Shuttle Landing Runway Modification to Improve Tire Spin-Up Wear Performance 881402

Landings of the Space Shuttle Orbiter at 200 knot speeds on the rough, grooved Kennedy Space Center runway have encountered greater than anticipated tire wear, which resulted in limiting landings on that runway to crosswinds of 10 knots or less. The excessive wear stems from wear caused during the initial tire touchdown spin-up. Tire spin-up wear tests have been conducted on a simulated KSC runway surface modified by several different techniques in an effort to reduce spin-up wear while retaining adequate wet cornering coefficients for directional control. The runway surface produced by a concrete smoothing machine using cutters spaced 1 3/4 blades per centimeter was found to give adequate wet cornering while limiting spin-up wear to that experienced in spinups on smooth concrete. As a result of these tests, the KSC runway has been smoothed for approximately 1066 m at each end leaving the original high friction surface for better wet steering and braking in the 2438 m central section of the runway.


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