Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Secret Military Atlas V To Launch Wednesday


CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- The Atlas V 401 rocket with its secretive National Reconnaissance Office (NROL-38) payload is scheduled to launch at 8:28 a.m. from Space Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force station in Florida.


 
The mission is the second of four planned launches by United Launch Alliance for the National Reconnaissance Office.


According to the latest NROL launch weather prediction issued by the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, there was a 70% chance of favorable weather for Wednesday's launch.  

The 45th Weather Squadron issued the following atmospheric and space weather report for June 19, 2012:

The high pressure area to the Northeast with a broad area of low pressure to the South continues to cause easterly winds over the next few days with a coastal shower threat each morning with a decreasing threat each afternoon.  Winds strengthen today and persist through Wednesday, causing a concern for lift off winds. 

Also, significant sunspot activity continues to pose a threat for Earth-directed M- and X-class flares, and the Air Force Space Weather Operation Center is forecasting a 25% chance of an M-class flare and a 5% chance of an X-class flare.  An X-class flare or strong M-class flare could cause a proton flux concern.  Our primary concerns for launch are a cumulus cloud rule violation, elevated proton flux associated with a solar flare, and lift off wind. 

On Thursday and Friday, the broad area of low pressure to the South and associated trough lifts North bringing an in-flux of moisture over Central Florida with an increased threat of coastal showers. Cumulus clouds become more of a concern on Thursday and Friday with the significant increase in moisture and on-shore flow.

Image Credit: ULA