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Shuttle Landing Facility History

The Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) encompasses approximately 4,432 acres of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Kennedy Space Center property in Brevard County, Florida. The Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station may together be referred to as the Cape Canaveral Spaceport according to Florida Statue 331.304. The SLF runway (Runway 15-33) is 15,000 feet long and 300 feet wide, with paved overruns on each end. There is an existing apron (480 feet by 540 feet), Air Traffic Control Tower, media and flight operations buildings, NASA Kennedy Space Center Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting Facility, launch vehicle hangar, convoy vehicle enclosure, covered equipment storage, and a weather/wind profiler radar to support operations at the SLF.

Between 1984 and 2011, NASA and the Department of Defense conducted a total of 78 Space Shuttle orbiter landings at the SLF located at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. During the last 20 years of the Space Shuttle program, landings at the SLF occurred at an average rate of four per year, during years when the orbiter landed in Florida, and up to a maximum of eight landings in 1997. Space Shuttle orbiter reentries and landings ceased in 2011 at the end of the Space Shuttle program. Most recently in October 2019, the U.S. Air Force X-37B reentered and landed at the SLF, demonstrating the facility's continued ability to support orbital reentry and landing.

Space Florida

Space Florida was established by the Florida legislature on September 1, 2006 as an Independent Special District of the State of Florida (created by Chapter 331, Part II, Florida Statutes). Space Florida is the state-chartered spaceport authority and has statutory responsibility and authority to support the expansion and operation of Florida's commercial space transportation capabilities.

In June 2013, NASA selected Space Florida to manage and operate the SLF. The SLF is a state-registered private use airport under Florida Department of Transportation Administrative Code, Rule Chapter 14-60, Airport Licensing, Registration, and Airspace Protection. In June 2015, Kennedy Space Center transferred the management, development, and operation of the SLF to Space Florida.

Space Florida holds a Launch and Reentry Site Operator License (License Number: LRSO 18-018 (PDF)) to offer the SLF as a horizontal launch and reentry site to commercial space vehicle operators.

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