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The NASA Shuttle Landing Facility is an airport located on Merritt Islandmarker in Brevard Countymarker, Floridamarker, USAmarker. It is a part of the John F. Kennedy Space Centermarker (KSC), and is used by the NASAmarker Space Shuttle for landing, as well as takeoffs and landings for the NASA training jets, and civilian aircraft, such as the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

Facilities

The Mate-Demate Device at the Shuttle Landing Facility
The Shuttle Landing Facility covers and has a single runway, 15/33. It is one of the longest runways in the world, at , and wide. Additionally, the SLF has of paved overruns at each end. The Mate-Demate Device (MDD) for use when the shuttle is transported by the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft is located just off the runway.

The runway is designated runway 15, or 33, depending on the direction of use. The runway surface consists of an extremely high-friction concrete strip designed to maximize the braking ability of the Space Shuttle at its high landing speed, with the paving thickness at the center. It uses a grooved design to provide drainage, and further increase the coefficient of friction. The original groove design was found to actually provide too much friction for the rubber used in the Shuttle's tires, causing failures during several landings. This issue was resolved by grinding down the pavement, reducing the depth of the grooves significantly.

A local slang name for the runway is the "Gator tanning facility", as some of the 4000 alligators living at Kennedy Space Center regularly bask in the sun on the runway.

The landing facility is managed by contractor EG&G which provides air traffic control services as well as managing hazards to landing aircraft around the facility, including birds. The Bird Team keeps the facility clear of both local and migratory birds during shuttle landings using pyrotechnics, firing blanks from shotguns and a series of 25 propane cannons arranged around the facility.

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