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NASA Science

Weather Delays Two NASA Launches 33

RocketAcademy writes "Weather has delayed two NASA launches which were scheduled for today: an Atlas launch from Cape Canaveral carrying two Radiation Belt Storm Probe satellites and a Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding-rocket launch from Wallops Island, Virginia carrying four student experiments. The susceptibility to weather delays is a problem for current launch systems."
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Weather Delays Two NASA Launches

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  • by dtmos ( 447842 ) * on Saturday August 25, 2012 @06:29PM (#41125373)

    There are lots of reasons for weather delays of rocket launches, but one of them is wind. I've been told (by actual rocket scientists, with only a few Green Martians* in them at the time) that there are two critical factors related to wind -- the wind speed itself and its variability, i.e., gusts -- and that the reasons both trace back to the limitations of the directional-control system of the engines (i.e., the gimbals) and the guidance system of the rocket.

    The limitation on maximum wind speed is related to the range of control of the engines (i.e., how many degrees off the axis of the rocket the engines can point), since that eventually works back to how large a wind-compensating vector is available to the guidance system. The gust limitation is related to the response speed (slew rate) of the engine gimbals, since that eventually works back to how fast the guidance system can respond to changes in wind speed and/or direction.
    *Equal parts vodka, Midori, sour mix, ginger ale, 7-Up, and soda, in case you're curious. Once a favorite of that crowd, back in the day.

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