56

Supplementary answer: Some of the confusion arises because there is also a geographic feature named Cape Canaveral. It's pretty much the green area shown in the other answer, east of the Banana River. On this geographic feature Cape Canaveral is built Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Today's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is built on Merritt Island. Even ...


49

According to History of the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center JSC wanted the water moat (located around the runway) since it would serve as a visual aid to identify the runway. It is also required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a retention pond for storm water runoff from the concrete runway, and provides a barrier ...


32

STS-3 landed at White Sands runway 17. In addition to Kennedy, Edwards, and White Sands, several sites were selected as targets for a transoceanic abort landing (TAL), but no launch ever had to perform such an abort. If something went bad during launch before the vehicle had enough energy to get to a TAL site, a mission might have had to do something even ...


30

Cape Canaveral is composed of two items, the Kennedy Space Center, run by NASA, and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Base, run by the Air Force. Because they are two very different organizations, the rules are quite different for each. See this map from Wikipedia to show the different locations. Note that Kennedy (NASA) owns launch pad 39a and b, while the rest ...


26

I too have wondered this in the past, and an official explanation has been completely lacking in my research! However, the closest I've found is the suggestion that it's for drainage. The following link of a podcast transcription states the following: Richard Merritt, a landing support manager with United Space Alliance, says Florida's marshy terrain is ...


24

The Space Shuttle didn't need a "specially reinforced" runway. If a runway could accept a 747 it could probably handle the shuttle. The shuttle's maximum landing weight is in the range of a large airliner (less than half that of a 747), so load is not a problem. The major issue would probably be length... the shuttle's high landing speed meant it needed a ...


18

Well, I must say a "hella". Only figures I can quote are for the sound suppression system: An elevated water tank near each pad provided sound buffering protection for the launching spacecraft. Part of the Sound Suppression Water System (SSWS), the 290-foot (88 m) water towers stored 300,000 gallons (1.1 Megalitres) of water, which was released just ...


13

While KSC does use a lot of water for a launch, as CodingDuckling's answer points out, I'd have to say that, for comparison purposes, the answer is "much less than a fish farm." According to USGS, as of the year 2000, the state of Idaho alone used 1,970,000,000 gallons of water per day for fish farming. By comparison, NASA's 300,000 gallons per launch isn't ...


13

I did research on wild hogs in the late 1970's. The shuttle runway was right down the middle of my study area. While building the runway, the hogs rooted the area up faster than they could build it. Fencing did not keep the hogs out as they rooted right under the fence. The solution... dig canals, fill the canals with gators to keep the hogs out of the ...


13

Currently unclear According to the Verge: It's possible that the [static fire] test could come early next week. But the Falcon Heavy’s launchpad is located at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, and limited staffing at the site could pose a problem. SpaceX told The Verge on Friday that the company is not expecting the shutdown to affect its operations. ...


12

In France, a French Air Force base with a 5 km long runaway is approved for Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL) but was never used. The runaway is the longuest one in europe and also used by French Army contractor as a test facility. Source : Wikipedia and being French


12

Based on this article, 39A is just concrete on top of sand. That does seem a little ridiculous though. The pumps piled up another portion of the dredged sand on the launch pad, creating a flat-topped pyramid of sand and shell 80 feet (24.4 meters) high. During the process, draglines, bulldozers and other earth-moving equipment molded the mound into the ...


11

Weight distribution would be be the main reason. The Shuttle stack (or Saturn V stack) empty, weighed an immense amount. Shuttle more so, since the SRB's were full during movement. (Can't fuel a solid rocket on the pad). The SRB's weighed 1.3 million pounds each ready for flight. That is really an immense amount, over a small area. The tracks of the ...


10

One of the best online launch manifests is the one complied by Spaceflight Now. It has planned launch dates all the way out to the 3rd quarter of 2017. Unfortunately, the only launches in February with definite dates are out of Kourou and Baikonur. You may get lucky with a SpaceX launch though. The SpaceX manifest is still in flux after the the AMOS-6 ...


9

Those are remnants of the Apollo program era when the Launch Complex 39 was built. They were used to transport large removable blast deflectors to the pad when the Saturn V and Saturn 1B launch vehicles were already transported there on the crawler-transporters.    Blast deflectors at the Complex 34 launch pad. Prior to a launch, one of the ...


9

Yes, some testing and all launches except for those critical to national security have to be postponed. By now, I’m sure you are well aware that a budget agreement was not reached last night resulting in a government-wide shutdown effective today. Many in our workforce recall the impacts of the 2013 shutdown, and now 5 years later, we find ourselves in ...


8

This is a Saturn V! Although from which mission I'm a bit uncertain of. Note however in the first two images, the photos have been stretched vertically by an incredible proportion, making the vehicle look preposterously tall. Given this episode was filmed in January 1968, this places some upper bounds on what specific vehicle we're seeing here. It's either: ...


8

Yes, there were several designated landing sites and abort landing sites both inside and outside the USA. Of these, only Kennedy, Edwards and White Sands were ever used (White Sands only once).


8

RAF Fairford was the only TransOceanic Abort Landing site in the UK. It was never used to land a shuttle, though. As far as I'm aware the American portion of the base is being shutdown, so this runway won't be available in the future.


7

Shuttles landed on the lakebed runways at Edwards many times, which had no concrete at all, just markings painted on the desert floor. These runways are separate from the concrete and asphalt runways also located at Edwards (also used by the Shuttles). The dry lakebed is located at the upper left of the 2nd picture.


7

There's a lot of background on VAB design in Moonport. Your "optimistic future" is pretty much spot on - the original projection was for 36 flights a year! An early VAB design to support this had six high bays. (six-bay design with barge instead of crawler) After the annual flight rate prediction was reduced to 24, the design was changed to only have ...


6

The Kennedy Space Center Story, written by NASA in June 1970, NTRS document 19710024295, p. 29 describes the options that were considered, and the reason for the final choice: The scheme by which to transport launchers and assembled Saturn V vehicles was carefully explored by NASA engineers. A barge canal system was investigated. Models were tested in the ...


6

Some research I've done on the web has turned up some interesting theories, but no official explanation. The theories that I think are most likely are: Dirt was needed to level the runway and was taken from the immediate vicinity Drainage (per berry120's answer) A couple other ideas include: Catching debris that might blow onto the runway Water supply in ...


6

From the KSC Rocket Garden website, a $75 ticket gets you access to the KSC Visitor Complex. More expensive tickets get you closer (down to about 4 km). Where: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, approximately 7.5 miles/ 12 kilometers with rocket visible shortly after lift off 12 km is very far away, the rocket will be a speck on the horizon, ...


6

What is it (today)? Nothing. What was it? Edit: Changed my mind and decided that as you mention in the question, this was a Unified S-Band station. This was an Apollo-unique communications system. What we knew in Shuttle as the MILA tracking station is located in this spot on the map. The Wikipedia article on MILA states that it had Two 30-foot (9.1 ...


5

Columbia actually landed at White Sands Space Harbor in 1982. See http://www.airfields-freeman.com/NM/WhiteSands_NM_82_Shuttle.jpg for a picture of the landing.


5

I was stationed at NAS Keflavik, Iceland in 1994. I remember reading in one of my "welcome aboard" pamphlets that runway 11 was a designated alternate or emergency landing strip for the STS. I vaguely remember something about it being highly unlikely because the STS would have to be in a polar orbit versus an equatorial. I will try to dig through old ...


5

Yes you can. I don't want to link the picture here directly because of license you can see what a STS (Space Shuttle) launch looks like from Miami: http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/6433.html Yes, the rockets are different, yes the trajectory is different (No it does not go north east as you said, but south east towards the equator), but this is not enough ...


5

I can see them from the opposite side of Florida with the naked eye given correct atmospheric conditions. So it is possible to have a LoS of about the entire state of Florida, probably further if you are in an open area.


4

Yes, it will. SpaceX will be unable to test fire its three-core Falcon Heavy rocket at Kennedy Space Center because of the government shutdown, further delaying checkout operations ahead of the rocket's demonstration flight, the 45th Space Wing said Sunday.


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