Accession Number:

ADA459835

Title:

Environmental Support to Space Launch

Descriptive Note:

Scientific Report No. 1, 1 Jul 2004-24 Mar 2006

Corporate Author:

BOSTON COLL CHESTNUT HILL MA INST FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2006-05-31

Pagination or Media Count:

62.0

Abstract:

We investigated environmental impacts to space launch at the Eastern and Western Ranges. In order to develop a truly responsive launch capability significant research needs to be conducted in specification and prediction of the atmosphere below 50,000 ft. Present research shows that weather is the leading cause of cancelled space launches 51 at Eastern Range and 58 at Western Range. The ability to forecast weather in support of current requirements was examined. Almost four years 2000 - 2004 of metric data was obtained from the Air Force Space Command AFSPC. Metrics include weather warnings, weather advisories watches and forecasts of Launch Commit Criteria LCC. The criteria were chosen based on the meteorological conditions found in the LCC. Results demonstrate current shortfalls in forecasting across several key environmental parameters which include lightning, convective and non-convective winds, precipitation and temperature. Both ranges show a large number of false alarms forecasted but did not verify for some of the environmental parameters. Even more significant are the low success scores or the probability of issued warnings meeting the desired lead time based on LCC. Ongoing research is focused on improvements in weather prediction which will lead to significant increases in operational responsiveness and decreased cost. Further research is required to improve weather forecasting so that responsive space launch will be realized.

Subject Categories:

  • Meteorology
  • Spacecraft Trajectories and Reentry

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE