Evaluation of infrasound signals from the shuttle Atlantis using a large seismic network

De Groot-Hedlin, CD, Hedlin MAH, Walker KT, Drob DP, Zumberge MA.  2008.  Evaluation of infrasound signals from the shuttle Atlantis using a large seismic network. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 124:1442-1451.

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atmosphere, concorde, middle, model, moving medium, propagation, ray, sonic-booms


Inclement weather in Florida forced the space shuttle "Atlantis" to land at Edwards Air Force Base in southern California on June 22, 2007, passing near three infrasound stations and several hundred seismic stations in northern Mexico, southern California, and Nevada. The high signal-to-noise ratio, broad receiver coverage, and Atlantis' positional information allow for the testing of infrasound propagation modeling capabilities through the atmosphere to regional distances. Shadow zones and arrival times are predicted by tracing rays that are launched at right angles to the conical shock front surrounding the shuttle through a standard climatological model as well as a global ground to space model. The predictions and observations compare favorably over much of the study area for both atmospheric specifications. To the east of the shuttle trajectory, there were no detections beyond the primary acoustic carpet. Infrasound energy was detected hundreds of kilometers to the west and northwest (NW) of the shuttle trajectory, consistent with the predictions of ducting due to the westward summer-time stratospheric jet. Both atmospheric models predict alternating regions of high and low ensonifications to the NW. However, infrasound energy was detected tens of kilometers beyond the predicted zones of ensonification, possibly due to uncertainties in stratospheric wind speeds. (C) 2008 Acoustical Society of America.