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HomeLaunch Control Officer

Launch Control Officer (LCO)

Primary Responsibility

Coordinate flight operations

Reports to

Range Safety Officer


Adult Tripoli or NAR Member in good standing

Job Description

Actual flight operations are coordinated by the Launch Control Officer (LCO), working with Launch Assist, a Spotter, the Model Rocket Area Manager, the High-Power Range Manager, and the Away Cell Manager. The LCO sets the tone of the flight operations, to make sure that launches are conducted in a safe, fun and efficient manner.

Supervise operation of the Launch Control System

Maintain control of access to the range
 - Make sure that spectators are not allowed on the range
 - Follow all Safety Rules governing who has access to the range

Double check that Launch Assist has selected the designated bank of pads and the correct pad before each rocket is launched.

Make sure that the sky is clear of aircraft and that rockets will not fly into a cloud.

Make sure that the range surrounding the designated bank of pads is clear for the minimum distance for a research launch.

Announce each flight. This includes:
 - Sharing of flight card information for each flight.
 - Five-second countdown announcement (this is in the safety code and cannot be shortened).

With assistance from a Spotter, maintain situational awareness of each flight so that any safety issues can be quickly communicated to all participants and spectators. If a Spotter is watching each rocket and can bring safety issues to the attention of the LCO immediately, it is not necessary for the LCO to watch the rocket or confirm that it is safe before beginning to announce the next rocket. However, if a Spotter or another participant identifies a safety issue, the LCO must immediately suspend any launch and alert participants to the safety issue. Further, the LCO should not launch before a Spotter is prepared to follow the next rocket. A safe but efficient launch cadence is developed by working closely with a Spotter.

Be judicious in identifying a flight as a “heads up” flight. If a rocket is so unstable as to require a “heads up” designation, have the High Power Range Manager move it far enough away from the flight line that the designation is not required.

It is inappropriate for children to be involved with launch operations in any manner.