Last Updated: 09/24/2012*

John P. Shannon, Space Shuttle Program Manager, recently presented the AWIPS NCF team with a specially designed certificate, marking the end of the space shuttle program, as a token of their appreciation. The certificate featured a patch that was flown in space aboard the STS-134 mission of Space Shuttle Endeavour, whose final launch occurred on May 16, 2011, with a landing on June 1, 2011.

Since 2005, meteorologists and IT engineers at the Raytheon Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) Team’s Network Control Facility (NCF) have been supporting NASA’s space shuttle program. With the end of the Space Shuttle program this year, the National Weather Service (NWS) Spaceflight Meteorology Group (SMG) recognized the AWIPS NCF team for their “support to SMG and ultimately NASA's human spaceflight program.”

AWIPS, a complex network of systems, plays a critical role in the ability of NWS forecasters to make weather predictions that can save lives and safeguard property.

Acting as the ‘first-line defense’ for all AWIPS operational issues, the NCF team supported several space shuttle missions, including Discovery and Endeavor, by providing enhanced technical support of launch sites’ AWIPS systems.  Precise weather conditions are required for a safe and successful launch. The NCF examined AWIPS’ critical weather monitoring script multiple times per day before, during and after a launch. This provided a real-time health check of the system so that NWS forecasters could continue to make time-sensitive, high impact weather warnings without disruption.  

“SMG and the NCF have had a long and successful partnership over the years. The NCF's help in resolving AWIPS issues and monitoring the SMG AWIPS during critical phases of Space Shuttle missions has been invaluable,” said Frank Brody, chief of the National Weather Service Spaceflight Meteorology Group. “Your personnel have worked hard to understand SMG's unique AWIPS setup and troubleshoot any AWIPS problems that have come up. We appreciate that they have done all this with a friendly and positive attitude.”

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