DOD Support to manned space operations for STS-119
March 13, 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) -119 will deliver the final set of solar arrays to the International Space Station. The mission will also repair solar array panels, ensuring the station can generate the power those extra crew members will require. STS-119 is the 125th space shuttle flight and the 26th flight for Discovery.
Launch Window: NASA announced March 11 as the planned launch date for STS-119.
NORAD Launch Support
Launch Contingency Support
USNORTHCOM provides a variety of support throughout launch, on-orbit and landing. In cooperation with NASA, U.S. Strategic Command and Detachment 3, 45th Operations Group at Patrick AFB, Fla., USNORTHCOM has developed plans to locate and retrieve the astronauts if they have a pad or launch emergency, 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 launch to conduct search and rescue operations. For STS-119, the following Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security assets are supporting the mission:
29 U.S. Air Force/Air National Guard Pararescuemen (38th Rescue Squadron at Moody AFB, Ga.; 48 RQS at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ; 58 RQS at Nellis AFB, Nev.)
The United States Navy’s Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Center at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., and Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Center and Naval Air Station Norfolk, Va., and the United States Air Force’s Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall AFB, Fla., will also be in direct support to Commander of U.S. Northern Command.
Launch Abort Sites (LAS) and East Coast Launch Abort Landing Sites (ECALS)
Atlantic City International Airport, N.J. Oceana Naval Air Station, Va.
F. S. Gabreski Airport, N.Y. Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H.
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)
Alternate Landing Sites
Additional USNORTHCOM Support
For additional information about AFNORTH support to STS-119, contact 1st Lt. Jared Scott (850-819-2936) or contact the KSC Media Center, 321-853-2181.
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