NASA Global Hawk alerts NOAA National Weather Service of Gaston’s Intensification

First time Global Hawk data used to upgrade a tropical storm to hurricane

Global Hawk

Thursday, August 25, 2016

For the first time, NOAA’s National Weather Service National Hurricane Center used real-time weather data from the NASA Global Hawk unmanned aircraft to upgrade a tropical storm to a hurricane in the early morning hours Thursday. While the Hurricane Center recently downgraded Gaston back to a tropical storm, the most recent forecast also notes it could intensify again on Saturday.

“The NASA Global Hawk can fly over a tropical cyclone at 60,000 feet and provide a full three-dimensional picture of storm structure,” said Gary Wick, Ph.D., NOAA project scientist for the Global Hawk experiment. “We are glad that our research mission can provide direct support to forecasters at the National Hurricane Center.”

Global Hawk View

Photo taken by a camera mounted on the nose of the Global Hawk unmanned aircraft as it takes off on Wednesday, Aug. 24, at NASA Wallops Flight Facility at dawn. (NASA Global Hawk)

 

The key data was collected by a dropsonde, a small instrument dropped from an aircraft that measures tropical storm conditions as it descends to the surface of the ocean. The dropsonde then transmits the data to a satellite which relays it in real time to the National Hurricane Center.

The Global Hawk took this important data from the 75th dropsonde out of 84 dropped from the plane during a 24-hour flight. The National Hurricane Center evaluated the data to upgrade Gaston to be the third hurricane of the season at 12:15 AM ET on Thursday. The data indicated that Gaston had strengthened to a hurricane with wind speeds estimated to be 75 miles per hour. In its latest report Thursday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center downgraded Gaston to a tropical storm, but noted the storm in the Central Atlantic 1160 miles east-northeast of the Leeward Islands could intensify on Saturday

Flying Into the Storm

Photo taken by Global Hawk as it flies into gathering clouds over the Atlantic Ocean. (NASA Global Hawk)

 

 

 

This is the second year of NOAA’s Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology or SHOUT, a three-year research project with NASA to evaluate the benefits of using the unmanned aircraft in routine operations to improve severe storm forecasts. The research also looks at whether unmanned aircraft can fill data gaps if there are problems with weather satellites.

Get the latest on Tropical Storm Gaston by visiting the National Hurricane Center website at www.hurricanes.gov

For more information, please contact Monica Allen, director of public affairs for NOAA Research, at 301-734-1123 or by email at monica.allen@noaa.gov

Click here to see the original article.

 

Virginia looks at new opportunities for Wallops Spaceport

NASA conducts an Orbital ATK full-power test of the upgraded Antares rocket at the Wallops Island facility.

LOS from Delaware’s Governor Markell shows united Delmarva initiative

WIRA has been working closely with Maryland Senator Jim Mathias to secure meetings with the Delaware political leadership to talk about the Triton Program. We are pleased to announce that through this interaction, Delaware’s Governor Markell has also signed on with a Letter of Support for the Triton Program.

WIRA would like to thank Senator Mathias for his support in attaining the meetings with the Governor of Delaware. Letters of Support have also been written by Virginia’s Governor Terry McAuliffe, and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.

WIRA Chairman, Peter Bale says, “Through this initiative, our 3 regional Governors have truly shown a united Delmarva approach to securing this opportunity.” Bale continues, “The Wallops Island Regional Alliance is deeply honored to have been involved in these steps to attain 3 very important Letters of Support and wishes to thank its Members and Corporate Sponsors for their continued support.”

View Governor Markell’s letter here:

Delaware Gov. Markell’s Triton Project Support Letter

 

Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan writes Letter of Support

WIRA is pleased to announce that we have been working with senior Maryland political staff and leadership in Annapolis and locally. A formal letter of support has been written from Governor Larry Hogan for the Triton Program.

Triton is the Navy’s latest unmanned system program of record with a projected life cycle continuing over the next two decades. This is a $14-Billion-dollar program bringing the possibility of 400 jobs, equipment and opportunities to our DELMARVA region.

The Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia is being considered as the East Coast Forward Operating Base for MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft. Proximity to NAS Patuxent River and Naval Air Combat Systems Command, where the Triton was developed and tested, along with the uncrowded airspace and rural environs make Wallops a favorable choice for the program.

WIRA sees this as an important step forward to securing such an opportunity for Wallops and the greater region surrounding.

WIRA Chairman, Peter Bale says, “This is a very unique opportunity for Delmarva; the timing related to the growth of the UAS industry is particularly beneficial for our region on many levels.” Bale continues, “I would personally like to thank Maryland’s Governor Hogan for his continued support for the Wallops Facility and for what this potential opportunity could bring to our area.”

His letter can be downloaded from here:

Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia – Support Letter (Governor Hogan)

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe writes Letter of Support

WIRA is pleased to announce that we have been working with senior political leadership in Richmond, VA. There has been a formal letter of support written from Governor Terry McAuliffe for the Triton Program.

Triton is the Navy’s latest unmanned system program of record with a projected life cycle continuing over the next 25 years. This is a $14-Billion-dollar program bringing the possibility of 400 jobs, equipment and opportunities to our DELMARVA region.

The Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia is being considered as the East Coast Forward Operating Base for MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft. Proximity to NAS Patuxent River and Naval Air Combat Systems Command, where the Triton was developed and tested, along with the uncrowded airspace and rural environs make Wallops a favorable choice for the program.

WIRA sees this as an important step forward to securing such an opportunity for Wallops and the greater surrounding areas.

WIRA Chairman Peter Bale says, “I would personally like to thank the Governor of Virginia for his continued support for the Wallops Facility and for what this potential opportunity could mean for the region.”

View his Letter of Support: Virginia Gov. McAuliffe’s Triton Project Support Letter

Important News for WIRA

Mr. A. Thomas young has accepted a position with WIRA as a strategic advisor to the board. His broad depth of experience at the highest levels in government and the private sector bring strengths to the WIRA board for specific growth opportunities. Mr. Young (Tom) will assist with strategic guidance on matters such as the United States Navy’s unmanned reconnaissance aircraft “Triton”. Triton is the Navy’s latest unmanned system program of record with a projected life cycle continuing over the next two decades and bringing the possibility of hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of equipment and sustainment opportunities to our DELMARVA region.

About Mr. Young:
A. Thomas Young is the former Director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, President and COO of Martin Marietta and Chairman of SAIC. He retired from Lockheed Martin in July, 1995 and the SAIC Board in 2013. Mr. Young is involved in various advisory and review activities associated with the U.S. Space Program.

Mr. Young began his career with NASA at the Langley Research Center in 1961. He was a member of the Lunar Orbiter Project Team and was Mission Director for Program Viking. He became Director of the Planetary Program at NASA Headquarters in 1976 and was appointed Deputy Director of the Ames Research Center in 1978. Mr. Young was Director of the Goddard Space Flight Center from 1979 to 1982. He joined the Martin Marietta Corporation in 1982 and was subsequently President of Baltimore Aerospace and the Electronics and Missiles Group. Mr. Young was President and COO of Martin Marietta from 1990 to 1995.

Mr. Young is an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, a Fellow of the American Astronautical Society, a Fellow of the Royal Astronautical Society and a Fellow of the International Academy of Astronautics. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the University of Virginia Raven Society. Mr. Young is a former member of the NASA Advisory Council.

Mr. Young earned a Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering degree and a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree in 1961 from the University of Virginia. In 1972 he received a Masters of Management degree from MIT which he attended as a Sloan Fellow. He also holds an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Salisbury University.

Tom’s input will significantly enable WIRA’s efforts.
Please join me in welcoming Tom to the Wallops Island Regional Alliance.

Peter Bale
Chairman

2016 2nd Q Meeting Presentations, 4/12/16

 

Presented by Captain John P. Robinson III, Commanding Officer, SCSC

 

Presented by Aaron Kuipers, Operations Manager, Virginia Space.

 

Presented by Bruce Underwood, Deputy Director, NASA Wallops.

 

Presented by Peter J. Bale, Chairman, Wallops Island Regional Alliance.

 

Presented by Peter J. Bale, Chairman, WIRA for Dan Givens, Site Manager, Orbital ATK.

2016 2nd Q General Meeting

Tuesday, Apr. 12, 2016, 11:30am

Location:  Jackspot Restaurant

Wallops Island Regional Alliance is pleased to welcome
the Members of the Virginia Senate Finance Committee
to our 2nd Quarterly General Meeting.

Come hear the latest to stay informed:

  • United States Navy, Surface Combat Systems Center
  • NASA’s latest missions
  • Orbital ATK preparations for return to flight to the International Space Station
  • and the Virginia Spaceport with exciting updates on the facility growth

We are extremely pleased to announce the confirmation of our VIP Speakers:

Maurice Jones 

Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade

and

Karen Jackson 

Virginia Secretary of Technology

 

 

 

Update from Randy Forbes

Forbes header

Air Force Space Commander Testifies to Wallops Island’s Importance

Head of Air Force Space Command Supports Wallops as Military Launch Site 

Washington, D.C. – Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), who serves on the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, used a recent hearing to ask the head of Air Force Space Command about the value of Wallops Island, Virginia as a launch site for military missions.

When asked if Wallops Island would be of increased utility as military satellites grow smaller, General John Hyten, Commander of the Air Force Space Command, testified that “As we move into a different structure where we have smaller satellites… and maybe “cubesats” as well someday to do certain missions, we will need to take advantage of it [Wallops].”  General Hyten also testified that Wallops “also builds resiliency into our launch infrastructure.  We have vulnerabilities when everybody knows that the only place we launch our rockets from are at Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg.  It’s better to have more places to launch from.”

“Wallops Island has already been integral to commercial space efforts,” Congressman Forbes said. “As we enter a new era of smaller satellites and contested space operations, there is a clear need to incorporate Wallops Island into a more resilient military launch posture.  Given General Hyten’s recent comments, I look forward to advocating for further expansion of Wallops’ role.”

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The facility at Wallops Island, Virginia is home to some of the most innovative work in the commercial space industry, and supports the needs of both NASA and the Department of Defense. Whether it is providing field carrier landing practice to Navy pilots, supporting rocket launches as part of Missile Defense Agency exercises, or serving as one of two U.S. sites launching vital cargo to support the International Space Station, Wallops is an integral part of U.S. space efforts.