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From: Henry Spencer <>
Subject: Re: Launching facilities at sea level?
Date: Sat, 14 Mar 1998 00:19:49 GMT

In article <>,
The Stoat <> wrote:
>One other item the factored into the selection of many of the site is weather.
>Most of the site enjoy a high number of cloudless days...

Actually, the Cape is a rotten place for a spaceport by this standard.
It gets far too many thunderstorms.  (In fact, it's a prime site for
lightning research.)  Worst of all are the surprise thunderstorms --
the Cape weather has been known to go from clear and sunny to violent
thunderstorm in less time than the shuttle needs to go from deorbit
burn to landing.

The reason why they usually roll the shuttle out from the VAB to the pad
in the wee small hours of the morning is that surprise thunderstorms are
uncommon then.  The shuttle has only rather limited lightning protection
during rollout; unlike the original Saturn V configuration, the shuttle
configuration of the mobile launcher does not have a tower that goes along
for the ride.

Were it not for the desire to have unpopulated areas downrange, Edwards
would be a much better place for a spaceport.  (There's a *reason* why
it's the site for so much experimental flying.)
Being the last man on the Moon                  |     Henry Spencer
is a very dubious honor. -- Gene Cernan         |

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