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  Shuttle landings diverted to Edwards AFB temporary runway (STS-124 & STS-126)

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Author Topic:   Shuttle landings diverted to Edwards AFB temporary runway (STS-124 & STS-126)
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-24-2008 05:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nearly a year ago, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers began a $103 million project to replace the majority of runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

The 53-year-old runway, which NASA has used in the past as a primary landing site and today still uses as an alternate landing site for the shuttle, was deteriorating and posed an increasing foreign object damage threat.

A temporary runway was constructed halfway between the ramp and the main runway to divert aircraft -- and spacecraft -- traffic while runway 22 is torn up and replaced.

The main runway is 15,000 feet long and 300 feet wide. The temporary runway is 3,000 feet shorter and 100 feet narrower.

Though a significant safety margin still exists, the difference meant that NASA needed to develop and approve new procedures should an orbiter need to land at Edwards before the new runway 22 is complete, reports NASASpaceflight.com, citing space agency planning documents.

"The overall increase in risk to the [space shuttle program] is assessed as low," noted one of the presentations obtained by NSF.

The temporary runway will first be available for STS-124 and is expected to remain in use for STS-125 and STS-126, as conditions require.

tegwilym
Member

Posts: 2284
From: Renton, WA USA
Registered: Jan 2000

posted 04-25-2008 01:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any idea what that "shuttle visual cue" is for? Last second reminder that they are at the right runway? Remember the landing gear? Missed approach point (yeah right!)

Just never seen that before and curious.

gliderpilotuk
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Posts: 3043
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 04-25-2008 02:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Begs the question: "what if you DON'T see the visual cue?". Presumably it IS a safety measure if work is going on on the "usual" runway, but it seems as valuable as having markers saying "Not here" and "Here" when there's no chance of a go-around.

Maybe someone has a better idea as to how it is used?

ejectr
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Posts: 1488
From: Brimfield, MA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 04-25-2008 06:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by gliderpilotuk:
Maybe someone has a better idea as to how it is used?
I have an email out to my son at Edwards to find out.

cspg
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Posts: 4046
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 04-26-2008 12:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From what I've read, it's an indication that at this point the orbiter needs to be at a 1.5 degree glide slope; the same triangle-shaped landing aid is mentioned at the KSC SLF in this document.

ejectr
Member

Posts: 1488
From: Brimfield, MA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 04-26-2008 06:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ejectr:
I have an email out to my son at Edwards to find out.
Major Tom's response:

"It is their aiming point. They fly a 20-degree glideslope at 300 knots, and start the flare around 2000' AGL" (AGL is above ground level.)

ejectr
Member

Posts: 1488
From: Brimfield, MA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 10-03-2008 09:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Edwards AFB release
Main runway is now completed 4 months ahead of schedule

Team Edwards finished construction on the main runway Sept. 19, four months after it became inoperative.

In June 2008, a groundbreaking ceremony for the runway construction took place, with completion originally scheduled in December.

"When Edwards' first paved runway was poured more than 50 years ago, people could not have imagined the rich history and flight test heritage that would follow," said Maj. Gen. David Eichhorn, Air Force Flight Test Center commander. "Today, it's inspiring to know, we can only imagine what this runway will see from hypersonic vehicles and beyond."

The runway replacement initiative began in 1997 when pavement evaluations initially indicated possible problems. Ensuing evaluations over the next several years provided the data and trend analysis, proving that the runway was failing at an increasing rate.Planning, programming, budgeting and designing then had to be done for construction to begin on the runway.

"While some organizations and individuals played larger roles than others, virtually the entire installation along with local Congressional delegations, headquarters Air Force Materiel Command, contractors and NASA Dryden Research Center were involved with getting the runway construction started." said James Judkins, 95th Civil Engineering and Transportation Directorate base engineer.

The $118 million project was headed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and included work by Joint Venture, CH2M Hill Construction and the Interstate Highway construction team.

"With the main runway back, it restores full mission capability, allowing us to conduct flight operations that weren't possible without the 15,000-foot long runway." Mr. Judkins said. "I'm extremely happy that we got the runway done as quickly as we did, but I'm not really surprised. I know the project team, and I expected nothing less from them."

According to Mr. Judkins, the teamwork the construction team demonstrated and their open lines of communication enabled them to complete this project ahead of schedule.

Despite its early finish, the team encountered many obstacles during the construction that hindered its completion. The most challenging obstacle was finance. The cost of concrete and steel escalated 26 percent between the time the project was sent to Congress for approval and award of the design and building contract. But with the support of the base, local community and the Air Force's knowledge of the condition of the runway, they were able to get 14 percent more money than originally granted, said Mr. Judkins.

General Eichhorn, together with the Air Base Wing and Test Wing commanders, will perform the first flight off the runway Oct. 31 to commemorate its completion and its first operational use.

OV-105
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Posts: 589
From: Ridgecrest, CA USA
Registered: Sep 2000

posted 11-29-2008 04:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
During the STS-126 pre-landing press conference today they were saying that if they go to Edwards they will land on the temp runway 22. I thought that the new runway was done and they were going to start using it in November.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-29-2008 04:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I asked entry flight director Bryan Lunney (son of Apollo-era flight director Glynn Lunney) about their choice of runways at Edwards AFB for the STS-126 landing:
"We're still using [the temp runway] because that is where all the landing aids are -- the navigation aids that we have when we come in for a landing. We did not move those things because it takes a little bit of effort and planning to get those moved over to the prime runway," Lunney replied, adding that when STS-125 was still manifested for late October, there would not have been enough time between Atlantis' and Endeavour's missions to change the landing aids.

When the Hubble servicing mission slipped into 2009, Lunney said they did look again at the situation.

"We did briefly consider that, but by that time all the plans were in place with everybody and we did not need to move," he said. "The temporary runway, as we call it, is a perfectly fine runway to go land on. It is a little bit shorter but that is no issue for us to go land on."

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