Expanded Airspace Restrictions Planned for Upcoming Space Shuttle

By SpaceRef Editor
January 13, 2003
Filed under ,
Expanded Airspace Restrictions Planned for Upcoming Space Shuttle

The launch of Space Shuttle Columbia on mission STS-107 is scheduled for
Thursday, Jan. 16. 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 Columbia, 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 expanded area will be activated on Thursday, Jan. 16 beginning at 1:40
a.m. EST and will remain in effect until 5:40 p.m. EST. However, the TFR is
expected to lifted earlier once it can be confirmed that Columbia is safely
on orbit and no return to launch site (RTLS) or abort once around (AOA) will
be necessary. Should the launch be scrubbed after the astronauts have
boarded Space Shuttle Columbia, the restrictions will remain in effect for
three hours after the postponement has been announced. The launch time will
be issued 24 hours in advance, but not later than 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan.

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.

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.

The necessity for and scope of these increased restrictions is reviewed
prior to each launch.

SpaceRef staff editor.