‘Extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Ian makes landfall in Florida as NASA watches from space (video)

Hurricane Ian made landfall on the Gulf Coast of Florida as a dangerous Category 4 storm on Wednesday as NASA watched live from orbit. 

NASA cameras on the International Space Station showed live views Hurricane Ian as the storm reached the Florida coast Wednesday (Sept. 28), coming ashore near Cayo Costa, according to the National Hurricane Center. 

“Hurricane Ian has made landfall as an extremely dangerous hurricane near Cayo Costa, Florida with maximum sustained winds at 150 mph,” NHC officials wrote (opens in new tab) in an update on Twitter at 3:05 p.m. EDT (1905 GMT). 

NASA went live with its views of Hurricane Ian from the space station just minutes before the NHC report. The video stream showed glimpses of the hurricane from an altitude of about 250 miles (400 kilometers) as the station soared by at 17,500 mph (28,000 kph).

Related: Monstrous Hurricane Ian threatens ‘catastrophic’ devastation in Florida

Astronauts on the space station have also been tracking Hurricane Ian. They captured stunning views of the storm on Monday (Sept. 26) as the storm was just south of Cuba as it headed for Florida. NASA released the images (opens in new tab) on Wednesday evening.

As of 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) Wednesday, Hurricane Ian was moving toward the north-northeast at about 9 mph (15 kph) and was expected to make a turn to the northeast on Thursday, according to the NHC. 

“On the forecast track, the center of Ian is expected to move onshore soon, move over central Florida tonight and Thursday morning and emerge over the western Atlantic by late Thursday,” they wrote in an afternoon update (opens in new tab). “Ian is forecast to turn northward on Friday and approach the northeastern Florida coast in addition to the Georgia and South Carolina coasts late Friday.”

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In the days before Hurricane Ian’s landfall, Florida state officials ordered evacuations for residents along coastal areas in the storm’s path. NASA also postponed plans to launch its Artemis 1 mission to the moon on the first Space Launch System rocket, opting instead to move the massive, 322-foot-tall (98 meters) rocket into the shelter of its hangar at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. 

NASA and SpaceX also delayed the launch of a new crew to the International Space Station on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft. That mission, which will carry two American astronauts, a Japanese astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut, is now scheduled to lift off from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center no earlier than Oct. 4, a one-day slip.

A limited “ride-out” crew is staffing the Kennedy Space Center to ensure the safety of NASA’s spacecraft hardware and systems. At the nearby Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, the U.S. Space Force also took precautions to safeguard the station for the arrival of Hurricane Ian, which should reach the two spaceports by Thursday. 

“As Hurricane Ian intensifies and folks prepare for its impact, I’m thinking of our NASA workforce and families in Florida, especially those on the NASA Kennedy ride-out team,” NASA chief Bill Nelson wrote on Twitter (opens in new tab) Wednesday afternoon. “Thank you for your dedication. Know that NASA will do everything to ensure your safety and wellbeing.”

Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com (opens in new tab) or follow him @tariqjmalik (opens in new tab). Follow us @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab)Facebook (opens in new tab) and Instagram (opens in new tab).