NSSL1

(National Severe Storms Laboratory mobile intercept vehicle 1)


NSSL1 was the first of several large mobile laboratories (NSSL2, NSSL3 and so forth), liberally festooned with many kinds of sensing equipment and antennae, that have been used in field experiments at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in the 1980s and 1990s. After nearly 2 decades of operation, NSSL1 is still ready to roll for the next field program, having already participated in (and refurbished for) such projects as the Sound Chase (1981), 1982-1986 NSSL Spring Programs, COHMEX (1986), Doplight-87, NEXRAD IOT&E2 (1989), SW.A.M.P. (1990-96 off and on) and V.O.R.T.EX. (1994-95).

NSSL1 has been the platform for hundreds of M-CLASS balloon sounding launches in its lifetime. Specially shielded black-and-white video cameras mounted on top have taken some classic intercept footage, including the infamous 17 May 81 "Tornado passing right in front of us!" scene. It has always carried tens of thousands of dollars in computers, radios and other electronics, custom-installed to fit the needs of each experiment. During the NSSL Spring Programs, it was also extensively used for lightning and storm electricity studies, being fitted with electric-field sensors.

Here is a passage from the Operations Plan of project V.O.R.T.EX. that illustrates a major concern of all those who passed through NSSL1's doors through the decades:

Brian "bc" Curran, who drove NSSL1 on many occasions in the early/mid '80s and had a few close encounters of the St. Elmo's kind, types:

Some of bc's fondest NSSL1 experiences:


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