facility is home to projects like the …

  1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Somewhere in Michoud ...

    ... is a machine that can shake the big cylinder the space shuttle got bolted to as hard as a rocket launch. Where is the headline about this giant vibrator?

  2. jake Silver badge

    Build in a flood plain ...

    ... expect to get flooded out.

    Park your kit in tornado ally ... I'm sure you can figure out the rest.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Build in a flood plain ...

      "Park your kit in tornado ally..."

      Part of me thinks that was deliberate to cut down on fuel costs.

    2. Ugotta B. Kiddingme Silver badge

      Re: Build in a flood plain ...

      Flood plain, yes, but New Orleans is definitely not* in "tornado alley." Tornadoes in this part of the country are actually less common. According to my own recollection, since I moved here in the early 1980's there have been a couple dozen tornadoes in this part of the state. According to potentially more reliable sources, there have been 122 in the vicinity of New Orleans since 1950. Contrast that with, for example, the area around Norman, Oklahoma which has received nearly triple that number in the same time period.

      *HURRICANE alley, yes, but those are comparatively slow moving storms which come with plenty of warning for people to get themselves and their stuff protected or out of the way. Plus, most hurricane wind damage is from so-called "straight line" winds. The size of hurricanes makes it difficult to experience vortex wind effects unless one happens to be sufficiently unfortunate to be in/near the center "eye" of the storm. Tornadoes wreak greater destruction but over a much smaller area - partly because of the swirling nature of the wind and partly because tornadic winds tend to move rather faster on average. Few hurricanes achieve wind speeds comparable with most tornadoes.

  3. Tom 7 Silver badge

    That video - the one with the god stuff on it

    so one can safely say that god hates the christians of tornado alley more than he does nasa as he hits it so more often

  4. druck Silver badge

    Those cows are far away

    The twisted tube in that photo doesn't look nearly big enough to be an external tank.

  5. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Please, please, please...

    Can we have an education programme which tells people that when they are filming things they should hold their phones with landscape orientation.

    It is not hard to learn, doesn't take more than the time it took to read that sentence, and we would all be better off for that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Please, please, please...

      IIRC stock Android phones have always suggested you rotate to landscape when shooting video, iOS hasn't. I don't know if it does now, but I'm blaming this on Jobs anyway :-p

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Please, please, please...


      The number of times I've told my wife this you would not believe!

      And the effect: even worse, she now starts videoing in portrait and changes half way through - Argh!!

      You can't help stupid!

      Anon for RTSBO (reasons that should be obvious)

    3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Please, please, please...

      Vertical Video Syndrome - A PSA

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vertical video... Grrr!

    Awesome sight... Until about 1:18 when the video cuts (without warning) to someone who doesn't know how to shoot video, and the unused 2/3 of the 16:9 window are then filled with a blurred copy of the first frame.... Aaaaahhhh!

    Please tell me the second half wasn't shot by someone from the space industry!

  7. Chris 239

    I don't think New Orleans is in Tornado alley.

    On the other hand the area does get the ocasional Hurricane warning and then every one gets a day off.

    20 years ago I was near there for work for a couple of weeks (at Stenis Space Center where they test rocket engines) and there was a hurricane warning. The buildings at the Space Center were massive brick and concrete structures - funny no one though it odd they were closed for safety while every one stayed home in thier flimsy wood frame houses!!!

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Consider this though - in the worst case scenario which of the two would you rather have falling on your head?

  8. Tikimon Silver badge

    "Tornado Alley" is not exclusive by any means!

    Like the "Bermuda Triangle" and many other examples, it's a name used to describe an apparent concentration of an event. As such, it does not imply that such events are particularly rare outside the boundary of that region.

    Tornadoes are quite common all across the American South, land of frequent thunderstorms. Here in Atlanta a few years ago, attendees of a football game at the Georgia Dome were treated to the roof flexing as a tornado passed overhead. I mountain bike, and we called 2010 the Year Of Building Materials. We kept finding pieces of houses far out in the woods on trails all over the state, dropped there by tornadoes. Lots of small ones that don't make the news unless someone is killed.

    1. Chris 239

      Re: "Tornado Alley" is not exclusive by any means!

      Point taken - I remember expriencing an impressive rainstorm when I was there and Wikipedia very much agrees with you.

      I'd love to see a tornado in person......

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