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The Spaceflight Meteorology Group

Postflight Mission Summary for STS-95

November 16, 1998

Discovery Returns After Historic Mission.

The Space Shuttle Discovery touched down at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida at 1704 UTC on Saturday November 7 with a picture perfect landing, bringing home a crew of seven astronauts which included 77 year old space pioneer John Glenn.

Discovery lifted off on time at 1900 UTC on October 29 under clear Florida skies and ideal launch weather conditions. The landing weather on November 7, however, was a bit more challenging for forecasters at the Spaceflight Meteorology Group.

Hurricane Mitch never quite played a role in the launch or landing weather as the storm eventually crossed the Florida peninsula two days prior to landing, leaving high pressure centered over the Ohio valley. This scenario set up a potential crosswind problem for the landing of Discovery.

Lead Forecaster Wayne Baggett amended his “GO” forecast of 12 knot crosswinds to a “NO GO” of 16 knot crosswinds 10 minutes prior to the deorbit burn decision as winds began peaking out of limits for a sustained period. The crosswind limit is 15 knots for a daytime landing. The NASA Entry Flight Director elected to proceed with the deorbit burn based on a maximum crosswind forecast of 16 knots and a “GO” recommendation by the astronaut pilot executing approaches in the Shuttle Training Aircraft. As it turned out, crosswinds did peak to 16 knots after the deorbit burn, but at touchdown winds were 9 knots sustained with a 10 minute peak of 14 knots.

STS-95 marked the 16th consecutive KSC landing. SMG Lead forecaster was Wayne Baggett working his 8th mission as Lead and 50th mission overall. Karl Silverman was the Assistant Lead/TAL Forecaster, while Mark Keehn was the Lead Techniques Development Meteorologist.

Submitted by:

G. Wayne Baggett STS-95 Lead Forecaster

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