This maybe be helpful for any photographers heading over to KSC to catch the spectacular NIGHT launch coming up..perhaps the last such event!
LAUNCH COUNTDOWN BEGINS DEC. 4 FOR SPACE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY
NASA will begin the countdown for Space Shuttle Discovery's STS-116
mission at 11 p.m. EST Monday, Dec. 4, at the T-43 hour point. During
this mission, Discovery's crew will rewire the International Space
Station, bringing electrical power on line from solar arrays launched
earlier this year.
The Kennedy Space Center, Florida, launch team will conduct the
countdown from Firing Room 4 of the Launch Control Center. The
countdown includes 27 hours, 36 minutes of built-in hold time leading
to a preferred launch time at 9:35 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 7. The
launch window extends an additional five minutes.
AIRSPACE, BRIDGES AND WATERWAY RESTRICTIONS IN EFFECT FOR STS-116
For the STS-116 launch of Space Shuttle Discovery, NASA managers are
urging all aircraft pilots and boaters to fully comply with the
airspace, bridges and waterway restrictions imposed around Kennedy
Space Center prior to and during shuttle launches and landings.
"As always, we are coordinating with officials from the U.S. Air Force
Eastern Range, Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Coast
Guard to help provide a safe launch environment for the shuttle crew
and for interested spectators," said KSC Launch Director Mike
Leinbach. "Violating these restrictions is not only unsafe for the
astronauts and support crews, it's unsafe for the violator."
The first launch opportunity is Thursday, Dec. 7, with liftoff
targeted for 9:35 p.m. EST. This launch time is approximately in the
middle of a 10-minute launch window. At NASA's request, Air Force and
Coast Guard surveillance aircraft will patrol KSC's airspace
boundaries on launch day. Violators will be intercepted by patrol
forces, thoroughly investigated and subject to FAA enforcement
action. A number of restrictions remain in effect around KSC during
the hours immediately following the launch of a space shuttle.
The following are restrictions that apply to pilots, boaters and motor
vehicle operators using the airspace, waterways, or roads and bridges
that lead to KSC.
KSC AREA AVIATION RESTRICTIONS
For the launch of Discovery on mission STS-116, all restricted areas
surrounding KSC will be active and the area covered by flight
restrictions has once again been expanded for this launch.
Due to international terrorist activities, heightened security is
essential to protect the space shuttle as a national asset. An
inadvertent unauthorized incursion into the area of the Cape
Canaveral Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) could cause a scrub in
the launch of Discovery, the activation of airspace defenses and an
FAA enforcement action. Local pilots are asked to help NASA by
respecting these temporary but necessary restrictions so the launch
can occur on time and without incident.
The Eastern Range restricted airspace for KSC and Cape Canaveral Air
Force Station is in effect on a continuous basis and is off limits to
general aviation pilots. Access is limited to official aircraft only.
The restricted airspace normally covers the area bounded by the
Indian River to the west, Port Canaveral to the south, the city of
Oak Hill to the north, and three miles over the Atlantic Ocean to the
east. Pilots are encouraged to consult the current FAA aeronautical
chart for Orlando Class B airspace.
On launch day, these restricted areas will be expanded by the TFR and
will be activated seven hours before the launch window opens. It will
continue in effect until 30 minutes after launch, after which the
standard restricted areas for KSC and Cape Canaveral Air Force
Station will be in effect. On Thursday, Dec. 7, the TFR will be
activated at 2:30 p.m. EST. The launch is targeted to occur at 9:35
p.m. EST. If the launch is scrubbed, pilots should check NOTAMS for
the hours the TFR will be in effect for the next launch attempt.
General aviation and VFR operations are prohibited within a
30-nautical-mile radius of Launch Pad 39-B from the surface to (but
not including) 18,000 feet (located on the Melbourne VOR/DME
004-degree radial at 30.6 nautical miles). Among the public-use
general aviation airports affected within this area are Space Coast
Regional Airport in Titusville, Arthur Dunn Airpark in Titusville,
Merritt Island Airport on Merritt Island and Massey Ranch in
Within an airspace radius between 30 and 40 nautical miles of Pad
39-B, a discrete transponder code must be obtained and clearance
granted from air traffic control before entering this airspace.
Continuous radio communications must be maintained.
Among the public-use airports affected within the 30- to
40-nautical-mile radius in which flight is permitted but under
positive air traffic control are Orlando International Airport,
Orlando Executive Airport, Orlando-Sanford International Airport, the
New Smyrna Beach Municipal Airport, Melbourne International Airport
and Valkaria airport.
Before flight, pilots should contact the St. Petersburg FAA Flight
Service Station at 1-800/WxBrief (1-800/992-7433) for details of the
restrictions contained in the NOTAMS. In flight, outside Orlando
Class B airspace, pilots should contact Orlando Approach control on
134.95. In the Melbourne area, contact Orlando Approach control on
132.65. In southern Volusia County, contact Orlando Approach control
on 125.35. Flight Service can also be reached locally by radio on the
Titusville RCO at 123.6 or the Melbourne RCO on 122.6. Advisories
will also be available from the control tower at Space Coast Regional
Airport in Titusville at 118.9 megahertz.
Between L-7 hours and L-3 hours, (2:30 to 6:30 p.m.) pilots will be
permitted to depart and return to the airports managed by the
Titusville-Cocoa Airport Authority. These include Space Coast
Regional Airport, Arthur Dunn Air Park and Merritt Island Airport.
After L-3 hours, no aircraft departures or landings at these airports
will be permitted.
At Space Coast Regional Airport, pilots should contact ground control
at 121.850 megahertz for departure and air traffic control
instructions. At Arthur Dunn Air Park and Merritt Island Airport,
pilots should telephone Orlando Approach Control at 407-825-3398.
Departure instructions, radio frequency to be used and discrete
transponder code will be provided.
Before planning a departure from these three local airports during
this four hour window, it is important that pilots read the NOTAM.
After departure, pilots must maintain continuous radio communications,
squawking the assigned transponder code at all times while within the
TFR airspace. Remain vigilant for the possibility of fighter aircraft
within the TFR. In the event of radio failure, pilots should squawk
7600 and depart the TFR on a heading away from the NASA restricted
BRIDGES AND ACCESS HIGHWAYS CONTROLLED FOR LAUNCH
The opening and closing of bridges over waterways surrounding KSC will
be strictly controlled during the hours immediately before and after
the launch period for each space shuttle mission.
Bridges affected by the launch include:
* Port Canaveral Barge Canal (State Road 401);
* Indian River/NASA Causeway West (Intracoastal Waterway);
* Merritt Island Barge Canal (Merritt Island State Road 3);
* Haulover Canal Bridge (State Road 3, north of KSC).
Restraints on bridge openings for boat traffic begin three hours
before launch. The bridges may be opened for five minutes at the
following points in the launch countdown: T-180 minutes, T-150
minutes, T-120 minutes, T-90 minutes and T-65 minutes. Adding 20
minutes to these times and subtracting that amount from the opening
of the launch window (9:30 p.m.) will result in an approximate time
Bridges will remain closed to boat traffic until 90 minutes after
liftoff (T+90). They may then open for five minutes at T+90, T+120
minutes and T+150 minutes. Bridge operations will return to normal
three hours after launch (T+180 minutes).
Should the shuttle be required to perform a return-to-launch-site
landing at KSC, all bridges would remain closed to boat traffic from
45 minutes before landing until at least one hour after landing.
State Road 3 from the Gate 2 Pass and Identification Building to State
Road 405 (NASA Causeway) via Space Commerce Way will be closed on
launch day, Dec. 7, beginning at 3 p.m. NASA Causeway between the KSC
Visitor Complex and the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame will also be
closed starting at that time. Only badged employees and guests with
passes will be permitted access. These roads will reopen
approximately two hours after launch.
On the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, State Road 406 and County Road
402 leading to Titusville as well as State Road 3 south of the
Haulover Canal bridge will close at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 3, and
reopen approximately two hours after launch.
KSC AREA BOATING RESTRICTIONS
Waterways and boating near KSC will be strictly controlled prior to
and during the launch of Discovery on STS-116.
Safety and security requirements, including Air Force range safety
impact limit lines, will go into effect as early as three days before
launch. Other requirements will be phased into effect through sunset
the night before launch. A general description of the area follows:
ATLANTIC OCEAN: Beginning on L-3 days (Monday, Dec. 4, at 8 a.m.) and
continuing through launch, a general exclusion zone will be in effect
three miles offshore from the Haulover Canal, near the north end of
KSC, and southward to Port Canaveral. Four hours prior to launch, all
ocean-going traffic will be restricted from entering an area measured
from nine miles north and south of the launch pad and extending 64
miles east into the ocean. An additional three-mile-wide exclusion
zone will be extended eastward along the flight path of the space
INDIAN RIVER: Restrictions apply from the NASA Causeway north to the
Haulover Canal and east of the Indian River's main channel.
Restrictions begin on L-3 days (Monday, Dec. 4).
MOSQUITO LAGOON: This area south of the Haulover Canal in the Mosquito
Lagoon is off limits to all boats beginning on L-1 day (Wednesday,
BANANA RIVER: Security limits begin at the Banana River Barge Canal
south of KSC at the State Road 528 crossing and extend north. This
restriction is effective 16 hours prior to launch (Thursday, Dec. 7,
at 5:30 a.m.).
All boating restrictions will be lifted approximately one hour after
launch. Boating interests should monitor Coast Guard Channel 16
broadcasting from Port Canaveral. The Coast Guard, the Fish and
Wildlife Service, and KSC security forces share responsibility for
enforcing the boating guidelines.