Thunderstorm Warning Systems

NASA/Wallops Flight Facility Electric Field Measurement System

The Electric Field Measurement System at the NASA/GSFC/WFF is comprised of 8 electric field mill sensors and a central base station computer that provides command/control of the mills and receives the electric field data.

The mills are second generation units developed by Thunderstorm Technology to provide state of the art performance while operating in the severe marine environment on the eastern shore of Virginia. Electric fields are measured to +/- 32kv/m with a sensitivity of 1 v/m (16-bits) over a DC to 10Hz bandwidth. A patented self-calibration feature allows remote evaluation of mill performance. Each mill also includes an electric field change meter with a programmable transient digitizer that extends the electric field measurement bandwidth to 2 kHz. The monolithic welded tripod stand allows a mill to be removed as a unit to higher ground in the event of ocean surge flooding.

Launch Pad Lightning Warning System

An array of 31 Advanced Ground-Based Field Mills (AGBFM) comprise the LPLWS used to provide an early warning of the onset of cloud electrification at NASA/KSC and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) . The AGBFMs operate continuously year-round in the hostile marine environment of the south Florida coast and measure electric fields to +/- 32kv/m with a sensitivity of 4 v/m (14-bits) over a DC to 10Hz bandwidth. The inverted configuration preserves accuracy during intense rainshowers.