J3.3 A Climatology of the Lightning Launch Commit Criteria for the Eastern Range

Monday, 7 January 2019: 11:00 AM
North 225AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
William P. Roeder, 45th Weather Squadron, Patrick Air Force Base, FL; and J. D. Rapp

A climatology of the Lightning Launch Commit Criteria (LLCC) was developed for the Eastern Range, specifically Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and NASA Kennedy Space Center. The LLCC are the complex weather rules to avoid natural and rocket-triggered strikes to inflight space launch vehicles. The climatology provides the frequency of LLCC violation observed during launch attempts from the Eastern Range averaged seasonally and diurnally from 2005-2017. The climatology gives the frequency of violation for the individual rules and for any rule. The seasonal partitions are 3-month periods (Mar-May, Jun-Aug, Sep-Nov, and Dec-Feb). The one month offset from calendar quarters is to better match the meteorological seasons in east central Florida. The diurnal partitions are 1-hour UTC time blocks. Finer seasonal resolution is desired, but is not justified due to the available sample size. This climatology can be used in extended launch forecasts, mission planning, training, and in setting research priorities in improving the LLCC. For example, this climatology was used to advocate and obtain the ‘Cumulus Electrification Study’.

This LLCC climatology was developed as a collaborative project between the 45th Weather Squadron and Lake Nona High School in Orlando. The 45th Weather Squadron is the U.S. Air Force unit that provides weather support to America’s space program at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and NASA Kennedy Space Center. The advanced placement statistics and advanced placement calculus classes at Lake Nona High School performed two research projects for the 45th Weather Squadron at no financial cost to either organization. This LLCC climatology was the first project. The second project was updating the sources of weather deaths in Florida to help improve weather safety training provided by 45th Weather Squadron and by other interested parties throughout Florida. The 45th Weather Squadron benefited from receiving the research. The benefits to Lake Nona High School included increasing the students’ interests in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) topics and gaining experience in leadership, management, and teamwork.

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