Kennedy News

George Diller
NASA Kennedy Space Center
Jan. 13, 2003
RELEASE : 7-03
Expanded Airspace Restrictions Planned For Jan. 16 Space Shuttle Launch
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 extends beyond the Cape Canaveral restricted areas. 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 be 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. 15.

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.


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