PREFLIGHT SUMMARY FOR STS-108
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SPACEFLIGHT METEOROLOGY GROUP HOUSTON, TEXAS
November 8, 2001
The Space Shuttle Endeavour is scheduled for a liftoff no earlier than 18:44 CST November 29th (0044 UTC, November 30th) from Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center. Endeavour will be launched into a 51.6° inclination orbit on its mission to rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS). Endeavour will deliver the Expedition 4 crew - Commander Yuri Onufrienko of Rosaviakosmos and American Flight Engineers Carl Walz and Dan Bursch - to replace the Expedition 3 ISS crew commanded by Frank Culbertson. This will be the 12th shuttle mission to the ISS and will be the first Utilization Flight (UF1) meaning no new permanent hardware will be delivered to the ISS. The shuttle crew commanded by Dom Gorie will deliver the Raffaello Multipurpose Logistics Module (MPLM) that will be berthed to the ISS and unloaded before being returned to Endeavour for the flight home. Primary Transoceanic Abort Landing Site for the STS-108 mission is Zaragoza, Spain with Moron, Spain and Ben Guerir, Morocco as alternates. Endeavour is scheduled to land at the NASA Shuttle Landing Facility after the planned 11 day 19 hour mission on December 10th at 2041 UTC (02:41 PM CST). Weather alternates for the normal End-of-Mission landing are Edwards AFB/Dryden Flight Research Facility, California and White Sands Space Harbor, New Mexico.
Acceptable launch and Return-To-Launch Site (RTLS) abort landing weather may be problematic for the early evening launch. Climatologically, the chance of violating a RTLS landing weather Flight Rule constraint is on the order of 11% with cloud ceilings being the primary weather concern. In November at Zaragoza, Spain cloud ceilings violate weather Flight Rule constraints about 18% of the time. At Moron, Spain low visibilities violate weather Flight Rule constraints about 11% of the time and at Ben Guerir, Morocco cloud ceilings cause violations about 11% of the time. Thunderstorms and cloud ceilings are also a concern for the normal End-of-Mission landing since showers and thunderstorms typically start forming around the mid-day landing time.
Lead forecaster for the STS-108 mission will be Dan Bellue, who will be the primary contact for meteorological support for the launch and landing. The assistant lead and TAL site forecaster will be Wayne Baggett. Doris Rotzoll will plan and coordinate weather computing systems support as the Techniques Development meteorologist for the flight.
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