What goes into forecasting the SpaceX Crew-2 launch?

Beyond The Forecast

(WFRV) – SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission to the international space station is scheduled for early Friday out of Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This is after weather was unfavorable along the flight path for the initial launch date early Thursday. A big part of the preparation is forecasting the weather.

What goes into this crucial forecast?

Brian Cizek is a Launch Weather Officer in the 45th weather squadron that provides weather support for all launches on the Eastern Range for Space Force, NASA and SpaceX.

Cizek says, “You are not just looking at the weather at the launch site you are also looking at the weather along the flight path…god forbid, that the crew has to make a launch escape at some point during the trajectory on the way out to space.”

Wind and waves were elevated along the flight path which led to the cancellation of Thursday’s launch. Another big aspect of forecasting these events is avoiding lightning. Central Florida is one of the most active spots for lightning in the world.

“The bread and butter of what we do here is we are evaluating what is known as the lightning launch commit criteria. These are the 10 rules that apply to every launch, and they are designed to predict no just against natural lightning…but there also designed to protect against rocket triggered lightning.”

Cizek mentioned it’s not just the weather at the launch site, but it is the weather along the flight path. The forecast is currently calling for good conditions at the launch site.

At the time of launch, 5:49 a.m. ET (4:49 a.m. CT) on Friday, there is a 90% of favorable launch conditions. The primary concern will be the small chance of a low topped shower with winds coming off the Atlantic.

Cizek also has ties to the state of Wisconsin, “For your viewers, I actually lived for a year in Madison, Wisconsin, and I love Wisconsin. I’d do anything for some cheese curds and some spotted cow”.

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