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135 votes

Why did it take so long to notice that the ozone layer had holes in it? Which satellite provided the data?

I believe the discovery was made by orbiting satellite, but I'm not sure which one. That is not the case. Look at the author affiliation for the article to which you linked. The three authors of that ...
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36 votes
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Why doesn't the USA use structurally stronger rockets for the more important launches?

I think you got it wrong: R-7 launches sometimes are also postponed due to weather. Just to name few examples: 18 December 2018, 9 March 2018, 22 April 2016 - Kouru; March 22, 2016 - Baikonur, 2 ...
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29 votes
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Can a rocket be launched while it rains?

There is a huge difference between the US and Russian launchers, in terms of tolerance for weather. Additionally, different launchers have different tolerances. The Russians launch from Baikanour, ...
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29 votes
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Why does the U.S. military maintain their own weather satellites?

Note: This answer is based on a source from 2001. It provides a lot of background as a historical overview, but it does not take into account recent changes in the program. Please review the end of ...
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  • 23.5k
28 votes

Why doesn't the USA use structurally stronger rockets for the more important launches?

This question is based on several serious misconceptions. R-7 launches never get postponed due to weather. Actually, they do. "The launch of the Soyuz 2-1A modernized carrier rocket, scheduled for ...
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28 votes

Would the national flag planted by astronauts on Mars need an upper horizontal pole like the ones on the Moon?

Short answer: Yes. Mars is not windy enough to properly wave most flags. Long answer: In storm conditions, a flag constructed out of a very light material would be able to properly wave. If we take a ...
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  • 14.6k
23 votes

Will SpaceX delay launches, if the landing site weather is unacceptable?

The Iridium 7 mission, Jul 25, 2018 gives a partial practical answer. Throughout the webcast John Innsbruker reminded everyone that conditions for landing in the Pacific for the JRTI (Just Read The ...
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20 votes
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Are launch windows to Mars avoided if they result in landings during dust storm season?

Are launch windows to Mars avoided if they result in landings during dust storm season? No. It's pretty well known that the gusts of wind on Mars are relatively harmless to a person standing on Mars (...
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19 votes

Does upper atmosphere rotate with earth?

Certainly a reasonable question. A possibly useful mental model is to spin a bucket of water in some form. Initially only the surface layers will spin but each layer transfers motion to the next layer ...
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18 votes

Why does the U.S. military maintain their own weather satellites?

The specific needs of the military may not be served by civilian weather satellites. Specifically, the DMSP started as a classified program that supported the Corona spy satellite program. Its ...
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18 votes
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Did any of the Space Shuttles land through rain or rainclouds?

The orbiters were not allowed to fly through precipitation on landing for the following reasons: The orbiter is not to encounter precipitation on any approach due to decreased visibility, damage to ...
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16 votes

Why are rocket launches so sensitive to weather?

It's mainly just bad luck. There is really only one relatively common weather condition that you don't want to launch a rocket into and that's a thunderstorm. Granted, high winds can also be ...
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  • 510
16 votes
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Why are rocket launches so sensitive to weather?

Lightning and wind are the primary weather concerns that preclude rocket launch. A rocket's control system needs to compensate for lots of un-modeled or difficult to model factors. For example, ...
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16 votes

Why did it take so long to notice that the ozone layer had holes in it? Which satellite provided the data?

To quickly summarise the answer: Nimbus 7 was the satellite involved - but it wasn't first. The ozone hole did not substantially materialise before the early-1980s - in retrospect the decline was ...
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  • 7,396
14 votes
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What are "high altitude winds" and why do they often delay rocket launches?

I can provide details only for the Space Shuttle. 1) Up to 155,000 feet - the approximate altitude of SRB separation - the end of first stage flight. Here are example wind plots (from here) [Note ...
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14 votes

Does upper atmosphere rotate with earth?

The lower atmosphere must rotate with the earth because of friction---at least the very bottom of it. That is true, but only at the very, very bottom of the Earth's atmosphere, perhaps the last few ...
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  • 62.9k
13 votes

Can a rocket be launched while it rains?

What are the complications which would occur during a rocket launch when it rains? In addition to the issues raised by geoffc, another is that rain (or rather the rain clouds) obscure visibility of ...
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12 votes

Why doesn't the USA use structurally stronger rockets for the more important launches?

Structural strength is not the only factor in rockets dealing with weather, they are already designed to withstand many Gs of acceleration carrying tons of explosive fuel. Flying through a cloud isn't ...
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  • 18.7k
11 votes

Why are rocket launches so sensitive to weather?

Why are rocket launches so sensitive to weather? It could make the difference between an O-ring failing, or not. In the Challenger disaster.. Disintegration of the vehicle began after an O-ring seal ...
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11 votes

Lightning on Mars?

Lightning has been observed in Mars. However, this is 'dry' lightning, unrelated to precipitation. This was described in the paper Emission of non-thermal microwave radiation by a Martian dust storm ...
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  • 1,540
11 votes

What is the warmest place on Mars?

This is a bit tricky to answer, as we don't have perfect global weather from Mars. But as can be seen from the images at this site, it will be a low lying area near the the equator. If I had to ...
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  • 118k
11 votes
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Does Venus have doldrums or horse latitudes (latitudes with lower winds)?

There are no horse latitudes on Venus, only equatorial doldrums and polar fronts / collars. Convection driven Hadley cells on Venus stretch to ±60° in latitude from the intertropical convergence ...
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  • 75.2k
11 votes

Fast spinning solar cells to clear Martian dust possible?

From a mechanical, engineering view, having a brush on a robotic arm to clean the solar panel is more favorable, than rotating the panel. Having a current transfer between the rotating solar panel and ...
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  • 3,234
10 votes

How can I find a daily record of the temperature on Mars?

There are a number of ways. Basically, you can either get a global record, or a record from a spacecraft. Curiosity provides us with the clearest cut version, available from its website. Mars Climate ...
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  • 118k
10 votes
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What is KSC's HURCON II?

HURCON levels range from I to V and are properly defined by the USAF. The KSC uses these levels as well, as outlined by the "KENNEDY SPACE CENTER AND CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION CONSOLIDATED ...
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10 votes
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Does Mars have a known "prevailing wind" direction?

No. Mars has complex weather. Just the observation of unpredictable global dust storms shows that there is no persistent weather structure anywhere on Mars. Our global climate models of Mars show ...
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9 votes

Were there any issues with wind on rockets / shuttle?

The Space Review has an entire article devoted to such failures. I've also found a few other. Missions where wind was, or was almost, a failure, include the following: Atlas Centaur AC-67 FLTSATCOM 6-...
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8 votes

Will SpaceX delay launches, if the landing site weather is unacceptable?

The Hispasat 30W-6 mission in March 2018 was properly fitted with titanium grid fins and landing legs, however the weather in the offshore landing area was too bad for the drone ship Of Course I Still ...
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  • 6,553
8 votes

How long would astronauts' footprints on Mars persist?

Several months to years, but not forever. We (obviously) don't yet have astronaut footprints to examine, but we do have rover tracks to look at. Here is a perfect example: Opportunity's tracks around ...
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7 votes

Were there any issues with wind on rockets / shuttle?

In addition to the incidents listed in @PearsonArtPhoto's answer: During the STS-115 launch countdown a wind direction change occurred at ~15,000 feet (15 ft/s tailwind to 10 ft/s headwind) over a ...
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