AMERICAN ASTRONAUTS never have faced what the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) calls a TAL—a Transoceanic Abort Landing. But if they ever do, medical help will be available.
Such an unscheduled landing would be necessary:
If one or more of the space shuttle's three main engines fail during its ascent into orbit.
In case of failure of the orbiter's cabin pressurization or a similar major system.
Should adverse weather conditions preclude use of the main landing sites at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida or Edwards Air Force Base in California.
When some other major emergency arises.
Crew members then would try to use one of several sites designated in advance for such a contingency. These include the following:
Ben Guerir Air Base (AB), which has a 4200-m runway in the African desert 58 km north of Marrakech, Morocco.
Yundum Airport, Banjul, The Gambia, on Africa's Atlantic coast, which