An overview of Kodiak Launch Complex operational weather support for the Missile Defense Agency's Integrated Flight Test 13 and 14 launches
Meteorological phenomena can present a challenge to launching rockets in high-latitude coastal locations, such as Kodiak Island. Strong weather systems routinely develop in the Bering Sea and move through Kodiak Island and the Gulf of Alaska. These systems often bring strong winds, heavy rain, fog, snow, and thick cloud cover to Kodiak Island. While thunderstorms are very rare on Kodiak Island, the threat of a rocket triggering a lightning strike during launch is actually quite high because of the type and thickness of local clouds.
KLC's meteorological capability, initially developed by NASA/USAF for the Kodiak Star launch in September 2001, was greatly expanded to satisfy the increased launch weather support requirements for the Missile Defense Agency's Integrated Flight Test (IFT) -13 and IFT-14 launch campaigns. This paper describes KLC's extensive meteorological infrastructure and capabilities required for the planning, processing and successful launching of these rockets.