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How Honeywell’s HALAS Improves Space Launch Weather Forecasting

How Honeywell’s HALAS Improves Space Launch Weather Forecasting

How Honeywell’s HALAS Improves Space Launch Weather Forecasting

Weather balloons may seem old fashioned, but they’re still a major source of weather information used by NASA, the US Space Force and commercial space companies to make “go/no go” decisions at launch time. Weather balloons measure only at their current location, so data can be up to two hours old and a great distance away from the launch site. With the number of space launches and launch providers increasing, it is critical to have up-to-the-minute weather data to enable rapid decision making.

Honeywell is accelerating the process with our advanced High Altitude LiDAR Atmospheric Sensing (HALAS) technology. It enables more accurate measurement of atmospheric density, temperature, humidity, and wind speed and direction.

How It Works

The portable and remotely operated HALAS system uses laser pulses to measure the atmosphere over a targeted area, such as a launch trajectory, providing more accurate readings than weather balloons at altitudes exceeding 100,000 feet.

Compare that to weather balloons, that when released, only capture a single measurement per launch. This means to collect additional data; you must launch an additional balloon. With HALAS, the service continuously gathers atmospheric profiles, giving operators a more precise picture and reducing incremental costs. The system is also more environmentally friendly than weather balloons, which are often not reclaimed or reused after falling back to Earth.

The Price of Delays

Last-minute weather delays cost millions of dollars per scrubbed launch, not to mention the incremental costs associated with a second attempt. The frequency of space launches is increasing, which makes accurate, timely weather information more critical than ever. By adopting HALAS, government agencies and commercial launch companies can increase the number of launches per year and reduce last-minute delays and cancelations.

HALAS is poised to transform the way weather data is gathered by the space-launch community and will be available later this year.

For more information visit the HALAS webpage or contact your Honeywell representative.  

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