Space Shuttle Pilot Training

    White Sands Space Harbor (WSSH) is scheduled for use nearly every week for Space Shuttle pilots to practice approach and landing maneuvers in the STA.

    Pilot Training


    The STA is a Gulfstream II aircraft that has been highly modified to simulate the flight characteristics and instrumentation of the Space Shuttle from high altitudes to touchdown. Approximately 75 percent of all Space Shuttle training flights are conducted at WSSH. WSSH is in operation normally two shifts a day.

    For each Space Shuttle mission, WSSH is prepared to accept an orbiter landing for an in-flight emergency or as a weather contingency alternate to the primary landing sites at Kennedy Space Center and Edwards Air Force Base.

    Pilot Training


    Minimal convoy equipment is kept at WSSH to unload the crew and recover the Space Shuttle to the deservice pad after landing.

    Pilot Training


    Holloman Air Force Base provides a significant contingent of resources supplementing the recovery convoy.

    Pilot Training

    Rented mobile cranes will be used for mating operations with the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft in the event of a landing.

    Pilot Training


    Operations at WSSH are staffed by WSTF contractor employees and Air Force crash and rescue personnel. Support includes maintenance of the airfield; ground traffic control; air traffic surveillance; and operation of visual landing aids, electronic navigational aids, night landing aids, and communications equipment.

    Pilot Training

    For additional information about White Sands Space Harbor, contact Robert Mitchell, (575) 524-5774, or robert.e.mitchell@nasa.gov.

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