Lackland Air Force Base in the US will aid in Nasa’s shuttle programme by acting as a stopover for space shuttles as they make their way back to Kennedy Space centre in Florida.

According to Nasa, past experience suggests that around one of every four missions involves piggybacking the shuttle cross country to its Florida home.

Lackland AFB 37th Operations Support Squadron director Al Zipprich said the base could be upgraded as an alternate landing site as early as October for a survey of the airfield and necessary training has been provided.

In June 2009, a Nasa shuttle was redirected to Lackland for refuelling due to thunderstorms on its original route to Texas.

Up to 2001, Kelly AFB, adjacent to Lackland, supported the Nasa shuttles as a stopover.