NGLLC 09: Armadillo - Weather Update

Updated at 1:26pm local -- see below.
It’s gray and overcast (see below) as of 8:05am local time here in Greenville, TX, just a few miles away from the Caddo Mills airport. Today’s forecast calls for rain, but it’s unclear of when that rain will come during the day. Armadillo can fly in fully overcast skies—something which is actually historically rare for rockets, and which would represent a first-in-class milestone for this type of rocketry—but will call off operations for anything more than light rain, and will absolutely suspend operations in case of lightning. Some key notes:

  • All we need is a ~2 hr window that has no/low rain and zero lightning. That window could start anywhere between ~11am and ~5pm local time.
  • The Judges have informed Armadillo that they will issue weather related “pauses” in the official time clock.
  • Should Armadillo start a time window and then need to hold prior to the first flight, Armadillo has requested that they be able to just start the window over after the weather clears. Judges have agreed.
  • Should weather flare up between the first flight (flat pad --> lunar pad) and the return flight (lunar pad --> flat pad), the Judges will issue a ‘pause,’ Armadillo will safe the vehicle, and we’ll all head for cover. In the event of really serious weather, the vehicle will either be covered with a tarp, or the exact location of the vehicle will be marked, and the vehicle removed to the team’s hangar here at Caddo Mills. After the weather passes, the vehicle will be returned to its previous position and condition, and the clock resumed.
  • Should weather take a turn for the worse after the return flight, Armadillo will continue to work through rain, but would need a ‘pause’ in the event of lightning.
  • Rain clouds tend to generate over a nearby body of water, rather than blowing in from a distance. This makes their arrival a bit difficult to predict. Armadillo and X PRIZE personnel will be monitoring the weather radar constantly.
  • Tomorrow's forecast is quite similar to today's.
  • For reference, yesterday’s weather forecast was essentially identical to today’s—and there were multiple 2+ hrs windows during the day that would have been acceptable from a weather perspective.

The spirits of the team are quite high. Everyone is very focused and very motivated. It should be a great day. We’ll continue to provide updates as often as possible, including photos, et cetera, delivered via the @NGLLC09 twitter account.

From 09 NGLLC
Local weather as of 8:05am local time.

UpdateAs of 1:25pm local, we're still waiting for a break in the rain clouds. Following the radar, it looks like something may be coming up soon. In the meantime, we've all had our safety briefings, and Armadillo has worked out some new strategies for maneuvering their vehicles (crane trucks, trailers, etc) in the mud.

There are about 100 spectators here, including: @NGLLC09, @Pomerantz, @PeterDiamandis, @NASAPrize, @Jeff_foust, @n5ac, @matt_isakowitz, and many others.

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