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NASA's Applied Meteorology Unit

Two Columns

AMU History and Awards & Recognitions

A Brief History of the AMU

AMU lab area

AMU lab area in the Morrell Operations Center at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, circa 2003.

In 1986, a NASA "Blue Ribbon" Panel recommended the creation of a specialized unit to facilitate transitioning weather technology from laboratory to space shuttle operations.

In 1988, the National Research Council broadened the recommendation to include weather support for all space operations of the Eastern Range and Kennedy Space Center.

The AMU was established in 1991 under a tri-agency memorandum of understanding between NASA, the National Weather Service and the U.S. Air Force. The competitive contract was awarded to ENSCO, Inc.

In 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2012, the AMU contract was re-competed and awarded to ENSCO, Inc.

While the location of the AMU has remained unchanged since 1991, the systems have been modernized and upgraded along the way. The current AMU lab is outfitted with developmental systems similar to the operational systems used by our customers to include the Meteorological Interactive Data Display System (MIDDS), Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS), McIDAS-X, Four-Dimensional Lightning Surveillance System, GR2Analyst weather radar display and 45th Space Wing dual-polarization Doppler weather radar.

AMU lab area

AMU lab area in the Morrell Operations Center at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in 2012.



Awards & Recognitions

2010  
  - NASA Space Act Award for development of a lightning climatology for East-Central Florida airfields including the SLF.
  - NASA Group Achievement Award for significant improvement to weather support for the space program resulting in safer, less expensive, and more efficient launch, landing, and ground processing operations.
2007  
  - NASA Space Act Award for development of a graphical tool that determines the effect of clouds on the Shuttle Imaging System.
  - NASA Space Act Award for development of a graphical anvil forecast tool.
  - NASA Group Achievement Award for implementing an AMU IT System Security Plan under Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12.
2006  
  - National Weather Association Larry R. Johnson Special Award for the AMU's 15-year history of outstanding improvements to weather support for the space program.
  - Society of Women Engineers 2006 Space Coast Technical Achievement Award.
2005  
  - NASA Space Act Award for development of the contour error map algorithm for comparison of forecast model to observed data of sea breezes in the local area.
  - NASA KSC Launch Director's Award for the Return-to-Flight Shuttle Imaging Satellite Overlay, an operational tool developed to depict areas where clouds have a potential to obscure views of the Shuttle by ascent imaging cameras.
  - 45th Operations Group Quarterly Award (Jul-Sep 05) for the Return-to-Flight Shuttle Imaging Weather Team that developed a model to forecast the probability that at least three ascent imaging cameras will have a view of the Shuttle unobstructed by cloud.
  - 45th Operations Group Quarterly Award (Apr-Jun 05) for the Lightning Improvement Team that developed and implemented three new lightning decision aids leading up the space shuttle return-to-flight.
  - 45th Space Wing Quarterly Award (Jul-Sep 05) for the Return-to-Flight Shuttle Imaging Weather Team that developed a model to forecast the probability that at least three ascent imaging cameras will have a view of the Shuttle unobstructed by cloud.
  - NASA Space Act Award for development of a quality control algorithm for the network of five 915-MHz profilers on the Eastern Range.
  - 45th Operations Group Annual Award for Weather Support Improvement that included low temperature advisories, lightning support and space shuttle Return-to-Flight.
  - 45th Space Wing Team Excellence Annual Award for Weather Support Improvement that included low temperature advisories, lightning support and space shuttle Return-to-Flight.
2004  
  - NASA KSC Group Achievement Award for outstanding achievement in the preparation and implementation of Safety and Mission Success Week activities.
  - NASA KSC Group Achievement Award for the development of a wind tower climatology assessment tool for the 45th Space Wing.
  - NASA KSC Group Achievement Award for developing a quantitative method of assessing the impact of cloud cover for Shuttle Return-to-Flight operations.
2003  
  - NASA Space Act Awards for the configuration and implementation of a real-time high resolution weather analysis system to support Florida space operations.
2001  
  - NASA Space Act Awards for AMU research on upper air wind change characteristics and mesoscale model configuration and evaluation.
2000  
- KSC Center Director's Silver Dollar Award to two AMU Team members for support during the Airborne Field Mill Experiment.

Astronaut Silver Snoopy Award

The astronauts' personal award is the "Silver Snoopy Award".

1999  
  - Astronaut Silver Snoopy Award to AMU team member, Mr. Mark Wheeler, for his work in developing the MIDDS Menu System. The Silver Snoopy award is a special honor awarded to NASA employees and contractors for outstanding achievements related to human flight safety or mission success. Silver Snoopy awards are limited to no more than 1% of eligible recipients. The award is given personally by NASA astronauts as it represents the astronauts' own recognition of excellence.
1996  
  - NASA Space Act Award for AMU work on data reduction algorithm for Doppler radar wind profilers.
  - The AMU received national recognition from the Center of Excellence for Best Manufacturing Practices for its annual customer-based tasking and review processes.
1995  
  - KSC Small Business of the Year Award to the AMU contractor for the quality of its work.
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The AMU has operated continuously since October 1, 1991.

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