INSIDE LOOK – The launch of the JPSS-1 was scrubbed twice this week and is rescheduled for early Saturday morning. Meteorologist Meredith Garofalo explains what that means and why it happened. United Launch Alliance 30th Space Wing (Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.) NOAA Satellite and Information Service NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Posted by WeatherNation on Thursday, November 16, 2017
You might be wondering why the launch of JPSS-1 was scrubbed not once, but twice this week.
There’s actually a lot of things that go into grounding these launches.
“There are a number of parameters that are monitored to support a launch,” explained Tony Taliancich, the Director & General Manager of Launch Operations at United Launch Alliance (ULA). “And all of those parameters are specifically set up to make sure there’s no risk to the vehicle and no risk to the populations that are exposed to the hazards of the vehicle during launch.”
JPSS-1 is the newest weather satellite to be sent into orbit that will aid meteorologists in extended forecasting.
For the first launch attempt on Tuesday, it was a technical issue combined with the winds posing a concern.
“The range, from a public safety standpoint, analyzed those winds for some of the things that would be coming off the rocket during ascent, those winds created a hazard for some people on the outer boundaries of the base,” Taliancich said.
For the second attempt early Wednesday morning, it was due to the winds at the upper levels.
“Those three airlift solid loaders when they ignite, they eject these enclosures off the back side of the boosters,” Taliancich said. “Each one of those enclosures weighs on the order of 70 lbs, and those upper level winds can take those enclosures pretty far away from the vehicles track and that can cause hazards that the range has to monitor from a range safety standpoint.”
Also on the day of liftoff, the Launch Weather Team at Vandenberg Air Force Base can give the green light as long as the Launch Commit Criteria is not in violation, consisting of ten different requirements that guard the rocket from what’s called “trigger lightning”
“If you imagined an ionized rocket and it’s plume traveling through some sort of cloud layer that exhibits electrical properties,” said Tyler Brock, 30th OSS Launch Weather Officer. “That becomes a massive issue from both a safety aspect for the local population and for the user, you know, for avoiding some sort of catastrophic situation if there should be some sort of failure.”
All to keep the rocket, satellite, and those near and around it safe before, during, and after blast off.
If you want to learn what this is satellite is going to do once it goes into orbit, check out our previous story.
For WeatherNation, I’m Meredith Garofalo.