13th Conference on Aviation, Range and Aerospace Meteorology


NWS Spaceflight Meteorology Group Support for the NASA Constellation Orion Vehicle

Timothy Oram, NWS Spaceflight Meteorology Group, Houston, TX; and T. Garner

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is developing the next generation manned spacecraft – called “Orion” – as part of the Constellation program. Orion will be capable of carrying crew and cargo to the space station. It will be able to rendezvous with a lunar landing module and an Earth departure stage in low-Earth orbit to carry crews to the moon and, one day, to Mars-bound vehicles assembled in low-Earth orbit. Orion will also be the Earth entry vehicle for lunar and Mars returns. The goal is to have a vehicle ready for flight by 2013.

The Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) office at Johnson Space Center is the lead office for the development of Orion. The National Weather Service (NWS) Spaceflight Meteorology Group (SMG) has provided staff meteorology and weather forecasting support to the human spaceflight program at JSC since 1965. As the staff meteorologists for JSC, SMG is currently working with the CEV program office, individual Constellation project offices, and weather support offices at other NASA centers to provide environmental design information and operational weather support planning for the new program.

Preliminary plans for weather support to the Constellation Mission Control Center include support for the following mission phases:

• Post-launch abort to ocean areas

• Any-time abort

• Planned end-of-mission controlled landing at a Continental US (CONUS) site

• Planned end-of-mission controlled landing in ocean areas

• Unplanned end-of-mission landing in ocean areas due to ballistic reentry

• Post-landing ground support for capsule recovery at either CONUS or ocean area

In addition, SMG will provide staff meteorology and weather support for tests of the abort system at White Sands Missile range.

The planning and staff meteorology support that SMG has provided to date includes weather forecast accuracy studies to support landing risk analysis, assessment of current state-of-the-art sea state forecasts and possible future improvements, support for weather environmental impact analysis at landing sites, investigation of upper air and surface measurement systems to support landing decisions and development of a future operational weather support system.

wrf recording  Recorded presentation

Session 8, Range
Tuesday, 22 January 2008, 3:30 PM-5:30 PM, 226-227

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