12th Symposium on Meteorological Observations and Instrumentation


Weather System Upgrades to Support Space Launch at the Eastern Range and Kennedy Space Center

D. E. Harms, 45th Weather Squadron, Patrick AFB, FL; and B. F. Boyd, F. C. Flinn, T. M. McNamara, J. T. Madura, T. L. Wilfong, and P. R. Conant

Submitted to the 12th Symposium on Meteorological Observations and Instrumentation 9 – 13 Feb 03, Long Beach, CA


D. E. Harms, B. F. Boyd*, and F. C. Flinn 45th Weather Squadron, Patrick Air Force Base FL John T. Madura KSC Weather Office, Kennedy Space Center Timothy L. Wilfong Lockheed Martin Mission Systems, Santa Maria, CA Peter R. Conant The Boeing Company, Patrick Air Force Base


The Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron (45 WS) provides comprehensive operational meteorological services to the Eastern Range (ER) and the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). These services include weather support for resource protection, pre-launch ground processing, and day-of-launch operations for more than 30 space launches per year by the Department of Defense (DOD), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and commercial launch customers.

Weather impacts, such as natural and triggered lightning, precipitation, cloud ceilings, visibility, and both surface and upper-level winds, present a significant challenge to spacelift. Over the last 15 years, approximately 50 percent of all scrubbed launch countdowns have been due to weather conditions. The effective use of weather information translates into annual cost savings of millions of dollars through timely management decisions along with a paramount contribution to safety.

To assess weather’s impact on launch operations, the 45 WS operates an extensive meteorological instrumentation network. To lessen weather’s impact to launch operations, NASA, the Air Force and their contractors continually strive to improve weather measurement and forecasts. This paper presents an overview of weather systems on the ER and KSC supporting the space launch mission and associated ground processing operations. It also summarizes recent and planned weather instrumentation upgrades at the ER and NASA’s KSC.

*Corresponding Author Address: Billie F. Boyd phone: (321) 494-5916 45 WS/SYA fax: (321) 853-4315 1201 Edward H. White II St, MS 7302 e-mail: billie.boyd@patrick.af.mil Patrick AFB, FL 32925-3238

extended abstract  Extended Abstract (616K)

Session 7, Meteorological Measurement Networks II
Tuesday, 11 February 2003, 1:30 PM-2:15 PM

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