Press Release

Airspace, Bridges, and Waterway Restrictions in Effect for all Space Shuttle Launches

By SpaceRef Editor
July 23, 2005
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Airspace, Bridges, and Waterway Restrictions in Effect for all Space Shuttle Launches

For the STS-114 launch of Space Shuttle Discovery, NASA managers urge all aircraft pilots and boaters to comply fully with the airspace, bridges and waterway restrictions imposed around KSC prior to and during Space Shuttle launches and landings.

“As always, we are coordinating with officials from the Eastern Range and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to help provide a safe launch environment for the Shuttle crew and for interested spectators. Violating these restrictions is not only unsafe for the astronauts and support crews, it’s unsafe for the violator,” said KSC Launch Director Mike Leinbach.

Space Shuttle Discovery’s next launch opportunity is on Tuesday, July 26 at 10:39 a.m. and the launch window extends for five minutes. At NASA’s request, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard surveillance aircraft will patrol KSC’s airspace boundaries on launch day. Violators will be intercepted by patrol forces, thoroughly investigated and will be subject to FAA enforcement action. A number of restrictions remain in effect around the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) during the hours immediately following the launch of a Space Shuttle.

Listed and described below are restrictions that apply to pilots, motor vehicle operators and boaters utilizing airspace, bridges and waterways that lead to KSC.


For the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-114, all restricted areas surrounding the Kennedy Space Center will be active and the area covered by flight restrictions has once again been expanded for this launch. The length of time the restrictions will be in effect prior to launch has also been extended.

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 that the launch can occur on time and without incident.

The restricted areas for the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station are in effect on a continuous basis and are limited to official aircraft only, off-limits to general aviation pilots. The restricted air space extends from the surface to but not including 14,000 feet and 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 3 miles over the Atlantic Ocean to the east.

On launch day these restricted areas will be expanded and will be activated beginning at launch minus 9 hours. On Tuesday, July 26 the TFR will be activated at 1:33 a.m. EDT and will remain in effect until 1:44 p.m. EDT. Should the launch be postponed 24 hours the restriction is in effect from 1:11 a.m. EDT until 1:22 p.m. EDT.

FAA Part 91, Part 125, general aviation and VFR operations are prohibited within a 30 nautical mile radius of Launch Pad 39-A from the surface to but not including 18,000 feet (located on the Melbourne VOR/DME 004-degree radial at 30 nautical miles). Among the general aviation airports affected within this area are Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, Arthur Dunn Airpark in Titusville, Merritt Island Airport in Merritt Island, Rockledge Airpark in Rockledge and Massey Ranch in Edgewater.

Within an airspace radius between 30 and 40 nautical miles of Pad 39-A, a discrete transponder code must be obtained and clearance granted from air traffic control before entering this airspace. Continuous radio communications must be maintained.

Before flight, pilots should contact the 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 Daytona Beach Approach control on 134.95. In the Melbourne area contact Daytona Approach on 132.65, or in the New Smyrna Beach area 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.

Among the airports affected within the 30-40 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 and Spruce Creek airports, Melbourne International Airport and Valkaria. Pilots are encouraged to consult the most recent FAA aeronautical chart for Orlando Class B air space.


The Cape Canaveral National Seashore and Playalinda Beach will close at 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 23 and will reopen the day after launch. The Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge will close at 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 23 and reopen two hours after 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:

* Canaveral Harbor Barge Canal (SR 401, south of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Gate 1);

* Indian River Causeway West or NASA Causeway (Intracoastal Waterway at Addison Point);

* 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 launch time will result in an approximate time of openings.

Bridges will remain closed to boat traffic until 90 minutes after lift-off (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 (T+180 minutes) after launch.

Should the Shuttle be required to perform a Return-to-Launch-Site (RTLS) landing at KSC, all bridges would remain closed to boat traffic from 45 minutes before landing until at least one hour after landing.


Waterways and boating near the Kennedy Space Center will be strictly controlled prior to and during the launch of the Space Shuttle.

Safety and security requirements, including U.S. 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 noon on Sunday, July 10 through the 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 Shuttle.

MOSQUITO LAGOON: This area south of the Haulover Canal in the Mosquito Lagoon is off limits to all boats beginning the day before launch.

INDIAN RIVER: Restrictions apply from the NASA Causeway north to the Haulover Canal and east of the Indian River’s main channel. Restrictions begin at noon on Sunday, July 10.

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 roughly 16 hours prior to launch.

All boating restrictions will be lifted approximately one hour after launch.

Boating interests should monitor U.S. Coast Guard Channel 16 broadcasting from Port Canaveral. The U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and KSC security forces share responsibility for enforcing the boating guidelines.


Space Commerce Way which connects State Road 3 with State Road 405 (NASA Causeway) will be closed on launch day, July 26 beginning at 4 a.m. It will reopen two hours after launch. The closure is necessary due to the expected high volume of traffic on these highways.

SpaceRef staff editor.