Author Topic: STS-135 Launch Weather Thread  (Read 73457 times)

Offline rdale

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Re: STS-135 Launch Weather Thread
« Reply #160 on: 07/08/2011 10:34 PM »
Remember, you said at one time….zero probability!

I NEVER said 100% chance of weather violating launch criteria. Regardless, the weather at launch time violated launch criteria. Was it as bad as everyone expected? Nope. People who are part of the actual launch team  on the L2 side here were certain last night it wouldn't be going.

If I were 4 hours away would I have been making the trip? Absolutely. I wouldn't consider you an idiot, but you did make a bad decision.
« Last Edit: 07/08/2011 10:36 PM by rdale »

Offline Longhorn John

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Re: STS-135 Launch Weather Thread
« Reply #161 on: 07/08/2011 10:35 PM »
Where did he say zero percent? And since when did anyone take 100 percent notice of a weather guy.

My wife is a reporter for the CBS Affiliate in Baltimore.  They did a full special report on the Launch today and had an entire team of meterologist agreeing that there is almost no chance of a launch this weekend.  kinda disappointing, but it is further confirmation of things not looking too good.

Oh yeah, that's right.

Also, why didn't you follow this site. As soon as they went for tanking, 12 hours before launch, you'd think that was an indication there was more than zero percent chance?

Offline subisnack

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Re: STS-135 Launch Weather Thread
« Reply #162 on: 07/08/2011 10:42 PM »
Ddale, we were the stupid-idiots who listened to you last night and decided not to waste our time by making the 4-hour drive to Orlando for our Gator connection. From what we witness on TV this morning, which showed a huge crowd at Kennedy Space Center, maybe the only idiots who hung onto your words since they were spoken by a man-in-the-know, an expert. Yes, it was our decision not to go…..but weren’t you aware that people (as stupid as us) were following you and believed in your professional opinion. Remember, you said at one time….zero probability!

I cannot believe we bought causeway tickets and missed the last launch EVER…..lesson learned. If there is even a .0000005% chance of a favorable outcome, we’re taking it.

Now back to moping…



I don't think the anger is pointed in the right direction. That really stinks you missed the launch, but I don't recall ever hearing a 0%. IF it was (and doing a quick scan I can't find where that was ever mentioned), it was a number of days ago, which is always pointed out...weather forecasting is a science that is never 100%. The forecast given was no worse than that of NASA and SMG. And notice that it was technically "no go" with a waiver written. Also in this very thread a number of instances of near 100% no go instances were pointed out as finding a hole in the weather and making it. Taking your frustration (and I can only imagine the frustration!) on a member of the site is taking it in the wrong direction.

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: STS-135 Launch Weather Thread
« Reply #163 on: 07/08/2011 10:44 PM »
It was a 70 percent chance of no go. It was all over my articles for sure, as I remember writing it.

Offline rdale

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Re: STS-135 Launch Weather Thread
« Reply #164 on: 07/08/2011 10:46 PM »
Well I was at 80% at one point so I'll take credit/blame for that, but nobody in their right mind ever said 0% chance of launch.

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: STS-135 Launch Weather Thread
« Reply #165 on: 07/08/2011 10:47 PM »
Well I was at 80% at one point so I'll take credit/blame for that, but nobody in their right mind ever said 0% chance of launch.

Oh no, 80 percent? Wow, if I knew that I wouldn't of bothered coming on site for coverage today ;)

Look, it sucks srm, I feel for you, but don't go running on here and blaming Rob on a weather thread, where it's just an interesting expansion on all the forecasts with rolling updates. The master forecast comes from Kathy Winters (who, ironically, was more than negative through the week). They pulled off a minor miracle today, but don't go lashing out.

They ALWAYS say, you go to KSC with the potential bonus you'll get to see a launch.
« Last Edit: 07/08/2011 10:52 PM by Chris Bergin »

Offline rdale

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Re: STS-135 Launch Weather Thread
« Reply #166 on: 07/08/2011 10:50 PM »
That must have been why SFN went down for a bit :)

Offline psloss

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Re: STS-135 Launch Weather Thread
« Reply #167 on: 07/08/2011 10:58 PM »
As soon as they went for tanking, 12 hours before launch, you'd think that was an indication there was more than zero percent chance?
Bingo.  If they tank, you go.

Offline Melroy Fan

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Re: STS-135 Launch Weather Thread
« Reply #168 on: 07/08/2011 11:15 PM »
Ddale, we were the stupid-idiots who listened to you last night and decided not to waste our time by making the 4-hour drive to Orlando for our Gator connection. From what we witness on TV this morning, which showed a huge crowd at Kennedy Space Center, maybe the only idiots who hung onto your words since they were spoken by a man-in-the-know, an expert. Yes, it was our decision not to go…..but weren’t you aware that people (as stupid as us) were following you and believed in your professional opinion. Remember, you said at one time….zero probability!

I cannot believe we bought causeway tickets and missed the last launch EVER…..lesson learned. If there is even a .0000005% chance of a favorable outcome, we’re taking it.

Now back to moping…



Agreed that your anger/disappointment/frustration is pointed in the wrong direction. Rob provides us wonderful information to supplement what we hear from Kathy Winters and her team. He's a tremendous asset to our forum.

Sorry you missed the launch. But please, enjoy the remainder of this mission, the incredible NASA team and the magnificent national treasure, Atlantis.

Offline srm

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Re: STS-135 Launch Weather Thread
« Reply #169 on: 07/08/2011 11:52 PM »
OK...I wasn't going to respond but.......you did say zero (not 0%) launch probability yesterday. I have been religiously following all the spaceflight.com since sts134, so I am not a newbie here. I have really enjoyed Chris's and all the articles.

My anger is directly aimed at ME for being so damn stupid that I didn't disregard the ...it's not going tomorrow folks....forecast. I didn't know that “no go” really meant “go” from an expert until today's post!

As far as ….why didn’t you drive-up at tanking time….our scheduled pickup in Orlando was 2am, so it was too late to catch the Gator bus.

I wish that rDale’s positivity for a favorable launch could have transpired last night, even a glimpse of hope.

Ultimately, the bad decision was ours…no matter what information we based it on. No one can be as angry with us as we are. We blame only ourselves for being persuaded.

Offline rdale

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Re: STS-135 Launch Weather Thread
« Reply #170 on: 07/09/2011 12:03 AM »
you did say zero (not 0%) launch probability yesterday.

No, I didn't. I'll be more than happy to take the blame when appropriate, but I'm not falling here. You are completely and absolutely verifiably wrong.

I don't see how anyone would even want to risk spending all that time driving to KSC and back for what will probably be a zero chance of launch.

MadameConcorde, who has no experience or knowledge in weather, said it. I had 80% chance of launch weather violation, for a measly 10% chance difference than USAF/SMG forecasters who DEVOTE THEIR PROFESSIONAL LIVES to nothing but forecasting for the KSC area. Not bad if I say so myself...

Quote
I didn't know that “no go” really meant “go” from an expert until today's post!

Again - the launch weather violated launch criteria. So the forecast verified. As was mentioned COUNTLESS times in this and every other weather thread, it only takes a 30 minute well timed gap in the weather to allow a launch. It's happened before when USAF/KSC was very pessimistic about a launch but I was optimistic that the gap would come, and it did.

In this case, there was a gap. It was bigger than expected, but there is no way on God's green earth that you can show me the setup again and I would say "It'll be dry and mostly sunny through the morning."

Offline bookemdano

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Re: STS-135 Launch Weather Thread
« Reply #171 on: 07/09/2011 12:25 AM »
srm I understand why you must be frustrated. It's not like you'll get another chance to make up for your bad decision. I took a similar gamble for STS-133 during the November 4th attempt (which ended up being scrubbed prior to tanking). But part of my rationale for that decision was that in the off chance it did end up going up, I still had opportunities to see STS-134 and 135.

I followed this thread religiously, and I never saw rdale say zero percent chance of launch. Even still, I don't think I would have based my plans on what any one person said, given that this was the final launch and are no more opportunities once it does go up.

I was as pessimistic as anyone that this launch wasn't going to happen today. But probability is just that--probability. Not certainty. Even an 80% no go forecast means that two times out of ten it will go.

I feel very bad for you and your family--if I were in your shoes I would be heartbroken. But lashing out at rdale is not an appropriate response and frankly I think you owe him an apology.
« Last Edit: 07/09/2011 12:26 AM by bookemdano »

Offline LendMeYourYears

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Re: STS-135 Launch Weather Thread
« Reply #172 on: 07/09/2011 01:03 AM »
@srm - you know it was your call, and if you've been round here long enough - you know how things work. The following line, heard so many times during bad weather, by every student skydiver trying to plan travel between university and the drop zone; echoes the right approach to these things.

"We don't know if you'll be able to jump if you stay... but you definitely won't be jumping if you're not."

But yeah, I guess you need somewhere/thing/one to vent at to kind of justify what you did to yourself. But retract that vent arm soon, before you get scrubbed :P.

I didn't get to go to the launch either - visa issues - even though I'd been counting on it for months, and even had a causeway ticket. But I managed to sell my ticket to a high-schooler, and I've made my peace with the fact that this might've atleast added to the ranks of space-fanatics, rather than make an existing space-fanatic happier.
« Last Edit: 07/09/2011 01:04 AM by LendMeYourYears »

Offline stuart_wildcat

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Re: STS-135 Launch Weather Thread
« Reply #173 on: 07/09/2011 06:22 AM »
Or 99% against, depending on your source ;)

OK, so I found where Rob made his "no chance" prediction.  Of course that was in jest and technically even then there was a 1% chance.  It was also from two days ago.  It probably is not even a prediction but was more in response to someone who said "what if there is 100% chance against?" implying that a weatherman would never say 0% or 100%.

I wasn't going to jump into the discussion since several people have already rightly come to Rob's defense but my wife had been studying meteorology so I know what it takes to do what Rob does and also the (undeserved) reputation it has sometimes as a "fake" science.

Rob was actually pretty consistent with his predictions of 70-80% chance of weather that would prevent launch.  I think Thursday there were a lot of posts that were very pessimistic (me included) because the weather that day was so bad.  Rob actually stuck to his guns though and even though he said he was tempted to lower his chance of good weather to 10% I don't think he did.  Even if he had though there would have been 1/10 chance of launching according to him and obviously that is where we ended up.

The posts that said there was "no chance" were largely:
- Posts by people without weather experience
- Posts wondering if they would even tank if there were "no chance"

Even with that pessimisim though there were lots of other posts that:
- Pointed out there have been launches with even worse forcasts going in
- Pointed out that they might as well tank and take a chance because you never know what will happen
- Pointed out that a weather scrub would likely be a late scrub so you should still come out for launch but figure out what will happen if that occurs.

Feel a little like I am beating a dead horse here but I think there is a big difference in some light-hearted ribbing at Rob's expense and flat out "blame" for using this info to make a bad decision.  After all, weather info is only one factor in the whole process and certainly not something to use as the only factor in the decision to come to the launch.

We still love ya rdale!

Offline Albireo

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Re: STS-135 Launch Weather Thread
« Reply #174 on: 07/09/2011 10:18 AM »
I can only agree with stuart_wildcat... And from my side I would like to say that I couldn't believe my eyes when I was back at the hotel and reading that the conditions would have been no-go for RTLS at launch... but you can't imagine how really thankful I am for that decision and the fact that our good girl Atlantis didn't need the RTLS option!  :)

Offline rdale

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Re: STS-135 Launch Weather Thread
« Reply #175 on: 07/09/2011 12:35 PM »
Thanks for the kind words everyone... Granted this won't go down in my "Hall of Fame" forecast book, but when a forecast doesn't pan out there are two bins to put them in:

1) Everyone else got it right so I must have missed something obvious and need to go back and check my data again  ...or...

2) Everyone else missed it too, so we'll chalk that up to not knowing and observing absolutely everything there is to know and observe about the atmosphere.

This was a #2 case. There isn't one source of forecasting information that even the night before indicated "It'll be a beautiful launch setup with just a few sprinkles in the area, but STA will get a waiver to clear them. No worries."

I also need to remind my new friend of the VERY first post in this thread made 4 days prior:

On the good side, it's not a tropical system, it's not a front, so the storms won't be continuous or run all day. There's always a chance to get a nice break for a few hours.

I've enjoyed my "NSF Forecasting Career" even after the demotion to Assistant post-Ike ;) Florida weather is far from my area of expertise but it's been an exciting challenge, and I will miss it. Even when the next generation of human spaceflight starts up, the requirements will be much more relaxed so I'm not sure how valuable the NSF Meteorology Department will be.

And to make the end come even sooner - I'll be up north sitting on a lake with limited Internet access in the landing timeframe (barring a +4 extension) so psloss will take the reigns as chief for that one...

Thanks again. It's been a pleasure!

Offline lsullivan411

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Re: STS-135 Launch Weather Thread
« Reply #176 on: 07/09/2011 12:44 PM »
If I can remind you of your post of July 4th --

Right now I'd say 20% chance of acceptable launch weather on Friday, ramping up to about 40% by Sunday.

So your forecast was not wrong -- you hit it just right knowing there was at least a small chance of the weather cooperating!

As I got soaked waiting for the security dogs heading out for RSS retract, and as I sat at my hotel listening to the heavy rain outside, I'd never have thought we would get to the launch, but it's Florida and that's what happens here.

From my standpoint your weather calls have been more accurate than most of the local forecasters here.  Thanks much for all you've done for the weather world here on NSF -- very much appreciated, and we look foreward to whatever forecasts you may have for us in the future.
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Offline psloss

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Re: STS-135 Launch Weather Thread
« Reply #177 on: 07/09/2011 01:20 PM »
And to make the end come even sooner - I'll be up north sitting on a lake with limited Internet access in the landing timeframe (barring a +4 extension) so psloss will take the reigns as chief for that one...
I'm not likely to be able to for EOM.  And given the grief and over-reaction, maybe it's better not to post, anyway.

Thanks for the insight over the many countdowns and landing days, Rob.

Offline mirak

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Re: STS-135 Launch Weather Thread
« Reply #178 on: 07/09/2011 02:22 PM »
I put the computer away early Friday morning and actually went outside to judge for myself.  Sky was mostly clear, and I knew right away that something wasn't jibing with the forecasts.  Forecasts are just educated guesses.  Use your eyes and trust your gut.

Bottom line is, if someone missed the last launch because they were worried about the potential or even likely inconvenience of a scrub, then that shows their priorities, and they have no right to complain no matter what a weather forecast said.

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