NORAD and USNORTHCOM support Space Shuttle launch
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. -- North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command provide support to NASA and the shuttle program’s mission with distinctly different but important missions.
NORAD—the bi-national command responsible for air defense of the North American air space—is ensuring airspace safety and security for the STS-128 launch and landing and providing air patrols to enforce the FAA’s Temporary Flight Restriction zones over the space shuttle and along its flight path. NORAD support will consist of fighter planes and U.S. Coast Guard helicopters enforcing the TFR.
NORAD is also prepared to respond to any shuttle emergency by securing the airspace over necessary Launch Abort Sites should emergency landing be required.
The safety and security of North American airspace remains NORAD's prime mission. The command retains a robust air defense posture to maintain air sovereignty over the continental U.S., Alaska and Canada. Since Sept. 11, 2001, NORAD fighters have scrambled or diverted more than 2,100 times in response to air events, and NORAD aircraft have flown more than 53,000 sorties (refueling, Airborne Warning and Control System, etc.) in support of Operation Noble Eagle.
U.S. Northern Command is the lead U.S. Department of Defense organization responsible for military incident support to the space shuttle. Support includes astronaut search and rescue as well as orbiter salvage and recovery. USNORTHCOM, established in 2002 and fully operational Sept. 11, 2003, coordinates U.S. military efforts to assist the space shuttle astronauts in the event of an emergency.
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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.