The two men spent the next two hours taking photographs, recording their impressions of the landscape, collecting piles of moon rocks and soil specimens, and deploying a package of scientific experiments, some which would stay on the moon after they left. To get the vessels in the right order for lunar orbit and landing, the CSM had to eject from inside the tip of the stage three rocket, pull a 180-degree turn and dock head-first with the top of the LM—all while hurtling through space at nearly 20,000 mph. On February 6, 2018, Pad 39A hosted the successful liftoff of the Falcon Heavy on its maiden launch, carrying Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster car to space;[64] and the first flight of the human-rated spacecraft Crew Dragon (Dragon 2) took place there on March 2, 2019. [21], When the stack integration was completed, the Mobile Launcher was moved atop one of two crawler-transporters, or Missile Crawler Transporter Facilities, 3–4 miles (4.8–6.4 km) to its pad at a speed of 1 mile per hour (1.6 km/h). Each pads contained a two-piece access tower system, the Fixed Service Structure (FSS) and the Rotating Service Structure (RSS). Apollo 11 had to take of from the launch pad at a very good speed, so that it could beat gravity. Armstrong, a veteran test pilot, remained cool and collected even as warning alarms blared in the cramped cabin and Mission Control announced only 30 seconds of fuel left in the reserves. See a timeline of the entire mission. The Gaseous Oxygen Vent Arm positioned a hood, often called the "Beanie Cap", over the top of the external tank (ET) nose cone during fueling.[when?] Next came the “powered descent” of the LM, what Neufeld calls “the most critical and dangerous part of the flight.” After separating from the CSM, Armstrong and Aldrin piloted the 32,000-pound LM for two hours toward the lunar surface. In 2019, SpaceX began substantial modification to LC 39A in order to begin work on phase 1 of the construction to prepare the facility to launch prototypes of the large 9 m (30 ft)-diameter methalox reusable rocket—Starship—from a launch stand, which will fly from 39A on suborbital test flight trajectories with six or fewer Raptor engines. "[46], On April 14, 2014, the privately owned launch service provider SpaceX signed a 20-year lease for Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A). Now, on the morning of July 16, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins sit atop another Saturn V at Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. Neil Armstrong’s celebrated “one small step” was far from the most dangerous maneuver in the effort to send three men to the moon and return them home a week later. [23] The system included seven baskets suspended from seven slidewires that extended from the fixed service structure to a landing zone 370 meters (1,200 ft) to the west. As he stepped off the ladder onto the lunar surface, Armstrong famously radioed back to Earth, "That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind." Launch of Apollo 11 | NASA [54], In February 2016, SpaceX indicated that they had "completed and activated Launch Complex 39A",[55] but still had more work yet to do to support crewed flights. Vice President Spiro Agnew and former President Lyndon B. Johnson view the liftoff of Apollo 11 from pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center at 9:32 am EDT on July 16, 1969. Initial plans envisioned four pads (five were considered) evenly spaced 8,700 feet (2,700 m) apart to avoid damage in the event of an explosion on a pad. "Launch Complex 39" redirects here. Launch Complex 39 (LC-39) is a rocket launch site at the John F. Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island in Florida, United States.The site and its collection of facilities were originally built as the Apollo program's "Moonport" and later modified for the Space Shuttle program.. Apollo 11 launched from Cape Kennedy on July 16, 1969, carrying Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin into an initial Earth-orbit of 114 by 116 miles. [72] Details of the proposed launch pads were published in the Kennedy Space Center Master Plan in 2012. Once attached, the Apollo 11 spacecraft separated from the Saturn V for good and the Apollo 11 astronauts began their three-day journey across the 238,000-mile expanse between the Earth and the moon. Space Shuttles Atlantis and Endeavour are placed at LC-39A and LC-39B in preparation for the final service mission to the Hubble Space Telescope (May 2009). As commander, Armstrong had the privilege of being the first astronaut to set foot on the moon. These included the May 1, 2017, launch of NROL-76, the first SpaceX mission for the National Reconnaissance Office, with a classified payload.[63]. Launch Complex 39 (LC-39) is a rocket launch site at the John F. Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island in Florida, United States. Now for the first time ever you get to experience this historic event through the eyes of those who lived through it. SpaceX originally planned to be ready to accomplish the first launch at pad 39A—of a Falcon Heavy—as early as 2015,[48] as they had had architects and engineers working on the new design and modifications since 2013. It’s the only way to get back alive.”, The prospect of Armstrong and Aldrin being stranded on the moon was real enough that President Richard Nixon and his speechwriter William Safire had a condolence speech prepared, which began, “Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.”. A PARTIAL lunar eclipse is set to take place tonight on the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11. Aldrin followed Armstrong down the ladder. The mobile launchers were then modified for the shorter Saturn IB rockets, by adding a "milk-stool" extension platform to the launch pedestal, so that the S-IVB upper stage and Apollo spacecraft swing arms would reach their targets. Launch of Apollo 11, July 16, 1969. If they came in too shallow, the capsule would skip off the atmosphere like a rock on a pond.”. [19], While the ML was sat on its launch pedestals, one of two flame deflectors was slid on rails into place under it. For the Proton launch complex at Baikonur, see, Aerial view of Launch Complex 39, showing the launch pads 39B (top) and 39A (bottom). A modified M113 Armored Personnel Carrier could carry injured astronauts away from the complex to safety. These were used for three crewed Skylab flights and the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, since the Saturn IB pads 34 and 37 at Cape Canaveral SFS had been decommissioned.[26][27]. [47] The pad was modified to support launches of both Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles, modifications that included the construction of a large Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF) similar to that used at existing SpaceX-leased facilities at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Vandenberg Air Force Base, horizontal integration being markedly difference from the vertical integration process used to assemble NASA's Apollo and Space Shuttle vehicles at the launch complex. Below is a timeline of the historic Apollo 11 flight from launch to splashdown. (When the Command Module was attached to the Service Module, it was called the CSM.). Each crawler weighed 6,000,000 pounds (2,720 t) and was capable of keeping the space vehicle and its launcher platform level while negotiating the 5 percent grade to the pad. Kennedy Space Center director Robert D. Cabana and representatives from the Ground Systems Development and Operations (GSDO) Program and the Center Planning and Development (CPD) and Engineering directorates marked the completion of the new pad during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 17, 2015. [53] A rollout test of the new Transporter Erector was conducted in November 2015. [56][51] By late 2014, a preliminary date for a wet dress rehearsal of the Falcon Heavy was set for no earlier than July 1, 2015. The Master Plan also notes a proposed New Vertical Launchpad northwest of LC-39B and a Horizontal Launch Area north of the LC-49 and converting the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) and it apron areas into a second Horizontal Launch Area. The main event takes place Sunday night, when Aldrin takes his place alongside Apollo 11 crewmates Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins for a lecture at the National Air and Space Museum. It was designed to handle launches of the Saturn V rocket, the largest, most powerful rocket then designed, which would propel Apollo spacecraft to the Moon. By Matthew Mohan-Hickson Tuesday, 16th July 2019, 1:03 pm The first usage of the pad for the Space Shuttle came in 1979, when Enterprise was used to check the facilities prior to the first operational launch. On July 16th 1969, Apollo 11 was launched carrying the crew of Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins. The last Shuttle launch from pad 39B was the nighttime launch of STS-116 on December 9, 2006. U.S. National Register of Historic Places, Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A#SpaceX, Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A § SpaceX, Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A § Current status, Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39B § Current status, List of Cape Canaveral and Merritt Island launch sites, "After delays, SpaceX's massive Falcon Heavy rocket set to launch in spring 2016", "Spacex seeks to accelerate falcon 9 production and launch rates this year", National Aeronautics and Space Administration, "NASA Completes Review of First SLS, Orion Deep Space Exploration Mission", "NASA administrator on recent personnel shakeup: 'There's no turmoil at all, "New Launch Pad will Enable Smaller Companies to Develop and Launch Rockets from Kennedy", "NGS Datasheet for Clubhouse Southwest Gable", "The History of Cape Canaveral, Chapter 2: The Missile Range Takes Shape (1949–1958)", "The History of Cape Canaveral, Chapter 3: NASA Arrives (1959–Present)", "Kennedy Space Center Visitor and Area Information | NASA", "NASA – External Tank (ET) Gaseous Oxygen Vent Arm", "GUCP troubleshooting continues as MMT push for launch on June 17", " – NASA Conducts Shuttle Astronaut Rescue Drill", "NASA Eyes Launch Pad Damage for Next Shuttle Flight", "Up for grabs? The Air Force annexed part of Cape Canaveral, to the north, in 1951, forming the Air Force Missile Test Center, the future Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS). “When you hit the atmosphere at 24,000 mph, it creates a hell of a fireball,” says Neufeld. One potential shared user in the Blue Origin plan was United Launch Alliance. [19][20] Technicians, engineers, and astronauts used the uppermost Spacecraft Access Arm to access the crew cabin. Launch: Oct. 11, 1968; splashdown: Oct. 22. Each deflector measured 39 feet (12 m) high by 49 feet (15 m) wide by 75 feet (23 m) long, and weighed 1,400,000 pounds (635 t). [40] This program was later canceled. [4][5] The display will take place at the Banana Creek viewing area in sight of the Apollo 11 launch pad and will include refreshments and expert commentary. [18], Months before a launch, the three stages of the Saturn V launch vehicle and the components of the Apollo spacecraft were brought inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and assembled, in one of four bays, into a 363-foot (111 m)-tall space vehicle on one of three Mobile Launchers (ML). FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. [32], During the launch of Discovery on STS-124 on May 31, 2008, the pad at LC-39A suffered extensive damage, in particular to the concrete trench used to deflect the SRB's flames. Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. [31] From there, the crew took shelter in a bunker. Once separated from the Saturn V, the Apollo spacecraft was at the mercy of the Service Module engine for mid-course corrections and for the critical maneuver of slipping into the moon’s weaker gravitational orbit. Apollo 11 VR is the story of the greatest journey ever taken by humankind. The LCC was connected to the Mobile Launcher Platforms by a high-speed data link; and during launch a system of 62 closed-circuit television cameras transmitted to 100 monitor screens in the LCC.[19]. It was to serve as a multi-purpose site that allowed companies to test the vehicles and capabilities of the smaller class of rockets, making it more affordable for smaller companies to break into the commercial spaceflight market. The first shuttle flight to use it was STS-51-L, which ended with the Challenger disaster, after which the first return-to-flight mission, STS-26, was launched from 39B. Those included a seismograph for measuring “moonquakes” and the Laser Ranging Retroreflector for measuring the precise distance of the moon from Earth. It has been 50 years since Apollo 11 first put a man on the Moon. Where did the launch take place? [19], After the ML was set in place, the crawler-transporter rolled a 410-foot (125 m), 10,490,000-pound (4,760 t) Mobile Service Structure (MSS) into place to provide further access for technicians to perform a detailed checkout of the vehicle, and to provide necessary umbilical connections to the pad. “I think Armstrong was comfortable,” says Neufeld. They would remain inside a mobile medical quarantine facility (resembling a modified Airstream trailer) for 21 days before being cleared to return to their families. The pad has also been leased for use by NASA to aerospace company Northrup Grumman, for use as a launch site for their Shuttle-derived OmegA launch vehicle, for National Security Space Launch flights and commercial launches. While Cape Canaveral's Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) was undergoing reconstruction after the loss of the AMOS-6 satellite on September 1, 2016, all SpaceX's east coast launches were from Pad 39A until SLC-40 became operational again in December 2017. The second Falcon Heavy flight, carrying the Arabsat-6A communications satellite for Arabsat of Saudi Arabia, successfully launched on April 11, 2019. Pad 39A was never built, and 39C became 39A in 1963. [11] During the 1920s, Peter E. Studebaker Jr., son of the automobile magnate, built a small casino at De Soto Beach eight miles (13 km) north of the Canaveral lighthouse. The numbering of the pads at the time was from north to south, with the northernmost being 39A, and the southernmost being 39C. [16] NASA began acquisition of land in 1962, taking title to 131 square miles (340 km2) by outright purchase and negotiating with the state of Florida for an additional 87 square miles (230 km2). Removal of the top floor of the fixed service structure on LC-39B (March 2011). In 2018, SpaceX made further modifications to LC 39A to prepare it to accommodate the manned Dragon 2. Want more HISTORY? [28] The water muffled the intense sound waves produced by the engines. [55] In the following months, the Falcon Heavy launch was delayed multiple times and eventually pushed back to February 2018.[58]. Four days later, on July 20, Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the Moon's surface. The "room" was constructed of reinforced concrete and protected by up to 20 feet (6.1 m) of fill dirt.[24][25]. This last move, known as lunar orbit insertion, went off without a hitch, swinging the astronauts around the moon at 62 miles above the lunar surface. Find out more about how it happened. The second uncrewed launch, Apollo 6, also used Pad 39A. [43][38][68], SpaceX assembles its launch vehicles horizontally in a hangar near the pad, and transports them horizontally to the pad before erecting the vehicle to vertical for the launch. [66][67], SpaceX has launched their launch vehicles from Launch Complex 39A and built a new hangar nearby. It was rolled back 6,900 feet (2,100 m) to a parking position shortly before launch. In an emergency, the launch complex used a slidewire escape basket system for quick evacuation. NASA began modifying Launch Complex 39B in 2007 to accommodate the now defunct Constellation program, and is currently preparing it for the Artemis program,[6][7] whose first launch is scheduled for no earlier than 2021. Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39 (LC-39) ist ein aktiver Startplatz der NASA und der einzige Startplatz im Kennedy Space Center. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! When the lunar launch complex was designed, it was designated as Launch Complex 39. Apollo, Moon-landing project conducted by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the 1960s and ’70s. “There’s only one ascent engine and it’s got to light. and the cancellation of Constellation Program in 2010, the future of the Launch Complex 39 pads was uncertain. An elevated water tank on a 290-foot (88 m) tower near each pad stored 300,000 U.S. gallons (1,100,000 liters) of water, which was released onto the mobile launcher platform just before engine ignition. Endeavour was ready for a contingency mission in case of trouble with Atlantis. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin raise the American flag on the moon. Launch Complex 39C is a new facility for small-lift launch vehicles. A Sound Suppression Water System (SSWS) was added to protect the Space Shuttle and its payload from effects of the intense sound wave pressure generated by its engines. 1 st step taken lunar surface (CDR). A total of thirteen Saturn Vs were launched for Apollo, and the uncrewed launch of the Skylab space station in 1973. The pads were located 8,730 feet (2,660 m) away from each other. [33] The subsequent investigation found that the damage was the result of carbonation of epoxy and corrosion of steel anchors that held the refractory bricks in the trench in place. It was built in 2015 within the Launch Complex 39B perimeter. Having two deflectors allowed for one to be used while the other was being refurbished after a previous launch. [76] This document included plans for the construction of additional structures at LC-39A to support Starship launches, including a dedicated pad, liquid methane tanks, and a Landing Zone. Congressional approval led to the launch of the Apollo program, which required a massive expansion of NASA operations, including an expansion of launch operations from the Cape to adjacent Merritt Island to the north and west. The three-man crew reunited in the CSM, jettisoned the LM for good and set course for home. Due to the nature of these activities, required quantity-distance arcs, launch hazard impact limit lines, other safety setbacks, and exposure limits will be specified for safe operations. The payload to be installed at the launch pad was independently transported in a payload transportation canister and then installed vertically at the Payload Changeout Room. “In what’s become a famous moment,” says Neufeld, “Armstrong took over manual control and began maneuvering the spacecraft forward faster so it would skate over the crater to a clear spot beyond it.”. "As America's premier spaceport, we're always looking for new and innovative ways to meet America's launch needs, and one area that was missing was small class payloads", Cabana said. [65], The SpaceX Demo-2 − the first crewed test flight of the Crew Dragon "Endeavour" spacecraft, with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on board launched from Complex 39A on May 30, 2020 and docked to Pressurized Mating Adapter 2 on the Harmony module of the ISS on May 31, 2020. The third stage of the Saturn then fired to start the crew on their 376,400-km (234,000-mile) journey to the Moon. On July 16, 1969, the huge, 363-feet tall Saturn V rocket launches on the Apollo 11 mission from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, Kennedy Space Center, at 9:32 a.m. EDT. [12], In 1948, the Navy transferred the former Banana River Naval Air Station, located south of Cape Canaveral, to the Air Force for use in testing captured German V-2 rockets. [17], At the time, the highest numbered launch pad at CCAFS was Launch Complex 37. At the last minute, with fuel supplies running dangerously low, Armstrong realized that the computer’s auto-landing program was dropping them in the middle of a boulder-strewn crater. [19], The umbilical tower contained two elevators and nine retractable swing arms that were extended to the space vehicle—to provide access to each of the three rocket stages and the spacecraft for people, wiring, and plumbing—while the vehicle was on the launch pad and were swung away from the vehicle at launch. July 16th, 1969 at 9:32 am EDT. The Crawlerway was built with the additional pads in mind. Michael Neufeld, a senior curator in the space history department of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, says that the ignition of the Saturn V boosters was the first of many tense moments on Apollo 11. Apollo 8 "Earthrise" Taken aboard Apollo 8 by Bill Anders, this iconic picture shows Earth peeking out from beyond the lunar surface as the first crewed spacecraft circumnavigated the Moon. The ML and unfueled vehicle together weighed 12,600,000 pounds (5,715 t). A smaller pad, also designated 39C, was constructed from January to June 2015, to accommodate small-lift launch vehicles.[10]. According to the museum, the free performance, dubbed “ Apollo 50: Go for the Moon,” is set to take place at 9:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. both Friday and Saturday. Apollo 11 astronauts (L-R) Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin peering out a quarantine room window aboard recovery ship Hornet following splashdown from their historic moon mission. While the External Tank was being fueled, hazardous gas was vented from an internal hydrogen tank, through the GUCP, and out a vent line to a flare stack where it was burned off at a safe distance. During a launch, it deflected the launch vehicle's rocket exhaust flame into a trench measuring 43 feet (13 m) deep by 59 feet (18 m) wide by 449 feet (137 m) long. Neufeld says that this was another nail-biter moment for folks like him watching at home. The Lunar Module ascent stage with moon-walking astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr. approaching for a rendezvous with the Apollo Command Module manned by Michael Collins. [51][52] The work on both the HIF building and the pad was substantially complete by late 2015. The Apollo Lunar Module known as the Eagle descends onto the surface of the moon during the Apollo 11 mission, 20th July 1969. Watch the full episode of Moon Landing: The Lost Tapes. The capsule had to enter the atmosphere at a razor-precise angle. The original structure of the pads was remodeled for the needs of the Space Shuttle, starting with Pad 39A after the last Saturn V launch, and, in 1977, that of Pad 39B after the Apollo-Soyuz in 1975. [30] The GUCP released from the ET at launch and fell away with a curtain of water sprayed across it for protection from flames. After traveling 240,000 miles [56], Pad 39A is used to host launches of astronauts on the Crew Dragon capsule in a public–private partnership with NASA. Prior to the SpaceX lease agreement, the pad remained as it was when Atlantis launched on the final shuttle mission on July 8, 2011, complete with a mobile launcher platform. The 2007 Site Evaluation Study recommended an additional vertical launch pad, Launch Complex 49 (LC-49), to be sited north of existing LC-39B. Pad 39E would have been due north of the midpoint between 39C and 39D, with 39E forming the top of a triangle, and equidistant from 39C and 39D.