Tuesday, February 8, 2011

This Winter is Colder Than Last, But We Launched in 2010

The winter of 2010 was cold, but the week of SDO's launch was also very snowy. Here is the surface weather map for February 8, 2010. An enormous low pressure system was developing in the Midwest and moving toward the east. STS-130 roared into space in the cold morning of February 8, 2010. A 24 hour period was required before trying to launch SDO on February 10. That enormous low would move over the mid-Atlantic and leave two feet of snow, on top of the two feet that were dropped on February 5-6! This 48 inches of snow greatly complicated the lives of the SDO team at Goddard. To launch SDO we had to be able to take control of the spacecraft when it separated from the Atlas/Centaur launch vehicle. If the SDO team was not at Goddard we could not launch. This meant that the launch team moved into Goddard on February 9, 2010 to wait for launch in their offices and nearby hotels.

Hats off to the Snowmageddon Launch Team!