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The White Sands Space Harbor, which was once called Northrup Strip, consists of two operational runways that are 35,000 feet long (approximately 6.6 miles) and 900 feet wide and are built on a salt flat area between the San Andres Mountains on the west and the Sacramento Mountains on the east. White Sands Space Harbor/Northrup Strip was normally held as the emergency landing site during the Space Shuttle Program should the shuttle need an immediate return to Earth after the first orbit. The added benefit of color, size and near-perfect weather meant astronauts could see the strip from space, making it an easy target to hit if an emergency arose. (photo courtesy of 49th Wing History Office)


Northrup Strip landing proud moment

The White Sands Space Harbor, which was once called Northrup Strip, consists of two operational runways that are 35,000 feet long (approximately 6.6 miles) and 900 feet wide and are built on a salt flat area between the San Andres Mountains on the west and the Sacramento Mountains on the east. White Sands Space Harbor/Northrup Strip was normally held as the emergency landing site during the Space Shuttle Program should the shuttle need an immediate return to Earth after the first orbit. The added benefit of color, size and near-perfect weather meant astronauts could see the strip from space, making it an easy target to hit if an emergency arose. (photo courtesy of 49th Wing History Office)

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