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Excessive Heat Continues in the Southwest on Monday

A cold front will bring relief to the Pacific Northwest on Monday, but the Southwest will see above average temperatures again. Excessive Heat Warnings are in effect for many locations through Monday evening. The hottest temperatures will be in the desert as daytime high temperatures may exceed 115 degrees. Read More >

Apollo Program Weather Support

 

An additional unit at Honululu was added to the Spaceflight Meteorology Group to support the expected increase in Pacific ocean recoveries during the Apollo program.  The Spaceflight Meteorology Group supported the Apollo lunar missions, the Skylab orbital missions, and the Apollo-Soyuz Test Program during this period.  Weather support was required not only for launch and recovery operations, but also for in-flight weather experiments conducted by the astronauts.  This in-flight support was particularly important during the Skylab missions.

At the close of the Apollo program, NASA allowed each center to select their weather support structures. Kennedy Space Center opted to use the Patrick Air Force Base/Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Air Weather Service unit (now the 45th Weather Squadron) for weather support to pre-launch and launch operations. Johnson Space Center chose to retain the National Weather Service for weather support services.   The SMG subordinate units were closed with only the Houston office supporting the Mission Control Center remaining.  Following the Apollo program, SMG provided staff support services and planning to support the next phase of the United States human spaceflight program - The Space Shuttle.


Mission Weather Summary

Apollo Missions(1)
Mission Launch Date (UTC) Launch Weather Recovery Date (UTC)
Location
Recovery Weather
Apollo 7 11 Oct 1968
15:02:45
Cld: SCT021CB SCTxxx(CI) (2)
Vis: 10SM  CB SW 
Temp/Dew: 82F/69F
Wind:  08017G22KTS

60' Wind: 090/20KTS

22 Oct 1968 11:11:48
27.63N, 64.15E
Cld: OVC006  (2)
Vis: 2NM Light Rain
Temp/Dew: 72F/70F
Wind: 210/11KTS
Water Temp: 81F
Wave Height: 3 FT
Apollo 8 21 Dec 1968
12:51:00
Cld: SCTxxx(Ci)  (3)
Vis: 10SM 
Temp/Dew: 59F/56F
Wind 34006KTS

60' Wind: 348/11KTS

27 Dec 1968 15:51:42
8.10N, 165.00 W
Cld:SCT025 BKN120  (3)
Vis: 10 NM
Temp/Dew: 82F/mmF
Wind: 080/11KTS
Water Temp: 82F (1)
Wave Height:  6 FT
Apollo 9 03 Mar 1969
16:00:00
Cld: BKN040 OVC090 (AS) (4)
Vis: 10SM Aircraft Report of BKN140
Temp/Dew: 67F/54F
Wind: 14012KTS

60' Wind: 160/13KTS

13 Mar 1969 17:00:54
23.22N, 67.98W
Cld: SCT020 BKN090 (5)
Vis: 10 NM
Temp/Dew: 79F/67F
Wind: Calm
Water Temp: 76F
Wave Height:  5 FT
Apollo 10 18 May 1969
16:49:00
Cld: SCT023 SCT040 BKN110 OVCxxx(Ci) (6)
Vis: 10SM 
Temp/Dew: 82F/73F
Wind:  12012KTS

60' Wind:  142/19KTS

26 May 1969 16:52:23
15.07S, 164.65W
Cld: SCT020 SCT070 (7)
Vis: 10 NM
Temp/Dew: 79F/68F
Wind: 100/09KTS
Water Temp: 82F
Wave Height:  3 FT
Apollo 11 16 Jul 1969
13:32:00
Cld: SCT030 SCT140 OVCxxx(CI) (8)
Vis: 10SM 
Temp/Dew: 86F/75F
Wind: 22005KTS

60' Wind:  175/6KTS

24 Jul 1969 16:50:35
13.30N, 169.15W
Cld: BKN015 BKNxxx(CI) (8)
Vis: 10 NM
Temp/Dew: 82F/mmF (Wet Bulb 77)
Wind: 080/17 KTS
Water Temp: mmF
Wave Height:  6 FT
Apollo 12 14 Nov 1969
16:22:00
Cld:  OVC021 (9)
Vis: 7SM Rainshowers SCT015 OVC070
Temp/Dew: 70F/66F
Wind:  220/12G19KTS

60' Wind:  280/13KTS


24 Nov 1969 20:58:25
15.78 S, 165.15 W
Cld: SKC (10)
Vis: 10+ NM
Temp/Dew: 79F/72F
Wind: 100/15KTS
Water Temp: mmF
Wave Height: 3 FT 
(swells to 7 ft)
Apollo 13 11 Apr 1970
19:13:00
Cld: BKN200 (11)
Vis: 10SM Few Cu over land
Temp/Dew: 76F/60F
Wind:  080/10KTS

60' Wind:  105/12KTS

17 Apr 1970 18:07:41
21.63 S, 165.37 W
Cld: SCT025 BKNxxx(CI) (12)
Vis: 7 NM
Temp/Dew: 79F/mmF
Wind: 270/06 KTS
Water Temp: mm F
Wave Height: 6 FT
Apollo 14 31 Jan 1971
21:03:02
Cld: BKN040 BKN080 (13)
Vis: 10SM  Rainshowers E NE SW
Temp/Dew: 71F/67F
Wind:  260/05KTS

60' Wind:  255/10KTS

09 Feb 1971 21:05:00
27.02 S, 172.67 W
Cld: SCT020 (14)
Vis: 10 NM
Temp/Dew: 23C/18C
Wind: 100/10KTS
Water Temp: mmF
Wave Height:  4 FT
Apollo 15 26 Jul 1971
13:34:00
Cld: BKN250 (CI) (15)
Vis: 10SM 
Temp/Dew: 84F/73F
Wind: 170/05 KTS

60' Wind:  156/10KTS 1

07 Aug 1971 20:45:53
26.13 N, 158.13 W
Cld: SCTvBKN020 (16)
Vis: 10 NM Rain Vicinity
Temp/Dew: 81F/mmF
Wind: 080/07KTS
Water Temp: mm F
Wave Height:  Calm FT
Apollo 16 16 Apr 1972
17:54:00
Cld: SCT030 (CU) (17)
Vis: 10SM 
Temp/Dew: 88F/63F
Wind: 232/02P07KTS

60' Wind:  269/12KTS1


27 Apr 1972 19:45:05
0.70 S, 156.22 W
Cld: SCT020 (18)
Vis: 10 NM (19)
Temp/Dew: 82F/mmF (19)
Wind: 110/15KTS
Water Temp: mmF
Wave Height:  4 FT
Apollo 17 07 Dec 1972
05:33:00
Cld: SCT026 BKN260 (20)
Vis: 10SM 
Temp/Dew: 70F/68F
Wind:  300/07KTS

60' Wind:  005/08KTS (21)

19 Dec 1972 19:24:59
17.88 S, 166.11 W
Cld: BKN025 (22)
Vis: 10 NM
Temp/Dew: 23.9C/20C
Wind: 120/14KTS
Water Temp: 27.8C
Wave Height: 1.5 FT 

 

Skylab missions
Mission Launch Date Launch Weather Recovery Date (Duration) Recovery Weather
Skylab I 
(Unmanned Station)
14 May 1973 Cld: SCT024 SCT050 BKN120 OVC230 (23)
Vis: 10 SM 
Temp/Dew: 87F/65F
Winds: 260/06KTS

60' Wind:  155/10KTS (24)

N/A Burned up on re-entry into atmosphere
Skylab II
1st manned mission
25 May 1973 Cld: SCT008 BKN025 BKN080 BKN300 (25)
Vis: 6 SM Fog
Temp/Dew: 79F/74F
Wind:  260/06

60' Wind: 212/11 KTS (26)

6/22/1973
(28 days
0 hours
50 minutes)
Cld: BKN018 (29)
Vis:  10 NM
Temp/Dew: 64F/57F
Wind: 030/09KTS
Water Temp: 69 F
Wave Height:  1.5 FT 
Skylab III 28 July 1973 Cld: BKN150 BKN300 (30)
Vis: 3 SM FOG 
Temp/Dew: est 74F73/F
Wind: Calm

60' Wind: 264/05 KTS (31)

9/25/1973
(59 days
11 hours
9 minutes)
Cld: BKN020  (32)
Vis:  10 NM
Temp/Dew: 65F/61F
Wind: 360/18KTS
Water Temp: 65 F
Wave Height:  1.5 FT
Skylab IV 16 Nov 1973 Cld: SCT100  (33)
Vis: 10 SM 
Temp/Dew: 72F/63F
Wind:  220/07KTS

60' Wind: 202/07 KTS (34)

02/08/1974
(84 days
1 hour
17 minutes)
Cld: BKNxxx (CI)  (35)
Vis:  10 NM
Temp/Dew: 58F/52F
Wind: 060/16KTS
Water Temp: 57F
Wave Height: 1.5 FT


 

Apollo-Soyuz (ASTP)
Mission Launch Launch Weather Recovery (Duration) Recovery Weather
Apollo 18 7/15/1975 Cld:SCT029CB SCT140 SCT330  (36)
Vis: 10SM CB SE and SW-W
Temp/Dew: 84F/73F
Wind:  090/09KTS

60' Wind:  KTS

7/24/1975
(9 days
1 hour
30 minutes)
Cld: 
Vis:  NM
Temp/Dew: mmF/mmF
Wind: KTS
Water Temp: mm F
Wave Height:  FT
Soyuz 19 7/15/1975 Cld: SKC
Vis: Good
Temp/Dew: xxF/xxF
Wind:  "Light" (37)
7/21/1975 
(5 days
23 hours
31 minutes)
N/A

Significant Events

Total Number of Weather Related Scrubs and Delays:   0 Scrubs,  1 Delay.

Apollo 7:  First Apollo Manned Flight (Schirra/Eisele/Cunningham)
Launch winds close to limit

Apollo 11:  First Lunar Landing (Armstrong/Aldrin/Collins)
Recovery location moved

Apollo 12:  Second Lunar Landing (Conrad/Bean/Gordon)
Launch into precipitation and electrified clouds triggered lightning strike to vehicle. The mission continued to a successful conclusion after quick action on the part of the flight controllers and the crew to recover the spacecraft electrical systems.

Apollo 13:  Vehicle Crippled (Lovell/Haise/Swigert)
Apollo 13 recovery location moved due to tropical storm

Apollo 14:  Lunar Landing (Shepard/Evans/Roosa)  (1 Delay)
Apollo 14 launch delayed

Apollo 16:  Lunar Landing (Young/Mattingly/Duke)
The Apollo 16 mission was shortened 1 day due to technical issues not related to weather.  However, this changed the recovery location which significantly improved the weather conditions in the recovery area.

Skylab 2:   (Conrad/Weitz/Kerwin)
Thunderstorms developed during previous afternoon, but then continued into night and morning hours.  However, storms remained west of area.  15

Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (Stafford/Brand/Slayton)
The Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft were launched on the same day with the Soyuz launching first during daylight hours.  This necessitated an afternoon launch at KSC during July.  Therefore, there was a great deal of concern regarding the potential for thunderstorm occurrence, the ability to predict thunderstorms 8 - 12 hours in advance, and whether it was reasonable to scrub the Soyuz launch at Baikonur due to a forecasted occurrence of thunderstorms at KSC.  Although SMG was proud of its capability to predict thunderstorms at KSC, they recommended not scrubbing a launch due to forecast thunderstorms.  The launch rules for ASTP were modifed from the version used in the Skylab missions.   NOAA  aircraft supported Apollo-Soyuz launch to provide measurements to help avoid any triggered lightning.  As it turned out, thunderstorms ended up not being a significant threat on the launch day.

References:
1.  NASA SP-4029: "Apollo by the Numbers:  A Statistical Reference"   Launch Weather Table    Entry, Splashdown and Recovery Table
2. Launch and Recovery Weather Form for Apollo 7 (Undated)
3. Launch and Recovery Weather Form for Apollo 8 (Undated)
4. Launch Weather Summary for Apollo 9 (Undated)
5. Launch and Recovery Weather Form for Apollo 9 (Undated)
6. Launch Weather Summary for Apollo 10 (18 May 1969)
7. Launch and Recovery Weather Form for Apollo 10 (Undated)
8. Launch and Recovery Weather Form for Apollo 11 (Undated)
9. Launch Weather Summary for Apollo 12 (Undated, Jim Nicolson)
10. Launch and Recovery Weather Form for Apollo 12 (Undated)
11. Launch Weather Summary for Apollo 13 (Undated)
12. Apollo 13 Operation Report, 30 Apr 1970 (O.A. Gordon NWS/HNL to Chief, SMG) and supporting documentation
13. Launch Weather Summary for Apollo 14 (Undated)
14. Apollo 14 Operation Report, Undated (O.A. Gordon NWS/HNL to Chief, SMG) and supporting documentation
15. Apollo 15 Post-Launch Report, 27 July 1971 (Ernie Amman to Manager, Apollo-Skylab Programs, AA) and supporting documentation
16. Apollo 15 Operation Report, 13 August 1971 (O.A. Gordon NWS/HNL to Chief, SMG) and supporting documentation
17. Apollo 16 Post-Launch Report, 17 April 1972 (Ernie Amman to Manager, Apollo-Skylab Programs, AA) and supporting documentation
18. Apollo 16 Operation Report, 13 May 1972 (O.A. Gordon NWS/HNL to Chief, SMG) and supporting documentation
19. Memorandum:  SMG's Forecast support for Apollo 16, 9 May 1972 (Chief, SMG to Chief, Flight Control Division) and supporting documentation
20. Apollo 17 Launch Weather Summary (Jim Nicholson, undated memo)
21. AS-512 Launch Wind Data, 10 Jan 1973 memo (Dale Johnson, S&E-AERO-YT to Distribution)
22. Apollo 17 Operation Report, 10 Jan 1973 (O.A. Gordon NWS/HNL to Chief, SMG) and supporting documentation
23. Skylab I Launch Weather Summary (Jim Nicholson, 14 May 1973 memo)
24. SA-513/SL-1 Launch Wind Data, 19 Jun 1973 (Dale Johnson, S&E-AERO-YT to Distribution)
25. Skylab II Launch Weather Summary (Jim Nicholson, 25 May 1973 memo)
26. SA-206 Launch Wind Data, 18 Jun 1973 (Dale Johnson, S&E-AERO-YT to Distribution)
27. Summary of Spaceflight Meteorology Group Activities at Kennedy Space Center in Support of the Launch of Skylab I, 12 June 1973 memo (MIC, Cape Kennedy Section to Chief, SMG)
28. Summary of Spaceflight Meteorology Group Activities at Kennedy Space Center in Support of the Launch of Skylab II, 12 June 1973 memo (MIC, Cape Kennedy Section to Chief, SMG)
29. Skylab II Operation Report, 5 Jul 1973 (O.A. Gordon NWS/HNL to Chief, SMG) and supporting documentation
30. Skylab III Launch Weather Summary (Jim Nicholson, 28 July 1973 memo)
31. SA-207/SL-3 Launch Wind Data, 29 Aug 1973 (Dale Johnson, S&E-AERO-YT to Distribution)
32. Skylab III Operation Report, 12 Oct 1973 (O.A. Gordon NWS/HNL to Chief, SMG) and supporting documentation
33. Skylab III Launch Weather Summary (Jim Nicholson, 28 July 1973 memo)
34. SA-208/SL-4 Launch Wind Data, 21 Jan 1974 (Dale Johnson, S&E-AERO-YT to Distribution)
35. Skylab IV Operation Report, 21 Feb 1974 (O.A. Gordon NWS/HNL to Chief, SMG) and supporting documentation
36. ASTP Launch Weather Summary (Jim Nicholson, 15 July 1975 memo)
Note:  Conditions recorded for launch from post-launch reports represent conditions as recorded on the 150m tower included in the report.
37. SP-4209 The Partnership: A History of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.  Chap 11.

Go to the Mercury or Gemini weather support pages.