DOD Support to manned space operations for STS-127
July 09, 2009
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.
The Space Transportation System (STS) -127 is going to deliver the final components of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kibo laboratory to the International Space Station. The mission will also include five spacewalks and the installation of platforms outside the Japanese module. STS-127 is the 127th space shuttle flight, the 29th to the international space station, the 23rd for Endeavor overall and the third of 2009.
Launch Window: NASA announced 7:39 p.m. July 11 as the planned launch date for STS-127.
NORAD Launch Support
Launch Contingency Support
USNORTHCOM provides Joint Task Force-Space Transportation System, responsible for search and rescue of the astronauts and recovery of the orbiter throughout launch, on-orbit and landing. In cooperation with NASA, U.S. Strategic Command and Detachment 3, 45th Operations Group at Patrick AFB, Fla., JTF-STS has developed plans to locate and retrieve the astronauts if they have a launch emergency and are forced to bailout of the shuttle, or have to return for landing. Numerous Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard aircraft and Coast Guard ships are pre-positioned or on standby to quickly conduct search and rescue operations. For STS-127, the following Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security assets are supporting the mission:
Launch Abort Sites (LAS) and East Coast Launch Abort Landing Sites (ECALS)
DOD Augmented/Emergency Landing Sites
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.
Atlantic City International Airport, N.J. (ECALS) MCAS Cherry Point, N.C. (ECALS)
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.
Alternate Landing Sites
Additional USNORTHCOM Support
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 USNORTHCOM’s role supporting USSTRATCOM’s mission of Defense Support for Manned Space Flight Operations.
For additional information about AFNORTH support to STS-127, contact Mary McHale (321-853-8140), Lt. Cmdr. Gary Ross (719-492-2898), or contact the KSC Media Center, 321-853-2181.