POSTFLIGHT SUMMARY FOR
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
SPACEFLIGHT METEOROLOGY GROUP
completes 100th Space Shuttle Flight...
After a number of technical delays, the Space Shuttle Discovery
lifted off on October 11, 2000 at 2317 UTC and docked with the International Space Station on
October 13. The crew successfully
completed four EVAs
while attached to the Space Station.
For a complete technical summary of the STS-92 mission visit the STS-92
Post-Mission Summary web page at: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/archives/sts-92/index.html.
For the late afternoon launch of STS-92,
cloud ceilings below five thousand feet and light rain showers within twenty
miles of the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) were the two Return To Launch Site
flight rules evaluated for possible violation. Showers that moved across the launch pad during the early
afternoon in the easterly low-level flow dissipated inland prior to
launch. This left cloud ceilings as the
primary weather violation threat. GOES 8 visible satellite imagery was used to
monitor the low clouds over the Atlantic and track a large patch of widely
scattered clouds moving toward Kennedy Space Center (KSC) prior to launch. The location of this relatively cloud free
area and its movement toward the KSC area allowed the forecaster to remove the
ceiling violation from the RTLS forecast about one hour prior to launch. All three Transoceanic Abort
Landing (TAL) sites had marginal weather prior to launch as low clouds and
showers associated with a cold front stretched across Spain. Meteosat satellite
imagery helped the SMG forecaster make the decision to remove the chance of
low cloud ceilings from the forecast for Ben Guerrir, Morocco a few hours prior
After two weather wave-off days, Discovery landed at Edwards
AFB for the first time since March 1996.
The landing on October 24, 2000 at 2059 UTC ended a record string of
twenty-three straight landings at KSC. GOES 10 visible satellite
imagery indicated clear weather over southern California at landing
time. At KSC strong northeasterly
surface winds all three days during the afternoon landing opportunities
precluded Discovery from returning to Florida.
flight rules require crosswinds of 15 knots or less for a shuttle
landing. A three-day plot of one of the
SLF wind towers depicting the strong afternoon crosswinds can be viewed http://www.srh.noaa.gov/smg/images/ralimg4.gif. Landing weather at KSC was unacceptable for
seven straight days October 20-26 due to crosswinds, low cloud ceilings and/or
showers within 30 nautical miles.
The SMG lead
forecaster for STS-92 was Rich Lafosse. Assistant lead/TAL site forecaster was Tim Garner. The lead Techniques Development Unit
meteorologist was Mark Keehn.