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Arizona county prepares for role as landing site for capsule

Posted at 11:02 AM, Nov 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-16 13:02:55-05

BISBEE, Ariz. (AP) - Cochise County officials don't have to consider possible emergency responses or road closures when thousands of migratory birds drop in on the Wilcox Playa annually.

Not so with Boeing Corp.'s plan to use the flat desert grassland in southeastern Arizona as one of five preferred landing sites in four states for its new reusable space capsule.

County supervisors briefed recently by Boeing representatives and county officials were told that parts such as heat shield doors might be jettisoned from the parachuting capsule and that a Boeing contractor would clean up hazardous materials.

Also, roads might have to be closed with dozens of law enforcement officers being deployed to secure the landing site. Viewing areas would be designated for VIPs and the media, and an ambulance would be on standby.