J10.2 The Applied Meteorology Unit: Nineteen years successfully transitioning research into operations for America's space program

Wednesday, 26 January 2011: 4:15 PM
607 (Washington State Convention Center)
John T. Madura, NASA, Kennedy Space Center, FL; and W. H. Bauman III, F. J. Merceret, W. P. Roeder, F. C. Brody, and B. C. Hagemeyer
Manuscript (429.8 kB)

The Applied Meteorology Unit (AMU) provides technology transition and technique development to improve operational weather support to the Space Shuttle and the entire American space program. The AMU is funded and managed by NASA and operated by a contractor that provides five meteorologists with a diverse mix of advanced degrees, operational experience, and associated skills including data processing, statistics, and the development of graphical user interfaces. The AMU's primary customers are the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron at Patrick Air Force Base, the National Weather Service Spaceflight Meteorology Group at NASA Johnson Space Center, and the National Weather Service Melbourne FL Forecast Office. The AMU has transitioned research into operations for nineteen years and worked on a wide range of topics, including new forecasting techniques for lightning probability, synoptic peak winds, convective winds, and summer severe weather; satellite tools to predict anvil cloud trajectories and evaluate camera line of sight for Space Shuttle launch; optimized radar scan strategies; evaluated and implemented local numerical models; evaluated weather sensors; and many more. The AMU has completed 113 projects with 5 more scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010. During this rich history, the AMU and its customers have learned many lessons on how to effectively transition research into operations. Some of these lessons learned include collocating with the operational customer and periodically visiting geographically separated customers, operator submitted projects, consensus tasking process, use of operator primary advocates for each project, customer AMU liaisons with experience in both operations and research, flexibility in adapting the project plan based on lessons learned during the project, and incorporating training and other transition assistance into the project plans. Operator involvement has been critical to the AMU's remarkable success and many awards from NASA, the National Weather Association, and two citations from the Navy's Center of Excellence for Best Manufacturing Practices. This paper will present the AMU's proven methods and explain how they may be applied by other organizations to effectively transition research into operations.

Supplementary URL: http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/amu/

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