Fluid Dynamics

Doghouse – Weather Forecast

Article from Issue 243/2021
Author(s):

A recent rocket launch has maddog thinking about high performance computing and accurate weather forecasts.

Recently SpaceX, working with NASA, sent a capsule carrying four astronauts to the International Space Station. The launching and flight were flawless.

I have been watching space flights since 1961. I still remember all of the students of my elementary school packing into the school's auditorium, with the school wheeling in their large black-and-white TV on a cart (one of the few "portable TVs" in those days) to watch it launch.

That is assuming that the rocket did take off, because in those days it was very likely that a storm might move in and have the countdown delayed, or even canceled. The act of fueling the rocket and putting the astronaut (first one, later multiple astronauts) in the capsule had to be planned and executed far in advance of the takeoff, and Cape Canaveral (as it was called in those days) was very likely to have bad weather.

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