g. Agreement between the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Royal Moroccan Air Force (RMAF) Concerning the Use of Ben Guerir Air Base as a Space Shuttle Emergency Landing Site,
28 Jan 1997
1. Situation. Ben Guerir may be designated as a Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL) site or Emergency Landing Site (ELS) for all inclination launches. DOD forces, joined by NASA/NASA contractor and host country forces, form a convoy for employment in the event of a contingency. MEDEVAC, SAR, and weather support will be available during TAL landing opportunities. In the event of a landing at Ben Guerir, DOD forces in place (as well as additional forces as required) will support NASA’s recovery/turnaround operations.
2. Area of Operation. The Ben Guerir local contingency area is designated as the area in the vicinity of the runway accessible to NASA ground response vehicles.
a. Within this area, NASA will provide support for ambulances, and security to protect personnel and preserve property. The DOD will provide weather support and MEDEVAC.
b. Outside this area, SAR operations, to include recovery of the crew following a bailout, will be IAW Appendix 3 and applicable SAR plans. Forces committed to the Ben Guerir area will be released, with concurrence of the commander concerned, to the responsible Regional SAR Coordinator to support these operations.
3. Concept of Operation.
a. When Ben Guerir is identified as a TAL site, a NASA team, a DDMS Deployed Forces Commander (DFC), DOD weather personnel, DOD SAR/ MEDEVAC forces, and Moroccan firefighting forces will be positioned at Ben Guerir to support an orbiter landing during the launch phase.
b. For nominal landings at TAL sites, the NASA Convoy Commander (NCC) is responsible for overall direction of post-landing activities. (NOTE: At TAL sites, the NCC role is normally filled by the USA Operations Manager.) Although not in the DOD chain of command, the NCC works closely with the DOD DFC to accomplish nominal post-landing operations.
c. During TAL landing opportunities, DOD contingency forces will provide SAR/MEDEVAC capabilities. DOD weather personnel will provide forecast, observation, and balloon information. The DOD Manager exercises control of the participating response forces through the on-site DDMS DFC.
d. Following a TAL, a Mishap Investigation Team (MIT) and Rapid Response Team (RRT) will arrive within 24 hours to begin investigative/turnaround operations and C-130 aircraft will arrive from the other TAL sites with selected NASA/DOD personnel and equipment. Further detailed information is available in reference c.
e. Following a landing at another TAL site, the C-130 at Ben Guerir may be tasked to reposition to the orbiter landing site to MEDEVAC astronauts or airlift support personnel/equipment. Further detailed information is available in reference c.
4. Management Structure. DDMS will normally deploy two individuals to perform duties as the DOD Manager's DFC and Assistant DFC. The DDMS DFC will be the interface between the NASA Ground Operations Manager (GOM) and the DOD forces at the site. Specific responsibilities of the DFC are:
a. Coordinate real-time support not included in the Program Requirements Document (PRD) or this FUNCPLAN.
b. Provide technical advice to the deployed DOD forces on the DDMS FUNCPLAN and DDMS Procedures Document.
c. Provide the SOC with the status of all DOD resources committed to the contingency support mission.
d. Coordinate required support with the deployed DOD weather personnel as defined in Annex H.
e. Be prepared to reposition selected personnel and equipment to another TAL site if a landing occurs at other than Ben Guerir. Coordinate a personnel and equipment manifest with the NASA GOM and the C-130 aircraft commander.
f. Provide the operational interface with the SOC during launch, landing, and contingency support operations.
g. Provide assistance, as requested, during the launch countdown and ascent profile.
h. Assist the deployed DOD forces and NASA representatives, as necessary, during a contingency landing.
i. Coordinate any DOD support for orbiter landing exercises with the NASA GOM.
5. Alert Requirements/Notification Times. Alert postures for the contingency response forces will be determined by the following in-place requirements and response notification times.
a. In-Place Requirements.
(1) Ground Forces. When designated as a TAL, ground forces will be in place and ready for support at L-30 minutes and remain until after the TAL opportunity has passed.
(2) Aircraft Support. When designated as a TAL, the following support will be provided by USEUCOM and USACOM.
(a) One C-130 with nine pararescue specialists (PJs) and survival equipment will normally be in place at Marrakech on L-2 day, but NLT L-24 hours, for SAR/ MEDEVAC support of the TAL opportunity. The C-130 will normally deploy from Marrakech to Ben Guerir after clearing customs. The C-130 crew will complete all preparations to ensure the capability to takeoff within 30 minutes of notification. Once the TAL opportunity passes, the C-130 will depart ASAP with PJs and medical personnel. C-130 crew and passengers must clear customs at Marrakech before departing Morocco. See Appendix 3.
(b) A single C-21, or similar aircraft, for real-time pilot weather reports (PIREP) will normally be in position at Marrakech on L-2 day, but NLT L-24 hours. Weather reconnaissance flights are scheduled to fly out of Marrakech at L-6.5 and L-1 hours for 1.5 hour duration each. Additional support flights may be necessary. See Annex H.
NOTE: Ben Guerir is a daylight only, VFR airfield. Night departures may be authorized by USAFE using Xenon lights.
(3) Medical Support. Emergency medical service (EMS) will be incorporated into both air and ground support as soon as practical after recovery. The provision of medical support is outlined in Annex Q and in the Medical Operations Support Implementation Plan for each site. Medical ground support will be in-place NLT L-1 hourat the TAL site.
(4) Weather Support. A fully operational upper air observing system system (DDMS supplied), with associated equipment (i.e., helium bottles, balloons, and required spares), and personnel will be in place NLT L-72 hours to begin balloon releases at L-48 hours. Whenever possible, surface observations are provided by host nation weather personnel. See Annex H.
(5) Security Support. Pending arrival of the NASA RRT, access to the orbiter will be limited to the orbiter crew, the NASAGOM, the NASA ground handling team designated for post-landing orbiter hazard assessment/towing, and support personnel responding to an emergency situation. Subsequent security instructions, including access rosters and personnel badging, will be provided by a NASA security representative on the RRT. See Annex L.
b. Notification Times. Notification of a TAL to Ben Guerir will be provided to DOD forces by the LSO or SOC as soon as the decision to abort is made. The amount of advance notice will vary with the launch azimuth; however, as a minimum, 25 minutes notification can be expected.
6. Operational Requirements.
a. Landing Support Operations. Once NASA has made the decision to land, all landing support except for medical, weather, and SAR will be accomplished by NASA or NASA contractor personnel.
b. Medical Support. Medical support will be provided by the medical team (two physicians with Advanced Trauma and Life Support (ATLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification and experience), aided by the PJs from the C-130 in paragraph c. below. Crew medical conditions will be reported using medical condition codes in Annex C, paragraph 7. See Annex Q.
c. SAR/MEDEVAC Support. USEUCOM will provide one C-130 and ACC will provide nine PJs at Ben Guerir to support SAR/MEDEVAC operations from the TAL site. Overall SAR will be the responsibility of the appropriate Regional SAR Coordinator in coordination with the DOD SOC. See Appendix 3 to Annex C.
d. C-21 Aircraft Support. USEUCOM will provide a dedicated C-21 aircraft (subject to availability) for real-time PIREPs.
e. Communications. Primary contact with the orbiter will be on UHF 259.7 MHz (primary) or 296.8 MHz (secondary). See Annex K.
7. Weather Support. During TAL opportunities, a DOD weather point of contact and a RATS operator will provide upper air soundings to the Spaceflight Meteorology Group at Johnson Space Center. Whenever possible, surface observations are provided by host nation weather personnel. See Annex H.
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
MANNED SPACE FLIGHT SUPPORT OFFICE
Patrick AFB FL 32925-3239
15 February 2003
APPENDIX 9 TO ANNEX C TO DDMS FUNCPLAN 3610-03
DOD EMERGENCY LANDING SITES (ELS) AND LAUNCH ABORT SITES (LAS)
a. Department of Defense Manager's Space Shuttle Procedures Document (under revision), expect March 2001
b. Department of Defense Manager's Space Shuttle Training Plan
c. KSC OMI S-0061, Shuttle Landing - Post Landing Convoy Operations, ELS, current revision
d. Shuttle Operational Data Book, NSTS-08934, Vol IV, Orbiter Landing Emergency Rescue Data, Parts 1 & 2, Basic, September 2000
e. DOD Manager’s Space Shuttle Training Plan, 30 April 2002
1. Situation. The orbiter has the capability to make an emergency landing at a number of preselected runways (minimum 8,500 feet in length) worldwide. These emergency landing sites may be DOD or civilian airfields. LASs support emergency recovery following an aborted launch. ELSs support emergency recovery once on orbit. See Appendix 1 for the list of ELSs and LASs.
2. Area of Operation. The DOD ELS/LAS local contingency area is designated as the area in the vicinity of the runway accessible to DOD ground response vehicles.
a. Within this area, the DOD will provide support, within existing capabilities, for orbiter crew member rescue, fire fighting, MEDEVAC, and security to protect and preserve property.
b. Outside this area, SAR operations will be IAW with applicable SAR plans and conducted by the appropriate regional SAR coordinator in coordination with the SOC.
3. Concept of Operation.
a. Although the chance of an orbiter landing at an ELS/LAS is remote, these sites are critical to ensuring the orbiter crew has suitable options for early termination of their mission during the launch phase and continuing through the on-orbit period. DOD LAS/ELS sites receive unique shuttle support training for designated On-Scene Commanders, F/C/R, convoy and medical personnel in accordance with reference e.
DOD ELSs have specialized internal rescue equipment and receive formal DDMS internal rescue training. ELSs are not required to maintain any specific alert posture during the on-orbit portion of the mission.
(2) DOD LASs have a higher probability of an abort landing during Space Shuttle launches. As a result, the following assets shall be on-site and ready to support during Space Shuttle launches:
(a) Airfield Support Contingency Officer (ASCO).
(b) On-Scene Commander (OSC).
(c) Minimum of 12 firefighters (15 optimal). Four of these firefighters shall be designated as internal rescuers. Internal rescuers must have attended “Orbiter Cockpit Procedures Training” (OCPT), and attended the annual “Fire/Crash/Rescue Procedures Familiarization course” Individuals will review the “Space Shuttle Orbiter Fire/Crash/Rescue Procedures” computer based training program annually. Two of these firefighters must be trained and equipped to perform the Hazard Assessment. DDMS-CC maintains waiver authority.
(d) Two major crash firefighting vehicles. (Three recommended)
(e) Weather support, air traffic control, and base operations support.
NOTE 1: There is no requirement to form up the convoy until an abort to an LAS has been declared. However, communication checks should be accomplished and all personnel must be at a location where they could respond immediately.
NOTE 2: Medical support (one ambulance, two medical technicians, and one physician) must be able to respond within ability of the Base Emergency Response Plan. (A 30-minute response time is recommended).
b. DOD contingency forces will provide ground rescue, MEDEVAC, and SAR, within existing capabilities. The DOD Manager exercises tactical control of the participating response forces through the SOC to the ELS/LAS commander or his designated representative.
When a DOD ELS/LAS landing is declared by NASA, the DOD SOC will establish communications with the site. See Annex K. Personnel and equipment will posture in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 4., if notification time permits.
d. NASA officials and the orbiter crew will make the decision to land. Once the decision to land has been made, a SOC Controller will coordinate with the appropriate ELS/LAS site to provide real-time information and assistance. ELS personnel will conduct required operations IAW provisions of this operations plan, the references cited in this appendix, and standard operating plans and procedures developed by the unit for LAS landings.
e. The DOD SOC will communicate with the LAS ASCO on the “telephone bridge” (see para 4.a. (1) below).
4. Alert Requirements/Notification Times.
a. In-Place Requirements.
DOD LAS ASCOs will establish contact with the SOC “telephone bridge” (DSN 854-9401/COMM 321-494-9401) at L-1 hour 30 minutes and pass a status report. At
L-15 minutes they will reestablish, and remain in continuous contact with the SOC until released. Additionally, LAS ASCOs will ensure personnel requirements stated in paragraph 3.a. (2) above are on-site.
(2) ELS contingency response forces will be in place and ready to support at least 10 minutes prior to landing, if notification time permits. Vehicle movement in the vicinity of the runway should be suspended during orbiter landing.
b. Notification Times.
(1) LASs supporting launch abort contingencies will be notified by the SOC immediately if an emergency landing is declared. The time from declared emergency to landing is from 14 to 27 minutes depending on the abort site.
(2) ELSs supporting deorbit contingencies normally can expect 60 to 90 minutes’ notification prior to landing. However, if the deorbit occurs when the orbiter does not have communications with the MCC at JSC, notification may be delayed. ELSs are vulnerable for an emergency landing only during limited periods each day. There is no requirement for ELSs to maintain an enhanced readiness posture to support a possible shuttle emergency landing.
5. Operational Requirements.
a. Landing Support Operations. Once NASA has made the decision to land, the following actions, if time permits, will be taken in preparation for an orbiter landing:
(1) Airspace Clearance. The commander of each ELS/LAS will develop a plan and coordinate with local airspace controlling agencies to clear an airspace corridor for an orbiter landing. See Annex C, Appendix 1, Tab A for typical airspace clearance requirements. The LSO will provide specific orbiter approach ground track data shortly after notification of an emergency landing.
(2) Dedicated Runway. LAS runways will be dedicated to the orbiter NLT launch. At ELSs, the runway will be dedicated 60 minutes prior to the estimated landing time or as soon as possible after notification of the emergency landing. Time permitting, any arresting gear will be removed and a foreign object damage (FOD) check of the runway will be accomplished. The runway will remain dedicated until the orbiter has been towed to a deservice area by a NASA team.
(3) Tower Operations. Standard tower procedures will be used to support orbiter landings. In addition, tower personnel will be prepared to provide the latest airfield meteorological conditions to the orbiter crew, when requested. See Annex H.
(4) TACAN Support. Annex K, Appendix 2, provides a listing of supporting TACAN stations and information on the appropriate status reporting of these navigational aids.
(5) Runway Lighting. Sequential, airfield approach strobes will be in the following configuration: Dusk/Night - Off; Day (Visibility < 10) - On; Day (Visibility > 10) - Off. VASIs and threshold strobe lights should be off for all landings. Runway edge lights will be on bright setting for daylight landings and step 3 for night landing.
(6) Communications. The orbiter will attempt initial contact with the ELS/LAS control tower on 243.0 MHz (once in range) if the NASA Mission Control Center (MCC) is unable to establish communication with the tower or if the MCC has lost contact with the orbiter. After initial contact, the orbiter crew may request a switch to 259.7 or 296.8 MHz. The NASA Flight Director may request the ELS/LAS control tower relay information to the orbiter crew. Air/ground communications between tower and orbiter will be recorded, if possible. See Annex K.
(7) Runway Emergency Support. An orbiter landing at an ELS/LAS will be treated similar to any large aircraft landing with a declared emergency. Personnel supporting an orbiter landing should be familiar with potential hazards associated with the orbiter (see Appendix 11 to Annex C). Following is the recommended minimum resources that should be deployed in preparation for an orbiter landing if they are available from local resources:
(a) Fire/Crash/Rescue Support. Fire/crash/rescue personnel will provide fire suppression and a rescue capability in the event of a mishap during landing. Within individual ELS/LAS capabilities, sites will provide the following equipment:
1. Two (three recommended) major pieces of fire fighting apparatus.
2. One rescue/utility vehicle with support equipment per reference a.
(b) Medical Support. Provide emergency medical transportation within existing capabilities from landing or accident site. See Annex Q. Transportation should have the capability to transport emergency equipment, staff, and up to eight injured crewmembers. The actual number of orbiter crewmembers will be provided in the Mission OPORD.
b. Search and Rescue Support. Local commanders will ensure, time permitting, that available SAR forces are alerted and requested to assume an increased alert posture. In the event of a mishap within the normally accepted area of SAR responsibility, each ELS/LAS commander will conduct 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. See Appendix 3 to Annex C.
c. Disaster Preparedness. Local procedures will be established to limit damage to the orbiter and surroundings should a major accident occur. Local disaster preparedness planning should be accomplished IAW standard disaster response procedures and directives. Planning factors for unique hazards associated with the orbiter are included in Appendix 11 to Annex C.
d. Hazard Assessment. Provide a ground level hazard assessment of the orbiter within existing capabilities. Normally, two trained personnel with special equipment and a vehicle are required to perform this function. See reference a. for detailed instructions and equipment required for conducting the hazard assessment.
e. Security Support. Pending arrival of the NASA RRT, access to the orbiter will be limited to the crew and support personnel responding to an emergency situation. Subsequent security instructions, including access rosters and personnel badging, will be provided by a NASA security representative on the RRT. See Annex L.
f. Post-Landing Operations. Following a hazard assessment at a DOD LAS or ELS, DOD forces should assist the orbiter crew egress by providing stairs and ground transportation. Refer to reference a. for stair requirements.
(1) Upon completion of the post-landing checklist, the orbiter crew will egress the vehicle and proceed to the medical area. Once the crew has exited the orbiter, a secure perimeter will be established and maintained until arrival of NASA personnel. The size of the area will be based upon the hazards associated with the orbiter and the local threat assessment. See Appendix 11 to Annex C and Annex L. DOD personnel should not attempt to tow the orbiter.
(2) During Space Shuttle missions a Rapid Response Team (RRT) will arrive within 24 hours. It will consist of NASA personnel, NASA contractors, and two DDMS representatives, the RMT is on calland will depart for the ELS/LAS as soon as possible in the event of an unscheduled landing. The RRT is responsible for safing the orbiter and towing it off the runway. A Mishap Investigation Team (MIT) will also arrive with the RRT. The RRT will begin coordination for the arrival of the Deployed Operations Team (DOT). Follow-on requirements are addressed in the DOD Manager’s Space Shuttle Support Turnaround Functional Plan 3611-XX.
g. Responsibility. Overall responsibility for the orbiter will remain with the flight crew until the NASA RRT arrives.
6. Weather Support. Weather support will be provided IAW Annex H.