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Ben Guerir Air Base
Ben Guerir Air Base-Morocco.jpg
IATA: noneICAO: none
Airport type Military
Operator Royal Moroccan Air Force
Location Ben Guerir, Morocco
Elevation AMSL 1400 ft / 430 m
Coordinates 32°7′50″N 7°54′39″W / 32.13056°N 7.91083°W / 32.13056; -7.91083Coordinates: 32°7′50″N 7°54′39″W / 32.13056°N 7.91083°W / 32.13056; -7.91083
Direction Length Surface
ft m
18/36 13,720 4,182 Asphalt

Ben Guerir Air Base is a former United States Air Force base which was located in Morocco, later operated by the Royal Moroccan Air Force, and which served as a Transatlantic Abort Landing (TAL) site for the Space Shuttle. It is located about 36 miles (58 km) North of Marrakech.

Ben Guerir was established in 1951 by the Strategic Air Command (SAC) as one of five bases constructed in northwest Africa for SAC during a "crash program" which began in 1950.[1] The base was located to allow for the rapid deployment of nuclear-armed B-47 Stratojets, without requiring aerial refueling. KC-97 Stratotankers were also deployed from the base. SAC occupied the base until 1963.[2]

The base was designated as a TAL site for the Space Shuttle in July 1988, replacing the former TAL site at Casablanca. The site was chosen largely for its location near the nominal ground track of the shuttle orbiter for a mid-range inclination launch, meaning a diversion to the TAL site would allow for efficient use of fuel.[2][3] Ben Guerir last served as a TAL site in June 2002, for STS-111, which landed at Edwards Air Force Base at the conclusion of its flight. The base was deactivated in 2005, after supporting 83 shuttle missions.[3]

Ben Guerir has one runway which is oriented in a North-South direction, is 200 feet (61 m) wide, with 25-foot (7.6 m) shoulders, and is 13,720 feet (4,180 m) long with a 1,000-foot (300 m) underrun and a 2,500-foot (760 m) compacted dirt overrun, for a total length of 15,720 feet (4,790 m). During renovation which were made by NASA in 1988, the runway was equipped with shuttle-unique landing aids, including a Microwave landing system and Tactical Air Navigation (TACAN) system.[4]


  1. ^ "The American Invasion". Time (Time, Inc.). March 31, 1952.,9171,935584-1,00.html. 
  2. ^ a b Pike, John (April 27, 2005). "Ben Guerir Air Base, Morocco". Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Retrieved March 10, 2007. 
  3. ^ a b "Space Shuttle Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL) Sites" (PDF). NASAfacts. NASA. December 2006. Retrieved March 10, 2007. 
  4. ^ "Space Shuttle Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL) Sites". NASA Facts Online. NASA. December 18, 2006. Retrieved March 10, 2007. 

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