STS-114 Post Mission Summary
Return to Flight and Space Station Re-supply Mission
The Shuttle Discovery
rolled out to the Kennedy
Space Center (KSC) launch pad 39B in June in
preparation for a July 26, 2005, launch of STS-114.
Discovery lifted off at 10:39 AM EDT on a 12 day re-supply mission to the International Space Station. A
KSC landing was attempted on August 8 but both landing opportunities were waved
off due to weather constraints. Discovery and her crew landed at 8:12 AM EDT
at Edwards Air Force Base in California on Tuesday, August 9, after both
opportunities to Kennedy were waved off that day, again due to weather. This
114th Shuttle mission was the 31st mission for Discovery, the
seventeenth shuttle mission to the International Space Station, and was the
first shuttle mission since the loss of Columbia
in early 2003.
Launch Weather, July 26, 2005
Weak high pressure dominated the weather
over central Florida. Winds were forecast to be light and variable at the KSC
Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) at launch time with the sea breeze just forming
along the coast. Low clouds would be developing prior to launch, especially
along the sea breeze and over Merritt Island with the Merritt Island convergence.
Isolated showers were forecast, mainly along the sea breeze front. For the
Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL) sites, a moderate pressure gradient across
Europe was forecast to cause winds to approach or exceed flight rule wind
limits at Moron, Spain, and Istres, France. There was a slight chance of
thunderstorms at Zaragoza, Spain. During the launch count SMG removed the chance of showers from the KSC forecast and removed the chance of thunderstorms
from the Zaragoza forecast, allowing for an on time launch.
Landing Wave-Off Weather, August 8,
the KSC landing site was activated for the landing opportunities on August 8.
With a stationary surface and upper-level low over the panhandle of Florida, winds were forecast to be light southwesterly. Due to heavy rain at KSC the
previous day, August 7, shallow fog not restricting visibility was also
forecast, along with a few low clouds, few mid clouds, and broken high clouds.
weak short wave and weak mid level warm air advection triggered the development
of mid clouds just south of the KSC Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) early in
the landing count. Light showers began falling out of the mid clouds into the
almost fully saturated layer of air at the surface. Following the dissipation
of the showers, low clouds began developing under the area where the rain had
fallen, south of Patrick AFB northward to just west of the SLF. SMG updated the KSC forecast to include a ceiling at one thousand feet, a no-go forecast. The
Flight Director waved off the first KSC opportunity.
forecast for the second opportunity called for scattered low clouds and a
slight chance of showers. Although SMG removed the chance of showers from the
forecast, the Flight Director could not get comfortable with the weather situation
and waved off the second attempt.
Weather, August 9, 2005
All three U.S. landing sites were activated
on August 9. Scattered low and mid clouds with broken high clouds were
forecast for both KSC opportunities with a slight chance of showers, mainly out
over the Gulf Stream. An upper-level high over the southwestern U.S. dominated the weather picture for the western landing sites. With the ongoing
monsoonal conditions, thunderstorms were expected in southeastern California but not at Edwards for their two landing opportunities. A slight chance of
thunderstorms was forecast at White Sands for their two opportunities.
Early in the landing count showers and
thunderstorms developed over the water east of KSC along an old outflow
boundary. Additional development began occurring offshore just east of Melbourne. The forecast was updated to include showers and thunderstorms. While the
thunderstorms were moving away from the landing site, attached anvils remained
close enough to the KSC SLF to violate weather flight rules. Additionally,
showers developed northeast of the SLF. The Flight Director waved off the
first KSC opportunity.
Additional thunderstorms developed before
the second KSC landing opportunity with the proximity of their anvils violating
weather flight rules. The Flight Director then waved off the second KSC
opportunity and targeted Edwards Air Force Base, California as the landing
Discovery landed at Edwards on the next
opportunity at 8:12 EDT (5:12 AM PDT), the third landing opportunity of the
day, under mostly clear skies and light winds.
The Spaceflight Meteorology Group Lead
Meteorologist was Karl Silverman working his 52nd mission, 9th
as Lead. Richard Lafosse was the Assistant Lead Meteorologist and Doris Hood
was the Lead Techniques Development Unit Meteorologist. For additional
information about the Spaceflight Meteorology Group web site visit http://www.srh.noaa.gov/smg.
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