Message posted by Wardrop on July 03, 2008 at 15:51:51 PST:
Any 10,000 foot runway can accommodate the STS, but there are designated airfields around the world that act as emergency alternates. For example, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany (10,023' runway length) had shuttle emergency landing procedures in a small paragraph in an OI, although the likelihood of that ever occurring was extremely slim. However, Moron AB, Spain is designated a primary alternate for the shuttle if engine failure occurred up to some point during ascent. Once the decision on where it will recover is made (Cape, Edwards, White Sands, etc.), they start their deorbiting burns at the appropriate time to allow landing at that location. As Mr. Merlin alluded, the laws of orbital mechanics, gravity and navigation take over at that point. I'm not an expert, but I would think NASA would delay deorbit until one of their designated primary or alternate sites became available, making recovery at Groom Lake highly unlikely.
In Reply to: Space Shuttle landing at Groom Lake posted by Robert on July 03, 2008 at 11:42:15 PST: