Physical Assets - Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF)
Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF)
NASA’s Space Shuttle runway at the Kennedy Space Center is a unique national asset designed specifically to enable the recovery of NASA’s fleet of Space Shuttle orbiters. With the Space Shuttle Program now scheduled for retirement, KSC has been seeking opportunities to expand this capability to support the horizontal launch and recovery of air and new space transportation systems, both government and commercial, as they emerge. These may include Reusable Launch Vehicles under development by private companies seeking to enter the commercial cargo and crew spaceflight industry. The SLF may also support future fly-back elements of vertically-launched vehicles, or the re-entry of spacecraft from low Earth orbit.
In addition, the SLF offers the unique characteristics of a very long runway, restricted airspace and limited flight activity, and a location remote from populated areas but well serviced by utilities, support infrastructure and emergency services. These characteristics are well suited to enable specialized aviation and other technical uses that are compatible with ongoing NASA operations and that support NASA’s mission.
Since 2005, NASA has been actively exploring the potential for expanding use of the SLF, conducting demonstration projects with private and public partners, and performing enabling studies such as an Environmental Assessment for expanded use opportunities and associated infrastructure.
SLF Key Features
The SLF is a single, 15,000-foot long concrete runway oriented to the southeast and northwest. Air traffic control is provided from a recently constructed control tower built to FAA standards. Fire and emergency response services are available from a new, onsite facility as well. The SLF is currently staffed and operated for normal operations Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
A 50,000-square-foot hangar facility located on the SLF tow way at the south end of the SLF provides shelter and storage for NASA and non-NASA aircraft and maintenance operations.
While there is currently no common-use aviation fuel storage on site at the SLF, fueling and other commodities required by SLF users can be furnished as a reimbursable service or through arrangements with the Titusville-Cocoa Airport Authority as appropriate.
General SLF Use Guidelines
NASA is continuing to develop post-Shuttle use strategies for the SLF requirements or opportunities. NASA has entered into a number of limited-term agreements for use of the SLF and will welcome expressions of interest and/or specific proposals for use of the SLF and its associated facilities. The following general SLF use guidelines will be used in NASA’s evaluation and decision regarding such requests:
- Activities align with NASA’s mission and strategic objectives and can demonstrate a need for the unique capabilities and characteristics of the SLF or the associated technical support services available at KSC.
- Activities are compatible with uses defined and scoped in NASA’s 2007 Environmental Assessment for Expanded Use of the Shuttle Landing Facility, or in subsequent environmental analysis in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. View the Final Environmental Assessment for the SLF here.
- Non-NASA operations will not interfere with or pose undue risk to NASA KSC, NASA programs, or any launch and launch-support activities of the Eastern Range.
- Non-NASA users demonstrate capacity to reimburse, in advance, NASA’s costs associated with their operations at KSC, provide acceptable insurance and liability protection for the government, and present a sound business case.
- Safety and technical risks of proposed activities are fully assessed and considered acceptable.
- Activities are compatible with other current or planned SLF uses.