Launch pads on Florida's Atlantic Coast face some of the most extreme weather conditions of any launch complex. Everything from lightning and hail to hurricanes and occasional frost make it important to meteorologists to get accurate data to back up their decisions. If they don't, acceptable launch windows could be missed, or worse, unnecessary risks could be taken.
A new comprehensive weather instrumentation system on Launch Pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center is providing up-to-the-second and extremely accurate measurements at different locations and altitudes. The improvements are expected to produce increasingly detailed launch criteria that could lead to more on-time liftoffs for a variety of rockets in the future.