DOD Support to manned space operations for STS-126
U.S. Northern Command is the focal point for military emergency support to the Space Shuttle. Support includes astronaut rescue and recovery and orbiter recovery. USNORTHCOM, established in 2002 and fully operational Sept. 11, 2003, coordinates U.S. military support for the Department of Defense efforts to assist the Space Shuttle astronauts in the event of an emergency. All information on DOD units and NORAD contained in this release is subject to change.
|Atlantic City International Airport, N.J.
Dover Air Force Base, Del.
F. S. Gabreski Airport, N.Y.
| Oceana Naval Air Station, Va.
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C.
Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H.
If the shuttle experiences an on-orbit emergency and has to land immediately, NASA has established several civilian and military landing sites around the world. US military personnel at the following locations are prepared to support an emergency landing of the shuttle:
Augmented Sites: While the Primary Landing Site is Kennedy Space Center, Fla., alternate DOD Augmented Landing Sites Edwards AFB, Calif., and White Sands Space Harbor, N.M., can be quickly readied to support a shuttle landing with an on-scene commander, fire/crash/rescue forces, and medical evacuation capabilities.
Emergency Landing Sites: These locations are strategically located around the world in the flight path of STS-126. They have runways long enough for the shuttle and have compatible navigation aids. The following Emergency Landing Sites are located within the United States:
Atlantic City International Airport, N.J. (ECALS) MCAS Cherry Point, N.C. (ECALS)
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.
China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, Calif. Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho
Dover Air Force Base, Del. (ECALS) Oceana Naval Air Station, Va. (ECALS)
Dyess Air Force Base, Texas Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D.
Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H. (ECALS) Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska
Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. F.S. Gabreski Airport, N.Y. (ECALS)
White Sands Space Harbor, N.M. Kennedy Space Center
Edwards AFB, Calif.
The emergency recovery sites only have the minimum number of people needed to assist the astronauts, and will respond to a shuttle landing as they would for any large aircraft emergency landing.
The shuttle is expected to return to Kennedy Space Center on or about 16 days after launch and DOD support will be provided from Patrick AFB, Fla., Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Kennedy Space Center, Fla. and USNORTHCOM Headquarters at Peterson AFB, Colo. However, alternate landing sites at Edwards AFB, Calif., and Holloman AFB/White Sands Space Harbor, N.M., can be quickly readied to support a shuttle landing.
Air Forces Northern serves as the operational level focal point for situational understanding and crisis response to space shuttle mission contingencies. Additionally, AFNORTH will work in concert with Deputy DOD Manager, DOD Manned Space Flight Support Office, Joint Forces Land Component Commander, Joint Forces Maritime Component Commander, Joint Forces Air Component Commander and the United States Coast Guard, as necessary, to execute CDR USNORTHCOM’s role supporting the Commander of USSTRATCOM’s mission of Defense Support for Manned Space Flight Operations.
For additional information about AFNORTH support to STS-126, contact 1st Lt. Jared Scott (850-819-2936), Master Sgt Jerry Harlan (850-774-4061), or contact the KSC Media Center, 321-853-2181.