DoD Support to STS-114 (Discovery, LF1)

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs


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 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.

Launch Facts

STS-114 will be the 114th Shuttle mission and the 31st flight for Discovery. Launch will occur at Launch Pad 39B - Kennedy Space Center, Fla. The Return to Flight mission will take Shuttle Commander Eileen Collins and six crew members to the International Space Station. The mission is the first of two test flights to evaluate new thermal protection system inspection and repair techniques and to deliver supplies and equipment to the station.

Launch Window: NASA announced July 13 to 31 as the launch window for the Space Shuttle Discovery mission.
Launch Slip Opportunities: 24 or 48 hour scrub possible
Landing: Duration of the STS-114 mission is 12 days after launch

NORAD Launch Support

Six F-16s from the U.S. Air Force, enforcing FAA established TFR with center point being NASA KSC 39B

Launch Contingency Support

USNORTHCOM provides a variety of support throughout launch, on-orbit and landing. In cooperation with NASA and the DoD Manned Space Flight Support Office (DDMS), 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 Navy and Coast Guard ships are pre-positioned or on standby to quickly launch to conduct search and rescue operations. For STS-114, the following DOD and DHS assets are supporting the mission:

20 US Air Force Pararescue personnel (38th RQS, Moody Air Force Base, Ga.; 48th RQS, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.; 58th RQS, Nellis Air Force Base, NV)
1 US Air Force Reserve/US Air National Guard HC-130 (39th RQS (AFRC), Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.; and 1 Air National Guard HC-130 (102nd RQS, F.S. Gabreski Airport N.Y.)
4 US Air Force Reserve HH-60s (301st RQS, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.)
1 US Marine Corps KC-130 (VMGR 252, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C.)
1 US Navy Surface Combatant (USS Gettysburg (CG 64), Mayport, Fla.) (Capable of commanding and conducing search and rescue with embarked SH-60)
2 US Navy P-3s (Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine and NAS Jacksonville, Fla.)
2 US Navy E-2 Cs (at Patrick AFB, Fla., based at NAS Norfolk) VAW 121, NAS Norfolk, Va.
1 US Navy Combat Camera (Fleet Combat Camera Atlantic)

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 will also be in direct support to Commander, U.S. Northern Command.

Launch Abort Sites (LAS) and East Coast Launch Abort Landing Sites (ECALS)
Additionally U.S. military units at the following Shuttle Launch Abort Sites are on alert to support an emergency landing during the launch phase for STS-114. These bases lie near the intended flight path for STS-114:

Atlantic City International Airport, N.J.
Oceana Naval Air Station, Va.
Dover Air Force Base, Del.
Otis Air National Guard Base, Mass.
F. S. Gabreski Airport, N.Y.
Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H.
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C.

DOD Augmented/Emergency Landing Sites
If the shuttle experiences an on-orbit emergency and has to land immediately, NASA has established several civilian and military landing sites around the world. US military personnel at the following locations are prepared to support an emergency landing of the shuttle:

Augmented Sites: While the Primary Landing Site is Kennedy Space Center, Fla., alternate DoD Augmented Landing Sites Edwards AFB, Calif., and Holloman AFB 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.

Emergency Landing Sites: These locations are strategically located around the world in the flight path of STS-114. They have runways long enough for the shuttle and have compatible navigation aids. The following Emergency Landing Sites are located within the United States:

Atlantic City International Airport, N.J. (ECALS)
MCAS Cherry Point, N.C. (ECALS)
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
McDill Air Force Base, Fla.
China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station
Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho
Dover Air Force Base, Del. (ECALS)
Oceana Naval Air Station, Va. (ECALS)
Dyess Air Force Base, Texas
Otis Air National Guard Base, Mass. (ECALS)
Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D.
Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H. (ECALS)
Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska
Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calf.
F.S. Gabreski Airport, N.Y. (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

The shuttle is expected to return to Kennedy Space Center on or about 12 days after launch and DoD support will be provided from Patrick AFB, Fla., Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Kennedy Space Center, Fla. and USNORTHCOM Headquarters at Peterson AFB, Colo. However, alternate landing sites at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and Holloman AFB/White Sands Space Harbor, N.M., can be quickly readied to support a shuttle landing.

Additional USNORTHCOM Support

Joint Task Force-114 serves as the operational level focal point for situational understanding and crisis response to space shuttle mission contingencies. Additionally JTF-114 will work in concert with Deputy DoD Manager (DDoD Mgr), DDMS, 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 CDR USNORTHCOM’s role supporting CDR USSTRATCOM’s mission of Defense Support for Manned Space Flight Operations.

For additional information about DoD and/or USNORTHCOM support to STS-114, contact Mr. Michael Kucharek, Chief of Media Relations for NORAD and USNORTHCOM, at 719-330-5136.