Lifting Body Spacecraft

In planning for atmospheric re-entry, the landing site is selected in advance. For reusable reentry vehicles, typically a primary site is preferred that is closest to the launch site in order to reduce costs and improve launch turnaround time. However, weather near the landing site is a major factor in flight safety. In some seasons, weather at landing sites can change quickly relative to the time necessary to initiate and execute re-entry and safe landing. Due to weather, it is possible the vehicle may have to execute a landing at an alternate site. Furthermore, most airports do not have runways of sufficient length to support the approach landing speed and roll distance required by spacecraft. Few airports exist in the world that can support or be modified to support this type of requirement. Therefore, alternate landing sites are very widely spaced across the U. S. and around the world.