The Federal Aviation Administration has decided to ease the existing airspace restrictions imposed during launch of space vehicles fromn NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Thousands of passengers traveling to central Florida airports aboard dozens of commercial flights from the northeast have been experiencing delays or reroutes during space launches from the Launch Operations Center, located on Merritt Island.
“Based on risk analyses conducted for every launch and working with the U.S. Space Force and space launch operators, the FAA determined the existing airspace restrictions for most Florida launches were too large and could be safely reduced,” FAA said in a statement.
More than 80 percent of the Florida launch trajectories are to the east and south. Sections of airspace to the north that had been traditionally closed for all launches can now remain open during most launches, FAA said.
Within this northern section is the busy overwater route from the northeast to central Florida airports in Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota, among others.
Busy route from the northeast U.S. to central Florida used to close during all space launches. Flights were re-routed to other busy routes resulting in arrival delays.
During a typical space vehicle launch, up to 36 flights have been re-routed, affecting up to 4,300 passengers.
The airspace restrictions caused up to 300 minutes of delay, and forced air planes to fly up to 1,500 extra miles, according to FAA estimate.
As a result of FAA’s new decision, busy route from the northeast U.S. to central Florida will remain open during most space launches.
The Administration promises that additional delays will be avoided and no flights will be re-routed.
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