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
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 http://www.srh.noaa.gov/smg. NASA Space Shuttle information is available at http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/ or NASA Public Affairs Office.
Submitted by: Rich Lafosse
STS-111 Lead Meteorologist