How does the space shuttle landing affect ATC in FL?
August 21, 2007 9:37 AM   Subscribe

How does the space shuttle landing affect air traffic control around Florida?

Checking the projected track of Endeavour's approach shows a lot of the approach cutting right up Florida. I know that for most of the run, it's way above the height of overflying commercial traffic, but it does eventually make its way down.

Is there an "alley" of restricted space that controllers just keep traffic away from the shuttle's track, or does the shuttle not even reach a low enough altitude to be a problem until it's in some restricted airspace (or something else)?
posted by Godbert to Travel & Transportation around Florida (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
They issue a NOTAM (Notice to airmen) temporarily restricting air traffic in the area. NOTAMs are quite common and require constant updating of air navigational charts
posted by cardboard at 9:44 AM on August 21, 2007

I would also assume that the FAA puts out a TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction) in advance to the landing.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 10:50 AM on August 21, 2007

This page has some info on altitude vs. distance, to give you a general sense:

59 miles from the runway, it's at 83,000 feet.
25 miles from the runway, it's at 49,000 feet.
8 miles from the runway, it's at 10,000 feet.
posted by smackfu at 11:00 AM on August 21, 2007

smackfu's reply should give you a hint that this thing is more a brick with a firecracker strapped to it than an orbiter. it more dives than glides to the ground.

the restrictions are pretty much the same as those over downtown LA when the dodgers play. no dice within a couple miles but that doesn't mean you can't get close enough for some spectacular shots.
posted by krautland at 3:02 PM on August 21, 2007

The restricted airspace 'cardboard' posted is used for both the shuttle landing and takeoffs... it's only in place temporarily and mostly affects non-commercial flights...

Commercial flights going Miami to New York or vice versa go over water east of the restricted airspace anyways and those over land go towards the middle of Florida...

I am actually an Assistant Air Traffic Controller, and the area I work in coincidentally is the area over the shuttle landing site... when the restricted airspace is in place it takes a big chunk out of the usable airspace in my area...

Unfortunately my day off was today, and I wasn't able to see the shuttle on the radar scope...
posted by MrBCID at 8:59 PM on August 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

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