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STS-111 Post Mission Summary
International Space Station Assembly Flight UF2

Weather plays a major role in both the launch and landing of STS-111 The Shuttle Endeavour launched on June 5, 2002 at 2122 UTC for the fourteenth as sembly mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The STS-111 mission continued the construction of the Space Station with the crew accomplishing three space walks, including one to repair the Canadian robotic arm. This mission also served as a taxicab for the ISS Expedition crews. The ISS Expedition Four crew, who set a US record for time in space at 196 days, was replaced with the ISS Expedition Five crew. The two-week mission concluded with the touchdown of Endeavour at Edwards AFB on June 19, 2002 1758 UTC. For ISS rendezvous missions, only a ten-minute launch window is available each day. For the late May/early June launch dates, the ten-minute launch window fell during the late afternoon, a favored time for thunderstorms in Florida. The first launch attempt on May 30 was scrubbed due to thunderstorms. The Florida east and west coast sea breezes collided west of the cape triggering thunderstorms whose anvils spread east over the cape with the westerly winds aloft violating multiple weather flight rules and launch commit criteria. Timing of the weather worked out for the launch on June 5. High-level clouds over Florida during the day delayed heating, which in turn, delayed thunderstorm development until after the 2122 UTC launch time and the 2142 UTC RTLS time.

Weather did not cooperate for a landing in Florida. A persistent upper low-pressure trough west of Florida over the Gulf moved little during the three possible landing days in mid-June. Each day ceilings, showers and thunderstorms developed just prior to the mid-morning landing times. Edwards AFB was selected as the landing site on the third day when the weather in Florida continued to be NO-GO. Weather at Edwards was perfect with clear skies and light winds for the 1758 UTC touchdown.

SMG Lead Meteorologist for STS-111 was Rich Lafosse. Tim Garner was the Assistant Lead and Doris Rotzoll was the Lead Techniques Development Unit Meteorologist. The Spaceflight Meteorology Group web site is at NASA Space Shuttle information is available at or NASA Public Affairs Office.

Submitted by: Rich Lafosse
STS-111 Lead Meteorologist

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Page last modified: 1 May 2003