Emma Koontz



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Whenever a launch is made from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS) and Kennedy Space Center (KSC), there are certain weather criteria that must be met. The Lightning Launch Commit Criteria (LLCC) includes a specific rule involving thick cloud layers over 1400 feet thick and is concerned with the presence of potential lighting threat. In this study, we use existing databases of LLCC violations and Surface Electric Field Mill readings to analyze cases in regards to the Thick Cloud Layers Rule. Public Nexrad Radar Data gathered for case specific dates from Google Cloud Storage will be analyzed using Gibson Ridge 2 Analyst and Python. The database used had cases sorted into Definitive Lighting Risk, Possible Lighting Risk, and No Lighting Risk. In the study we focus on an in depth radar analysis of Definitive Risk and No Risk cases clearly violating the Thick Cloud Rule to determine if there is a difference in cloud structure, reflectivity, and behavior in cases with and without a significant Electric Field Mill response. The findings of this research will contribute to the overarching goal of assessing whether the existing LLCC can be made to be less restrictive in order to increase launch opportunities, while maintaining launch safety.


Research and Creative Experience for Undergraduates (RCEU)


Atmospheric and Earth Science

College Name

College of Science


Lawrence Carey

Publication Date


Document Type


Weather Radar Characteristics of Thick Cloud Layers over the Eastern Range Associated with a Triggered Lightning Risk



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