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OCR for page 55
Appends A Leder hom KASA to the Academy Requesting EstabUshment of Panel 55

OCR for page 55
56 N/\Sr\ National Aeronautics and Space Administration Washington. D.C 20546 MO Dr. Frank Press president National Academy of Sciences 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418 Dear Dr. Press: 1~W J7 I:. NASA requests the assistance of the National Academy of Sciences in our endeavor to improve the National Space Transportation System tNSTS) Weather Forecasting System. We require your atmospheric science expertise to identify how NASA can instrument the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) as a prototype weather nowcasting facility. On November 12, 1986, my staff discussed this request with Dr. John Perry of the National Research Council. Dr. Perry suggested we proceed with a formal request for the Academy's services. Our objective is to encourage the research community to sponsor atmospheric activities utilizing KSC as a test ground for the application of state-of-the- science meteorological nowcasting techniques and technology. Resumption of routine Shuttle landings at RSC is in part dependent upon improving our current weather support system to provide a high level of confidence in a 90-minute prelanding forecast. The dynamic atmospheric conditions manifested at ESC, combined with the Space Shuttle sensitivity to a range of environmental parameters (thunderstorms, lightning, turbulence), make this a very challenging requirement. The Office of Space Flight is in the process of developing a 5-Year NSTS Weather Forecasting Improvement Plan, consistent with the recommendations of the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident. Development of KSC as a prototype nowcasting facility is a cornerstone of that plan. We would like you to define the improvements necessary to create such a prototype system and provide NASA with an implementation plan. We look forward to working with the Academy to develop a state-of-the-science weather forecasting capability for the Space Shuttle. Please contact Karen Poniatowski (FTS 453-2520) of my staff for any clarification. Sincerely, ichard H. Trulyt ~ Associate Administrator for Space Flight