S197 Sub-Orbital Space Flight Meteorological Landing Criteria

Sunday, 10 January 2016
Hall E ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Courtney Marie Byrd, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL; and D. C. Herbster

Sub-orbital space flight is at the forefront of scientific research of Earth's outer atmosphere. Sub-orbital space flight operations require very specific meteorological criteria for wind, clouds, visibility, temperature, and precipitation. The purpose of this research is to determine the probability of landing a sub-orbital space flight vehicle in visual Flight Rules (VFR) conditions. Since the sub-orbital vehicle is still being designed, the VFR conditions used for this research will duplicate the guidelines used from NASA's Space Shuttle weather criteria used for landing at Kennedy Space Center. The data used to conduct this research is from the Eielson United States Air Force Base, located near Fairbanks, Alaska. Future rocket operations are currently being planned for this base. The data consists of hourly observations from the year 2006 to 2015, the period of record for this location. From these observations, we will present a partial climatology for hourly conditions in monthly periods of the landing criteria established for the NASA space shuttle, a similar engineless vehicle.
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