Ninth Conference on Aviation, Range, and Aerospace Meteorology


Operations of the National Weather Service Spaceflight Meteorology Group

Frank C. Brody, NOAA/NWS, Houston, TX

The NWS Spaceflight Meteorology Group provides weather support to NASA for all human spaceflight operations. Weather is a significant aspect of most Space Shuttle launches and landings. The National Weather Service Spaceflight Meteorology Group (SMG) at Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, TX provides weather forecasts and advice to support Space Shuttle operations. SMG is an integral part of the Flight Control Team in the Mission Control Center. Space Shuttle weather support is complex and specialized. SMG forecasts are compared to Shuttle weather flight rules to assist the Flight Director in making launch contingency and landing decisions. Perhaps the most critical aspect of SMG's weather support is the "90 minute forecast" issued prior to landing, supporting the Mission Control Center's GO or NO-GO deorbit burn decision. Once the deorbit burn has occurred, the Shuttle must land at the designated landing site at the designated time. SMG's forecast must be precise, accurate, and clearly communicated.

SMG will support the International Space Station by providing landing weather forecasts to the Crew Return Vehicle (CRV) to be deployed on the Space Station in 2004. SMG currently provides weather support for the test parafoil - drops and landings of the X-38 at Edwards AFB. The X-38 is an unmanned prototype of the CRV. SMG also participates in the CRV operations concept planning process by focusing on weather requirements.

This presentation describes SMG functions, operations, data acquisition and display systems, and Space Shuttle landing flight rules.

Session 1, Program Overview
Tuesday, 12 September 2000, 9:00 AM-11:00 AM

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