For the STS-115 launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis, NASA managers are urging all aircraft pilots and boaters to fully comply with the airspace, bridges and waterway restrictions imposed around Kennedy Space Center prior to and during shuttle launches and landings.

“As always, we are coordinating with officials from the U.S. Air Force Eastern Range, Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard to help provide a safe launch environment for the shuttle crew and for interested spectators,” said KSC Launch Director Mike Leinbach. “Violating these restrictions is not only unsafe for the astronauts and support crews, it’s unsafe for the violator.”

The first launch opportunity is Wednesday, Sept. 6, with liftoff targeted for 12:28 p.m. EDT. This launch time is approximately in the middle of a 10-minute launch window. At NASA’s request, Air Force and Coast Guard surveillance aircraft will patrol KSC’s airspace boundaries on launch day. Violators will be intercepted by patrol forces, thoroughly investigated and subject to FAA enforcement action. A number of restrictions remain in effect around KSC during the hours immediately following the launch of a space shuttle.

The following are restrictions that apply to pilots, boaters and motor vehicle operators using the airspace, waterways, or roads and bridges that lead to KSC.


For the launch of Atlantis on mission STS-115, all restricted areas surrounding KSC will be active and the area covered by flight restrictions has once again been expanded for this launch. The length of time the restrictions will be in effect prior to launch has also been extended.

Due to international terrorist activities, heightened security is essential to protect the space shuttle as a national asset. An inadvertent unauthorized incursion into the area of the Cape Canaveral Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) could cause a scrub in the launch of Atlantis, the activation of airspace defenses and an FAA enforcement action. Local pilots are asked to help NASA by respecting these temporary but necessary restrictions so the launch can occur on time and without incident.

The Eastern Range restricted airspace for KSC and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is in effect on a continuous basis and is off limits to general aviation pilots. Access is limited to official aircraft only. The restricted airspace normally covers the area bounded by the Indian River to the west, Port Canaveral to the south, the city of Oak Hill to the north, and three miles over the Atlantic Ocean to the east.

On launch day, these restricted areas will be expanded by the TFR and will be activated at approximately launch minus nine hours. It will continue in effect until approximately 20 minutes after launch, after which the standard restricted areas for KSC and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station will be in effect. On Wednesday, the TFR will be activated at 3:28 a.m. EDT. Should the launch be scrubbed during the terminal countdown, the TFR will remain in effect until 2:28 p.m. For the next launch attempt, pilots should check NOTAMS for the hours the TFR will be in effect.

General aviation and VFR operations are prohibited within a 30-nautical-mile radius of Launch Pad 39-B from the surface to (but not including) 18,000 ft. (located on the Melbourne VOR/DME 004-degree radial at 30.6 nautical miles). Among the public-use general aviation airports affected within this area are Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, Arthur Dunn Airpark in Titusville, Merritt Island Airport on Merritt Island and Massey Ranch in Edgewater.

Within an airspace radius between 30 and 40 nautical miles of Pad 39-B, a discrete transponder code must be obtained and clearance granted from air traffic control before entering this airspace. Continuous radio communications must be maintained.

Before flight, pilots should contact the St. Petersburg FAA Flight Service Station at 1-800/WxBrief (1-800/992-7433) for details of the restrictions contained in the NOTAMS. In flight, outside Orlando Class B airspace, pilots should contact Orlando Approach control on 134.95. In the Melbourne area, contact Orlando Approach control on 132.65. In southern Volusia County, contact Orlando Approach control on 125.35. Flight Service can also be reached locally by radio on the Titusville RCO at 123.6 or the Melbourne RCO on 122.6. Advisories will also be available from the control tower at Space Coast Regional Airport at 118.9 megahertz.

Among the public-use airports affected within the 30- to 40-nautical-mile radius in which flight is permitted but under positive air traffic control are Orlando International Airport, Orlando Executive Airport, Orlando-Sanford International Airport, the New Smyrna Beach airport, Melbourne International Airport and Valkaria airport. Pilots are encouraged to consult the most recent FAA aeronautical chart for Orlando Class B airspace dated Feb. 16.


The opening and closing of bridges over waterways surrounding KSC will be strictly controlled during the hours immediately before and after the launch period for each space shuttle mission.

Bridges affected by the launch include:

* Port Canaveral Barge Canal (State Road 401);

* Indian River/NASA Causeway West (Intracoastal Waterway);

* Merritt Island Barge Canal (Merritt Island State Road 3);

* Haulover Canal Bridge (State Road 3, north of KSC).

Restraints on bridge openings for boat traffic begin three hours before launch. The bridges may be opened for five minutes at the following points in the launch countdown: T-180 minutes, T-150 minutes, T-120 minutes, T-90 minutes and T-65 minutes. Adding 20 minutes to these times and subtracting that amount from the opening of the launch window (12:23 p.m.) will result in an approximate time of openings.

Bridges will remain closed to boat traffic until 90 minutes after liftoff (T+90). They may then open for five minutes at T+90, T+120 minutes and T+150 minutes. Bridge operations will return to normal three hours after launch (T+180 minutes).

Should the shuttle be required to perform a return-to-launch-site landing at KSC, all bridges would remain closed to boat traffic from 45 minutes before landing until at least one hour after landing.

State Road 3 from the Gate 2 Pass and Identification Building to State Road 405 (NASA Causeway) via Space Commerce Way will be closed on launch day, beginning at 8:30 a.m. NASA Causeway between the KSC Visitor Complex and the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame will also be closed starting at that time. Only badged employees and guests with passes will be permitted access. These roads will reopen approximately two hours after launch.

On the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, State Road 406 and County Road 402 leading to Titusville as well as State Road 3 south of the Haulover Canal bridge are closed and will reopen approximately two hours after launch.


Waterways and boating near KSC will be strictly controlled prior to and during the launch of Atlantis on STS-115. Safety and security requirements, including Air Force range safety impact limit lines, are in effect. Other requirements will be phased into effect through sunset today. A general description of the area follows:

ATLANTIC OCEAN: Currently and continuing through launch, a general exclusion zone will be in effect three miles offshore from the Haulover Canal, near the north end of KSC, and southward to Port Canaveral. Four hours prior to launch, all ocean-going traffic will be restricted from entering an area measured from nine miles north and south of the launch pad and extending 64 miles east into the ocean. An additional three-mile-wide exclusion zone will be extended eastward along the flight path of the space shuttle.

INDIAN RIVER: Restrictions apply from the NASA Causeway north to the Haulover Canal and east of the Indian River’s main channel.

MOSQUITO LAGOON: This area south of the Haulover Canal in the Mosquito Lagoon is off limits to all boats.

BANANA RIVER: Security limits begin at the Banana River Barge Canal south of KSC at the State Road 528 crossing and extend north, effective 16 hours prior to launch.

All boating restrictions will be lifted approximately one hour after launch.

Boating interests should monitor Coast Guard Channel 16 broadcasting from Port Canaveral. The Coast Guard, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and KSC security forces share responsibility for enforcing the boating guidelines.