Weather and Range Technology

Weather Capabilities / Services

KSC has developed and utilizes the latest technology to predict and understand weather constraints related to ground operations and launch to protect personnel and flight hardware.  Additionally Kennedy has advanced radar capability to monitor launch vehicle dynamics, flight performance, and debris events during launch, ascent, and landing.

A two phase lightning policy was implemented in mid-1990’s saving KSC in excess of $1M annually in lost down time.

Capabilities include:

  • 50 MHz Doppler radar wind profiler
  • Lightning Detection and Ranging (LDAR) system
  • Upgraded lightning launch commit criteria to increase launch availability and improve safety
  • Real-time launch tracking of vehicle radar signature, staging dynamics, debris events, and plume signature
  • Radar data to identify release site, reconstruct trajectory, dimensions (less than 0.5 in^2) and material composition of liberated debris
  • Relative in-flight motion, bending, and flexure detection within the vehicle stack (includes wings, tail, and engines)
  • Applied Meteorology Unit
  • Weather Data Archive
  • Wind, temperature, and humidity measurements on three lightning protection towers at LC-39B
  • Portable hail detection and sizing equipment (10 to 20+ mm)
  • High resolution C-Band wide-band, coherent radar
  • Two X-Band Weibel Doppler radars (portable) – offshore & down range operations
  • Advanced software tools for ascent or orbital object analysis


  • Detected and tracked astronaut tool bag lost during STS-126 EVA
  • Successful ARES I-X relative in-flight motion detection of 0.2 to 0.4 inche

Eastern Range and Kennedy Space Center Meteorological Products/Services


To provide maximum launch availability, climatological data is available and within 10 days of launch, model data can be utilized to adjust launch times.

Launch Experience

The Eastern Range (ER) has the highest launch rates in the US.  ER forecasters have extensive experience in supporting daily operations and launch over a wide range of weather situations.

Meteorological DataKSC/ER have most comprehensive instrumentation suite for assuring safe operations and launch, while providing for maximum launch and operational availability. Readily accessible weather data for investigative analysis and problem resolution. Unique data sets include wind profiling radars up to 60 kft, array of electric field sensors, array of wind sensors, lightning sensors, lightning video capture and more.

Forecast SupportFacility-specific forecasts, watches and warnings ensure safe operations and rapid return to operations after hazardous conditions have moved out of the area.