ATC & The Space Shuttle

Wed Mar 14, 2001 5:16 pm

Can somebody please 'splain to me, how the Space Shuttle and ATC interact, or fail to interact when the orbiter is landing or blasting off??? Who has priority over airspace? NASA or the FAA? Thank you.
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RE: ATC & The Space Shuttle

Wed Mar 14, 2001 10:32 pm

The airspace surrounding cape canaveral is turned into a restricted area when the shuttle is departing....and the airspace around the place where it will be landing is also restricted.
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RE: ATC & The Space Shuttle

Wed Mar 14, 2001 11:36 pm

I wonder how much airspace they have to clear for the landings, since the shuttle has so little maneuverability after the fuel is gone.
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RE: ATC & The Space Shuttle

Thu Mar 15, 2001 2:44 am

The restricted area is probably HUGE.

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RE: ATC & The Space Shuttle

Thu Mar 15, 2001 7:07 am

I would believe NASA has precedence over FAA. The prez has precedence over all, then military VIPs, then the space shuttle. The landing order is Cape Canaveral, Edwards in California, and then some site in New Mexico. If all those sites are taken, I wonder if they would land it at JFK with their 14500 ft runway.

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RE: ATC & The Space Shuttle

Thu Mar 15, 2001 7:33 am

The landing site in New Mexico is White Sands, where the shuttle landed once in the early 80s.
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RE: ATC & The Space Shuttle

Thu Mar 15, 2001 7:43 am

Well actually, you were right when you said that the area becomes restricted...however, it the changes don't have a very big impact on the normal air operations in central Florida. I fly out of Daytona Beach, and frankly, not to much changes during shuttle operations. A NOTAM (notice to airman) is issued, which tells pilots about the launch. An area, about twenty five square miles on the coast is closed from the surface to unlimited. Most of the restricted airspace is actually out to sea, and is about 3/5 the size of Orlando's class B (this area is closed three hours before launch. Flights along the coast have to deviate, and flights departing and arriving in Orlando use different routes, but its not really a problem since the whole thing is over so quick.

The shuttle doesn't require a huge area when it is landing because it approaches at an angle about 15 times greater than a commercial airplane.

On another note....there is NOTHING like seeing the shuttle launch from an airplane only a few miles away.