APPENDIX 1 TO ANNEX H TO DDMS CONTINGENCY FUNCPLAN 3610-03
SEA AND AIR RESCUE FORECAST (SARF)
1. GENERAL. NASA identified a need to recover the astronauts in the open ocean after bailout. DDMS developed a recovery plan that requires accurate weather observations and forecasting. The search and rescue (SAR) specification criteria incorporate weather limitations for the operational forces involved. The launch and operational briefing schedules and DDMS requirements for command and control (SOC support) determine the SARF issue and valid times.
2. Concept of Operations. A 45th Weather Squadron forecaster issues the SARF for a 200 NM area from launch site and sends it to the SOC. The forecast is valid at launch and issued at L‑5, and at other times as directed by the SOC Director.
3. SARF Specification Criteria. The SARF specifies the times of occurrence when one or more of the following elements occur within the period of the forecast. These criteria are valid for the high probability area 200 NM from launch site. Forecast elements are as follows:
a. Ceiling and visibility minimums.
RAMZ/PJ square chutes
Helicopter Air Refueling
b. A change in the wind speed of 10 knots or more, or when the wind speed changes from less than or equal to 25 knots to greater than or equal to 30 knots (increasing or decreasing).
d. Icing and/or turbulence not associated with thunderstorms from surface to 20,000 feet MSL.
e. Other information to be included as part of the SARF.
APPENDIX 2 TO ANNEX H TO DDMS CONTINGENCY FUNCPLAN 3610-03
SHUTTLE FERRY FLIGHT (SFF) WEATHER OPERATIONS
1. General. The shuttle carrier aircraft (SCA) with the orbiter vehicle (OV) on board is very weather sensitive. All phases of ferry operations require accurate information. DDMS-W coordinates SFF support. Appendix 12 to Annex C lists units tasked to support SFF.
2. Concept of Operations.
45 WS Range Weather Operations Flight (RWO) is the primary weather unit responsible for SFF support. RWO uses all tools available, to ensure the SCA commander receives the best available weather information. The 45 WS assigns one or two Ferry Weather Officer(s) (FWO) to travel with the ferry team to coordinate both in-flight and on-the-ground support. The local weather unit supporting SFF is responsible for providing current observations, local forecasts, and access to data for the FWO. The FWO coordinates en route and landing weather with RWO. All weather data emphasizes conditions relating to flight and ground limitations listed in paragraph 3. If weather support capabilities do not exist at a landing site, the FWO coordinates with RWO and the nearest NWS office or DOD unit. RWO metwatches the SCA flight by monitoring en route weather and coordinating with units at each departure point.
At each departure point the local unit provides required resources to help the FWO prepare the following (two copies) for the SCA commander and Pathfinder commander or representatives.
(1) Flight weather briefing form (AF Form 175-1), to include -9°C level along route.
(2) Flimsy package to include pertinent information such as:
(a) Latest satellite image (if available).
(b) Radar depiction chart.
(c) Surface chart.
(d) Hazardous weather depiction chart.
(e) 5,000; 10,000; and 18,000 foot wind charts.
(3) Weather information supplied by RWO.
c. The NASA Ferry Project Officer requires the following support at each refueling stop or landing site upon SCA/OV arrival.
(1) Upon SCA/OV arrival, begin continuous 24-hour metwatch and brief FWO on possibility of occurrence for metwatch criteria violations for length of SCA stay. If metwatch is unavailable on site, the FWO coordinates with RWO. Specific metwatch criteria are: (reference d.)
(a) Lightning within 5 NM.
(b) Hail, any size.
(c) Moderate or heavy precipitation.
(d) Surface winds greater than 50 kts.
(e) Surface temperatures less than 60 degrees F for more than 2 hours.
NOTE: Desired lead time is 1 hour. Issue advisories to the FWO.
(2) Calculate a toxic corridor based on paragraph 3.i. of Annex H and pass to the OSC.
NOTE: If a spill occurs, provide updates of the toxic corridor using current conditions.
3. Limitations. Consider these limitations to ferry operations when briefing the crew:
a. Flight operates in daylight hours only.
b. No flight through visible moisture. This essentially means no clouds or precipitation.
c. No flight through moderate or greater turbulence.
d. Flight operates between 12,000 and 20,000 feet.
e. Outside air temperature no lower than +15 degrees Fahrenheit (-9.5 degrees Celsius).
f. No flight within 25 NM of thunderstorms.
g. Minimum of 8 PSI ambient pressure (approximately 16,000 feet MSL or 550 mb).
h. Maximum crosswind of 20 kts when mated with the orbiter.
i. No precipitation greater than light at en route stops.
4. Communications. RWO establishes procedures to provide en route weather changes to the SCA/OV, normally through HF phone patch or Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) control centers.
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
MANNED SPACE FLIGHT SUPPORT OFFICE
Patrick AFB FL 32925-3239
15 February 2003
APPENDIX 3 TO ANNEX H TO DDMS CONTINGENCY FUNCPLAN 3610-03
FORECAST AND OBSERVING SUPPORT FOR CONTINGENCY LANDINGS
1. General. Orbiter weather support requirements are similar for all EOM and TAL sites. Changes to these requirements appear in the DDMS operations order. Forecasting and observing support for emergency landing sites (ELS) does not differ from normal support for aircraft emergencies. Ground support after an orbiter landing is similar for EOM, TAL, and ELS situations. The NASA ground operations manager (GOM) specifies exact requirements for ground operation support after an orbiter landing occurs.
2. Contingency Landing Site Forecast. The Spaceflight Meteorology Group (SMG) at Johnson Space Center (JSC) is responsible for the official shuttle landing forecast. SMG issues the forecast under the heading FXXX01 KHOU.
a. SMG issues contingency landing site forecasts beginning at the L-2 day Mission Management Briefing. The forecast for Florida is coordinated with RWO.
b. TAL weather personnel have access to DSN, commercial telephone, or NASA voice circuits to provide real-time voice updates to SMG at JSC and DDMS-W at RWO. Voice updates provide time-critical information prior to launch, prior to a contingency landing, and during marginal weather conditions.
c. TAL site WPOC calculates (and maintains current) a toxic corridor using AFTOX software (reference f.) as follows. Generate the toxic corridor at L-3 hours and L-30 minutes using forecast conditions provided by SMG at JSC. Give toxic corridor to the NASA GOM, the DDMS DFC, and on-scene commander (OSC). Update the toxic corridor as required when SMG updates their forecasts. From L-30 minutes, maintain constant voice contact with SMG/JSC and update the toxic corridor based on updated wind forecasts. Pass any changes in the toxic corridor immediately to the NASA GOM. At launch, generate a toxic corridor using the current observation and give it to the NASA GOM. If a spill occurs, provide the OSC continuous updates of the toxic corridor using current weather observations. Make calculations for the worst case scenario described in Annex H, para 3.i.
3. Surface Weather Observations. Timely and representative surface weather observations are critical to the safe recovery of the orbiter. RTLS and AOA sites provide meteorological observation support as specified in appropriate Operations Directives/Operations Requirements Extract. Surface weather observation requirements for TAL site operations are as follows:
a. Observed Elements. Surface meteorological observations (METARS) shall be recorded and transmitted to JSC/SMG in accordance with Federal Meteorological Handbook 1 (FMH-1) or equivalent DOD handbook (reference e). Observations shall at a minimum include site identifier, date, time, wind direction, average wind speed, peak wind speed in the previous 10 minutes, prevailing visibility, weather and obstructions to visibility, cloud amounts, cloud base heights, temperature, dew point temperature, altimeter setting, and appropriate remarks.
Whenever possible, all measurements from NASA-provided automated systems (i.e., Handar system, ceilometers) shall be used to report conditions in the body of the METAR. Wind measurements reported in the body of the METAR shall always include the peak wind over the past 10 minutes and the peak wind shall be encoded as a gust (dddffGff). Primary wind sensor and appropriate alternate wind sensor remarks for each site are as follows:
NOTE: HANDAR is a remote unmanned observing sensor
b. Special Weather Observation Criteria. Record and transmit special observations IAW reference e. and when any of the following conditions occur: (Source: reference c.)
(1) Cloud ceiling forms or dissipates below, decreases to less than, or if below,
increases to equal or exceed:
(a) 10000 feet
(b) 5000 feet
(2) Visibility decreases to less than, or if below increases to equal or exceed:
(a) 7 statute miles
(b) 5 statute miles
(3) When lightning is first observed (with or without thunder).
(4) When precipitation or virga is observed to begin and end.
(5) Within 3 hours prior to launch window opening:
(a) Peak wind observed in the past 10 minutes exceeds the average wind speed (as defined in FMH-1 or equivalent DOD guidelines) by more than 10 knots.
(b) Peak crosswinds exceed:
1. 15 knots daylight (sunrise - 15 minutes to sunset + 15 minutes)
2. 12 knots nighttime (sunset + 15 minutes to sunrise - 15 minutes)
(c) Peak headwind exceeds 25 knots.
(d) Average (as defined in FMH-1 or equivalent DOD manual) tailwind exceeds 10 knots.
(e) Peak tailwind exceeds 15 knots.
(f) Turbulence is reported by aircraft to the observer that is moderate or greater. Put report in remarks if space allows.
(6) When non-transparent detached thunderstorm anvils (cirrus spissatus cumulonimbogenitus, high cloud code 3) are initially observed or dissipate.
(7) When cumulus clouds are suspected to be created by smoke or fires.
(8) Whenever any other meteorological situation designated by JSC/SMG, or which in the opinion of the observer, is critical to mission success or safety occurs.
NOTE: For wind criteria take specials only from L-3 hours until negative TAL.
c. Surface Observation Transmission Schedule. Take routine 24 hour TAL site surface observations beginning at L-48 hours, where L-minus refers to the beginning of the launch window. L+plus refers to the actual launch time. Transmit observations as follows:
(1) L-48 hours until L-3 hours: transmit every hour on the hour.
(2) L-3 hours until L-30 minutes: transmit every 30 minutes on the hour and the half hour.
(3) L-30 minutes until Launch: Every 15 minutes, including launch time (L+0). Observations from this point forward are keyed to launch time.
(4) L+15 minutes.
(5) Fifteen minutes prior to a contingency landing, relay a special observation, to include temperature and dew point, to the airfield tower/NASA GOM for transmission to the orbiter crew, then voice observation to SMG via INMARSAT.
(6) Upon touchdown of the orbiter, transmit a complete observation over the AWN or via INMARSAT.
(7) If no orbiter landing occurs, transmit a complete observation over the AWN or via INMARSAT at L+35 minutes.
(8) If the launch scrubs, transmit a complete observation over the AWN or via INMARSAT at the actual TAL abort time, if possible. Otherwise, transmit a complete observation at scrub announcement +35 minutes.
d. Ground Operations. Provide routine 24-hour observation support for NASA Ops until orbiter ground operations are complete. Disseminate these observations via the AWN, INMARSAT, Internet, or commercial phone lines, and locally to the NASA GOM.
4. Weather Point of Contact.
a. Each designated EOM, AOA, and TAL site requires a qualified forecaster (grade E-5 or higher) to act as the weather point of contact (WPOC) for shuttle operations. This person must be knowledgeable in the following areas:
(l) Shuttle weather requirements.
(2) Local weather conditions.
(3) RATS operations (only at locations that use RATS equipment).
(4) Weather observations.
(5) Shuttle weather data communications.
(6) Weather radar interpretation.
b. DDMS-W provides shuttle-unique training for the TAL site WPOC. Tasked units coordinate with DDMS-W for shuttle-unique weather support training and are responsible to certify and document training in training records.
5. TAL Site Support. The requirements for TAL sites, grouped by location, appear below:
a. Moron AB, Spain.
(l) Normally used every mission.
(2) The Naval European Meteorology and Oceanography Center (NEMOC), NS Rota, Spain, provides one weather point of contact, one TASS operator, and two surface weather technicians qualified to take weather observations for operations starting at L-48 hours.
(3) In support of an orbiter landing at Moron AB, the USAFE Operational Weather Squadron, Sembach AB, Germany, and NEMOC, Rota, Spain, will provide manning and equipment as outlined in Annex H to reference g. to support extended operations. Deployed TAL weather personnel remain in place to support ground operations until replacements arrive to establish a complete weather support element. The DDMS weather operations officer deploys as part of the NASA Rapid Response Team (RRT) or Deployed Operations Team (DOT) to function as a weather liaison with NASA.
b. Zaragoza AB, Spain.
(1) Normally used for high and mid inclination launches.
(2) The USAFE OWS provides one WPOC, one TASS operator, and two surface weather technicians qualified to take weather observations for operations starting at L-48 hours.
(3) In support of an orbiter landing at Zaragoza AB, the USAFE OWS and NEMOC will provide manning and equipment as outlined in Annex H to reference g. to support extended operations. Deployed TAL weather personnel remain in place to support ground operations until replacements arrive to establish a complete weather support element. The DDMS weather operations officer deploys as part of the NASA RRT or DOT to function as a weather liaison with NASA.
c. Ben Guerir, Morocco.
(1) Normally used every mission.
(2) NASA-contracted Moroccan weather observers take surface weather observations starting at L-48 hours.
(3) The 21st Operations Support Squadron (21 OSS/OSW), Peterson AFB, CO, provides WPOC or one TASS operator for operations starting at L-48 hours.
(4) The 45th Weather Squadron (45 WS), Patrick AFB, FL provides one WPOC or one RATS operator for operations starting at L-48 hours.
(5) In support of an orbiter landing at Ben Guerir, the USAFE OWS and NEMOC will provide manning and equipment as outlined in Annex H to reference g. to support extended operations. Deployed TAL weather personnel remain in place to support ground operations until replacements arrive to establish a complete weather support element. The DDMS weather operations officer deploys as part of the NASA RRT or DOT to function as a weather liaison with NASA.