Space shuttle contingency functional

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Patrick AFB FL 32925-3239

15 February 2003




a. Launch and Landing Program Requirements Document (PRD) No. 20,000 - Space Shuttle Operational Support for White Sands Missile Range

b. Operation Requirement Extract No. 20,000 - Shuttle WSMR

c. KSC OMI S0027.001, Shuttle Landing - Post-landing Convoy Operations - WSSH AOA/ALT EOM, current revision

d. KSC OMI S-5044, Shuttle Landing - Post-landing Deservicing/Mate to SCA-CLS, current revision

e. Department of Defense Manager's Space Shuttle Procedures Document, 15 April 2001

f. Department of Defense Manager's Space Shuttle Training Plan, 30 May 2000

g. Shuttle Operational Data Book, NSTS-08934, Vol IV, Orbiter Landing Emergency Rescue Data, Parts 1 & 2, Basic, September 2000

1. Situation.

a. WSSH (also known as Northrop) may be designated as an EOM landing site, AOA site, PLS, or ELS. The 49th Fighter Wing (49 FW) will provide initial security, ground rescue, and will coordinate MEDEVAC, and SAR support during scheduled landings. These capabilities will remain until the landing opportunity passes or the flight crew departs the orbiter.
b. The remote location of WSSH, the fact that the required contingency recovery resources are not under the same DOD service as the landing site, and the fact that the landing site is on a National Test Range require special consideration in developing a support plan for landing operations. This appendix addresses DOD contingency response requirements in support of orbiter landings at WSSH. White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) support is formally tasked through the Universal Documentation System publications and is identified in this appendix for continuity and planning purposes only.
2. Area of Operation. Within 50 NM of the WSSH TACAN, DOD forces committed to the mission will respond to a bailout or other contingency by locating and providing assistance to the crew members as soon as possible. Outside this area, SAR operations will be conducted IAW applicable SAR plans. Forces committed to the WSSH area will be released, with concurrence of the commander concerned, to the responsible SAR Mission Coordinator to support these operations.
3. Concept of Operation.
a. NASA is responsible for management of operations in direct support of normal orbiter landings at WSSH. WSMR and the 49 FW support NASA IAW appropriate program requirements documents, program support plans, and/or local support agreements. WSMR and 49 FW personnel will commence landing preparations IAW timelines established in local plans and directives. For nominal landings at augmented landing sites, the NASA Convoy Commander (NCC) is responsible for overall direction of post-landing activities. Although not in the DOD chain of command, the NCC works closely with the DOD On-Scene Commander (OSC) to accomplish nominal post-landing operations. Once a mode is declared, the DOD OSC directs and oversees the DOD response to the contingency. After DOD completes its rescue mission and the incident has been resolved, direction of post-landing activities is handed back to the NCC.
b. The DOD Manager exercises tactical control of the participating response forces through the SOC to the Commander, 49 FW, or his designated representative.
c. In the event of a mishap, NASA will use the contingency response modes in Annex C, paragraph 5.b., to declare a contingency and request a particular DOD support response. The 49 FW/CC-appointed OSC will discharge his responsibility for contingency rescue/recovery of the orbiter crew members within the accepted area of operation through this individual. He will be responsible for the employment of DOD forces. NASA will provide technical advice and assistance to the OSC through the NASA NCC. The OSC has the final authority and responsibility to determine whether a specific rescue/recovery operation can be performed within the operating capabilities of the assigned forces.
d. In the event of a bailout within 50 NM of the WSSH TACAN, DOD forces dedicated to the shuttle mission will respond as soon as possible. Initial response will be directed by the OSC and supported by the appropriate SAR coordinator. Extended SAR operations will be conducted IAW the National SAR Plan.
4. Management Structure. Contingency support operations in the WSSH area are a combined responsibility of the Commander, WSMR, and the Commander, 49 FW. The following management and control positions will be established to interface directly with members of the DDMS staff and with the appropriate NASA representatives.
a. White Sands Space Harbor Contingency Coordinator (WSSH CC). The WSSH CC, designated by the 49 FW Commander, interfaces with and advises WSMR support managers on all DOD contingency support operations conducted at WSSH. In addition, the WSSH CC will be the focal point for local NASA/DOD contingency support matters. Specific responsibilities are to:
(1) Provide the SOC with the status of all DOD resources committed to the mission.
(2) Coordinate with the WSMR support manager and other agency representatives on pertinent DOD support activities.
(3) Provide the operational interface with the SOC during launch, landing, and contingency support operations.
(4) Provide an operational interface and assist the WSSH OSC in the execution of contingency support responsibilities.
(5) Advise the SOC Director if additional DOD support resources are required.
b. WSMR Representative. The Commander, WSMR, has the overall responsibility for operations conducted within the boundaries of WSMR, including Space Shuttle contingency support operations. The Commander, WSMR, will provide a representative to interface with the WSSH CC in supporting contingency operations at WSSH. Specific responsibilities are to:
(1) Provide an operational interface with the WSSH CC during landing support and contingency support operations conducted on WSMR.
(2) Ensure that all support operations conducted on WSMR comply with the range commander's established directives.
(3) Provide assistance to contingency aircraft.
(4) Provide the range communications and other range resources necessary to support contingency operations.
(5) Coordinate requests for additional range support.
c. WSSH On-Scene Commander. The Commander, 49 FW, is responsible for employing the resources necessary to conduct the DOD contingency support mission at WSSH and will discharge this responsibility through an OSC. The OSC, located in an appropriate ground vehicle or aircraft at the scene, is responsible for directing the employment of all contingency response forces responding in the immediate vicinity of the landing runway at WSSH and in those areas readily accessible to ground forces. Specific responsibilities are to:
(1) Provide command and control of DOD support forces and direct their response to landing contingencies.
(2) Provide status of DOD support forces to the WSSH CC.
(3) Respond to requests from the NCC for the selective use of fire protection equipment to control leaks, spills, smoke, etc., during the landing/post-landing operations. Overall responsibility for the protection of life and property rests with the WSSH OSC.
(4) Secure and control access to the contingency site IAW local DOD directives.
(5) Assure that only properly trained and prepared personnel are used and that all personnel are ready to support.
d. DOD Airborne On-Scene Commander. The aircraft commander of an assigned helicopter will be designated the DOD airborne OSC. The DOD airborne OSC will respond, under direction of the WSSH OSC, within those areas readily accessible to ground forces. When the contingency site is not readily accessible, the DOD airborne OSC will direct the DOD contingency response effort until the WSSH OSC arrives on scene. Specific responsibilities are to:
(1) Coordinate and direct the employment of helicopters responding to a contingency.
(2) Provide MEDEVAC within the WSSH landing area as directed by the OSC.
(3) Coordinate all SAR efforts beyond the WSSH runway vicinity, but within the base boundaries. This includes recovering the crew following a bailout.
(4) Follow standard SAR procedures outside the base boundaries.
(5) Coordinate delivery of astronauts to a medical facility as directed by the flight surgeon.
(6) Request assistance through the WSSH Contingency Coordinator or the OSC.
e. DDMS Representative. DDMS may deploy an individual to perform duties as the DOD Manager's on-site representative. The DDMS representative will be the interface between the NASA representatives and the DOD forces at the site. Specific responsibilities are to:
(1) Coordinate support requirements not previously documented in the Program Requirements Document (PRD) or in this plan.
(2) Provide advice to the OSC and WSSH CC on this plan and the Procedures Document.
(3) Assist the OSC and WSSH CC during a landing.
(4) Assist in the coordination and support of orbiter landing exercises.
5. Alert Requirements/Notification Times. Navigation and landing aids are required to be operational 90 minutes prior to the first landing opportunity each day. Aids will be released after the last daily deorbit time of ignition (TIG) has passed (approximately 1 hour prior to the last landing opportunity). Alert postures for the contingency response force will be determined by the following in-place requirements and response notification times:
a. In-Place Requirements.
(1) End-of-Mission (EOM). If designated prime for EOM landings, ground contingency forces will be at the runway staging area at landing (Ld) - 30 minutes. Helicopter support forces will be in place and ready to support at Ld-30 minutes.
NOTE: For the first EOM opportunity, helicopters are required only at the designated landing site, KSC. For EOM + 1, both KSC and Edwards will have helicopter support available. For EOM + 2, KSC, Edwards and WSSH helicopters are required. If 24 hours notice is provided to support an early termination landing, helicopter support is required.
(2) Abort-Once-Around (AOA).
(a) For 57 degree inclination launches, WSSH is designated the primary AOA site. Ground contingency forces will be at the runway staging area at Ld-30 minutes until after the AOA landing opportunity has passed. Standby helicopter support is not required.

(b) For 51.6 degree inclination launches, WSSH is designated the alternate, or secondary AOA site. Ground forces will be positioned at King 1 at Ld-30 minutes until a landing at WSSH is declared, or an AOA landing opportunity has passed. Standby helicopter support is not required.

(c) For 39 and 28 degree launch inclinations, WSSH is designated the tertiary AOA site. If WSSH remains the tertiary site, no response posture is required.
(d) If circumstances drive WSSH to become the primary AOA, and at least 24 hrs notice is given, ground contingency forces will respond to the runway staging area. If circumstances drive WSSH to become the secondary AOA, and at least 24 hrs notice is given, ground contingency forces will be positioned at King 1. If WSSH’s designation is upgraded to primary or secondary AOA site with less than 24 hrs notice, response will be “best effort.”
(3) Primary Landing Site (PLS). While on orbit, the daily PLS will be identified the day prior to a possible landing at an augmented landing site to enhance contingency force readiness. A PLS is activated when required to terminate a mission early and if time permits to hold off the landing until an optimum deorbit opportunity exists. Ground convoy contingency forces are required to be on-call 4 hours prior to scheduled PLS landing time for call up or release. On launch day, if designated as PLS and primary AOA site, convoy forces at WSSH may stand down after the SOC has verified a negative AOA (approximately 45 minutes after launch), but will remain on-call until the SOC has verified normal on-orbit operations (approximately 90 minutes after launch), and releases on-call PLS forces for that day. If WSSH is the PLS for launch day, but not primary AOA, the SOC will release on-call convoy forces after normal on-orbit operations are established (approximately 90 minutes after launch). If not identified the day prior as the PLS, there is no requirement to have forces available 4 hours prior to scheduled landing time. Standby helicopter forces are not required for PLS support.
(4) Early Termination Landing. Given 24 hours notice of an early termination landing, ground contingency and helicopter support forces will be in place and ready to support at Ld-30 minutes. If less than 24 hours notice, DOD support will be “best effort.”

b. Notification Times.

(1) End-of-Mission (EOM). EOM landings will be scheduled as early as possible.
(2) Abort-Once-Around (AOA). Notification of an AOA to WSSH will be provided by the SOC as soon as possible. Approximately 50 minutes advance notice will be provided. Expected release time will be given by the SOC Director.
(3) Early Termination Landings. WSSH may be vulnerable for a primary landing opportunity during a specified period each day. This vulnerability period will be identified by DDMS prior to each mission. DOD convoy support will be available 4 hours prior to the primary landing opportunity. They will be called to stations or released at that time. For other vulnerability periods, no specific alert posture is required. However, DOD support forces will make every effort to have full support available based on the amount of notification time.
6. Operational Requirements. The following support is considered the minimum necessary to conduct the DOD contingency rescue/recovery mission within the WSSH local contingency area:
a. Runway Support. The WSSH shuttle project manager will dedicate the landing runway in coordination with the Landing Support Officer (LSO).
(1) When WSSH is the AOA site, the designated runway will be dedicated upon notification of AOA landing.
(2) For EOM and PLS landings on a WSSH primary landing opportunity, the designated runway will be dedicated from Ld-1 hour until the orbiter is towed to the deservice area.
(3) For other landing opportunities, the designated runway will be dedicated at Ld-1 hour, if notification time permits, until the orbiter is towed from the runway.
b. Communications. Primary contact with the orbiter will be on UHF 259.7 MHz (primary), 296.8 MHz (secondary), or 243.0 (tertiary). Air/ground communications between tower and the orbiter will be recorded. See Annex K.
c. Commander, WSMR. The Commander, WSMR, is responsible for supporting the DOD contingency rescue/recovery mission at WSSH. Specifically, the Commander, WSMR, will provide the following support for WSSH landing opportunities or landings:
(1) Communications in accordance with Annex K.
(2) Security support in accordance with Annex L. Perimeter security support is an ongoing responsibility of WSMR. Security around the orbiter for the first 24 hours is provided by 49 FW. WSMR will provide security around the orbiter starting 24 hours after a landing.
(3) Given 24 hours notice, WSMR will provide helicopters to support security requirements and to transport fire/crash/rescue personnel to an off-runway mishap.
(a) These helicopters will also serve as backup MEDEVAC helicopters. The aircraft commander of one of these helicopters will be designated as the DOD airborne on-scene commander. The airborne OSC will respond to the direction of the WSSH OSC in those areas readily accessible to ground forces. If the contingency site is not accessible to ground personnel, the airborne OSC will direct the DOD recovery effort until relieved by proper authority.
(b) The Army Air Division, WSMR, will provide the helicopters to perform MEDEVAC of injured orbiter crew members to intermediate medical care facilities (IMCF) and definitive medical care facilities (DMCF).
(c) If Army Air Division, WSMR, is unable to provide sufficient numbers of MEDEVAC-configured helicopters, the WSSH Contingency Coordinator will contact DDMS to request air ambulance augmentation from the 571st Medical Company, Fort Bliss, Texas, in accordance with a standing Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). Compliance with the MOA requires the 571st Medical Company to be provided with 24 hours advance notification prior to supporting.
d. Commander, 49 FW. The Commander, 49 FW, will provide appropriate DOD contingency rescue/recovery forces at WSSH and through the OSC, employ all forces committed to the mission. The following requirements are considered the minimum necessary to conduct the DOD mission:
(1) Fire/Crash/Rescue Support. An orbiter landing should be treated similar to any major emergency aircraft landing. Fire/crash/rescue personnel are required to provide fire suppression and a rescue capability in the event of a mishap during landing. A local pre-fire plan will be developed based upon information contained in references g. and h. and the following minimum requirements:
(a) A minimum of three major pieces of fire fighting apparatus.
(b) One rescue/utility vehicle with standard configuration and items specified in reference f.
(2) Medical Support. Emergency medical service to the orbiter crew members is an essential part of contingency recovery operations and will be incorporated into both air and ground support. As soon as practical after recovery, crew medical conditions will be reported using the appropriate medical condition codes in Annex C, paragraph 7. See Annex Q for personnel and equipment required for response.
(3) Security Support. Security support will be provided IAW Annex L. In addition, provide security around the orbiter for the first 24-hours following a landing.
(4) Search and Rescue Support. To support an actual orbiter landing, 49 FW/CC will ensure that available SAR resources are alerted and requested to assume an increased alert posture. In the event of a mishap within the normally accepted area of SAR responsibility, the on-scene commander will direct the initial SAR effort. Outside the normally accepted area, SAR will be the responsibility of the appropriate Regional SAR Coordinator in coordination with the SOC.
7. Traffic Control.
a. Ground Traffic. Control of ground traffic in the vicinity of the WSSH landing area will be accomplished IAW local procedures established between NASA, WSMR, and 49 FW.
b. Air Traffic. The Commander, 49 FW, is responsible for ensuring the safety and operational control of all aircraft participating in landing support operations at WSSH. Plans and procedures developed by 49 FW will include provisions for aircraft operations and will be coordinated with all units providing air operations support.
c. Orbiter Airspace Clearance. NASA will coordinate with FAA authorities to obtain the required airspace clearance for the orbiter during landing operations at WSSH. See Annex C, Appendix 1, Tab A for typical airspace requirements.
8. Weather Support. Weather support will be provided IAW Annex H.
9. Post-Landing Operations. NASA Deployed Operations Team (DOT) personnel plan to arrive with equipment within 6 hours of an orbiter landing to commence ground turnaround processing operations. Follow-on support requirements are addressed in the DOD Manager’s Space Shuttle Support Turnaround Functional Plan 3611-XX.



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