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Zaragoza Air Base

Zaragoza Air Base is located in Zaragoza, roughly halfway between Madrid and Barcelona.

In 1957 Sixteenth Air Force was realigned under the Strategic Air Command. Main operating bases in Spain were used for SAC B-47 rotational alert aircraft until April 1965. 16th AF also operated SAC bases in Morocco from 1958 through 1963. In 1966, a year after SAC withdrew its B-47 alert force from Spain, 16th AF was reassigned to US Air Forces in Europe.

Zaragoza had a large US Air Force presence until 1994. Today, the base is home to the Spanish air force's 15th Group,

Planning for each Space Shuttle mission includes provisions for an unscheduled landing at contingency landing sites in the US and overseas. The Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL) is one mode of unscheduled landing. The orbiter would have to make an unscheduled landing if one or more of its three main engines failed during ascent into orbit, or if a failure of a major orbiter system, such as the cooling or cabin pressurization systems, precluded satisfactory continuation of the mission. A TAL would be made at one of four designated sites, two in Africa and two in Spain: Ben Guerir Air Base, Morocco; Yundum International Airport, Banjul, The Gambia; Moron Air Base, Spain; and Zaragoza Air Base, Spain. Each TAL site is covered by a separate international agreement, but all four are considered augmented because they have Shuttle-specific landing aids and NASA and Defense Department personnel available during a launch. Space Shuttles are launched eastward over the Atlantic Ocean from KSC for insertion into equatorial orbits. In a TAL abort, the orbiter continues on a ballistic trajectory across the Atlantic to land at a predetermined runway. The four sites NASA has designated for TALs have been chosen in part because they are near the nominal ascent ground track of the orbiter, which would allow the most efficient use of main engine propellant.



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