|Named after||John F. Kennedy|
|Formation||July 1, 1962|
|Janet E. Petro|
|US$329 million [ needs update ] (2020)|
|10,479 [ needs update ] (2020)|
|Launch Operations Center|
|Part of a series on the|
The John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC, originally known as the NASA Launch Operations Center), located on Merritt Island, Florida, is one of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) ten field centers. Since December 1968, KSC has been NASA's primary launch center of human spaceflight. Launch operations for the Apollo, Skylab and Space Shuttle programs were carried out from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39 and managed by KSC.Located on the east coast of Florida, KSC is adjacent to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS). The management of the two entities work very closely together, share resources and operate facilities on each other's property.
Though the first Apollo flights and all Project Mercury and Project Gemini flights took off from the then-Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the launches were managed by KSC and its previous organization, the Launch Operations Directorate.Starting with the fourth Gemini mission, the NASA launch control center in Florida (Mercury Control Center, later the Launch Control Center) began handing off control of the vehicle to the Mission Control Center in Houston, shortly after liftoff; in prior missions it held control throughout the entire mission.
Additionally, the center manages launch of robotic and commercial crew missions and researches food production and In-Situ Resource Utilization for off-Earth exploration.Since 2010, the center has worked to become a multi-user spaceport through industry partnerships, even adding a new launch pad (LC-39C) in 2015.
There are about 700 facilities and buildings grouped across the center's 144,000 acres (580 km2). Among the unique facilities at KSC are the 525-foot (160 m) tall Vehicle Assembly Building for stacking NASA's largest rockets, the Launch Control Center, which conducts space launches at KSC, the Operations and Checkout Building, which houses the astronauts dormitories and suit-up area, a Space Station factory, and a 3-mile (4.8 km) long Shuttle Landing Facility. There is also a Visitor Complex open to the public on site.
The military had been performing launch operations since 1949 at what would become Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. In December 1959, the Department of Defense transferred 5,000 personnel and the Missile Firing Laboratory to NASA to become the Launch Operations Directorate under NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.
President John F. Kennedy's 1961 goal of a crewed lunar landing by 1970 required an expansion of launch operations. On July 1, 1962, the Launch Operations Directorate was separated from MSFC to become the Launch Operations Center (LOC). Also, Cape Canaveral was inadequate to host the new launch facility design required for the mammoth 363-foot (111 m) tall, 7,500,000-pound-force (33,000 kN) thrust Saturn V rocket, which would be assembled vertically in a large hangar and transported on a mobile platform to one of several launch pads. Therefore, the decision was made to build a new LOC site located adjacent to Cape Canaveral on Merritt Island.
NASA began land acquisition in 1962, buying title to 131 square miles (340 km2) and negotiating with the state of Florida for an additional 87 square miles (230 km2). The major buildings in KSC's Industrial Area were designed by architect Charles Luckman. Construction began in November 1962, and Kennedy visited the site twice in 1962, and again just a week before his assassination on November 22, 1963.
On November 29, 1963, the facility was given its current name by President Lyndon B. Johnson under Executive Order 11129.Johnson's order joined both the civilian LOC and the military Cape Canaveral station ("the facilities of Station No. 1 of the Atlantic Missile Range") under the designation "John F. Kennedy Space Center", spawning some confusion joining the two in the public mind. NASA Administrator James E. Webb clarified this by issuing a directive stating the Kennedy Space Center name applied only to the LOC, while the Air Force issued a general order renaming the military launch site Cape Kennedy Air Force Station.
Located on Merritt Island, Florida, the center is north-northwest of Cape Canaveral on the Atlantic Ocean, midway between Miami and Jacksonville on Florida's Space Coast, due east of Orlando. It is 34 miles (55 km) long and roughly six miles (9.7 km) wide, covering 219 square miles (570 km2). KSC is a major central Florida tourist destination and is approximately one hour's drive from the Orlando area. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers public tours of the center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Because much of the installation is a restricted area and only nine percent of the land is developed, the site also serves as an important wildlife sanctuary; Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral National Seashore are other features of the area. Center workers can encounter bald eagles, American alligators, wild boars, eastern diamondback rattlesnakes, the endangered Florida panther [ citation needed ] and Florida manatees.
From 1967 through 1973, there were 13 Saturn V launches, including the ten remaining Apollo missions after Apollo 7. The first of two uncrewed flights, Apollo 4 (Apollo-Saturn 501) on November 9, 1967, was also the first rocket launch from KSC. The Saturn V's first crewed launch on December 21, 1968, was Apollo 8's lunar orbiting mission. The next two missions tested the Lunar Module: Apollo 9 (Earth orbit) and Apollo 10 (lunar orbit). Apollo 11, launched from Pad A on July 16, 1969, made the first Moon landing on July 20. The Apollo 11 launch included crewmembers Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin, and attracted a record-breaking 650 million television viewers.Apollo 12 followed four months later. From 1970 to 1972, the Apollo program concluded at KSC with the launches of missions 13 through 17.
On May 14, 1973, the last Saturn V launch put the Skylab space station in orbit from Pad 39A. By this time, the Cape Kennedy pads 34 and 37 used for the Saturn IB were decommissioned, so Pad 39B was modified to accommodate the Saturn IB, and used to launch three crewed missions to Skylab that year, as well as the final Apollo spacecraft for the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project in 1975.
As the Space Shuttle was being designed, NASA received proposals for building alternative launch-and-landing sites at locations other than KSC, which demanded study. KSC had important advantages, including its existing facilities; location on the Intracoastal Waterway; and its southern latitude, which gives a velocity advantage to missions launched in easterly near-equatorial orbits. Disadvantages included: its inability to safely launch military missions into polar orbit, since spent boosters would be likely to fall on the Carolinas or Cuba; corrosion from the salt air; and frequent cloudy or stormy weather. Although building a new site at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico was seriously considered, NASA announced its decision in April 1972 to use KSC for the shuttle.Since the Shuttle could not be landed automatically or by remote control, the launch of Columbia on April 12, 1981 for its first orbital mission STS-1, was NASA's first crewed launch of a vehicle that had not been tested in prior uncrewed launches.
In 1976, the VAB's south parking area was the site of Third Century America, a science and technology display commemorating the U.S. Bicentennial. Concurrent with this event, the U.S. flag was painted on the south side of the VAB. During the late 1970s, LC-39 was reconfigured to support the Space Shuttle. Two Orbiter Processing Facilities were built near the VAB as hangars with a third added in the 1980s.
KSC's 2.9-mile (4.7 km) Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) was the orbiters' primary end-of-mission landing site, although the first KSC landing did not take place until the tenth flight, when Challenger completed STS-41-B on February 11, 1984; the primary landing site until then was Edwards Air Force Base in California, subsequently used as a backup landing site. The SLF also provided a return-to-launch-site (RTLS) abort option, which was not utilized. The SLF is among the longest runways in the world.
After 24 successful shuttle flights, Challenger was torn apart 73 seconds after the launch of STS-51-L on January 28, 1986; the first shuttle launch from Pad 39B and the first U.S. crewed launch failure, killing the seven crew members. An O-ring seal in the right booster rocket failed at liftoff, leading to subsequent structural failures. Flights resumed on September 29, 1988, with STS-26 after modifications to many aspects of the shuttle program.
On February 1, 2003, Columbia and her crew of seven were lost during re-entry over Texas during the STS-107 mission (the 113th shuttle flight); a vehicle breakup triggered by damage sustained during launch from Pad 39A on January 16, when a piece of foam insulation from the orbiter's external fuel tank struck the orbiter's left-wing. During reentry, the damage created a hole allowing hot gases to melt the wing structure. Like the Challenger disaster, the resulting investigation and modifications interrupted shuttle flight operations at KSC for more than two years until the STS-114 launch on July 26, 2005.
The shuttle program experienced five main engine shutdowns at LC-39, all within four seconds before launch; and one Abort to Orbit, STS-51-F on July 29, 1985. Shuttle missions during nearly 30 years of operations included deploying satellites and interplanetary probes, conducting space science and technology experiments, visits to the Russian MIR space station, construction and servicing of the International Space Station, deployment and servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope and serving as a space laboratory. The shuttle was retired from service in July 2011 after 135 launches.
On October 28, 2009, the Ares I-X launch from Pad 39B was the first uncrewed launch from KSC since the Skylab workshop in 1973.
Beginning in 1958, NASA and military worked side by side on robotic mission launches (previously referred to as unmanned),cooperating as they broke ground in the field. In the early 1960s, NASA had as many as two robotic mission launches a month. The frequent number of flights allowed for quick evolution of the vehicles, as engineers gathered data, learned from anomalies and implemented upgrades. In 1963, with the intent of KSC ELV work focusing on the ground support equipment and facilities, a separate Atlas/Centaur organization was formed under NASA's Lewis Center (now Glenn Research Center (GRC)), taking that responsibility from the Launch Operations Center (aka KSC).
Though almost all robotics missions launched from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS), KSC "oversaw the final assembly and testing of rockets as they arrived at the Cape."In 1965, KSC's Unmanned Launch Operations directorate became responsible for all NASA uncrewed launch operations, including those at Vandenberg Space Force Base. From the 1950s to 1978, KSC chose the rocket and payload processing facilities for all robotic missions launching in the U.S., overseeing their near launch processing and checkout. In addition to government missions, KSC performed this service for commercial and foreign missions also, though non-U.S. government entities provided reimbursement. NASA also funded Cape Canaveral Space Force Station launch pad maintenance and launch vehicle improvements.
All this changed with the Commercial Space Launch Act of 1984, after which NASA only coordinated its own and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ELV launches. Companies were able to "operate their own launch vehicles"and utilize NASA's launch facilities. Payload processing handled by private firms also started to occur outside of KSC. Reagan's 1988 space policy furthered the movement of this work from KSC to commercial companies. That same year, launch complexes on Cape Canaveral Air Force Force Station started transferring from NASA to Air Force Space Command management.
In the 1990s, though KSC was not performing the hands-on ELV work, engineers still maintained an understanding of ELVs and had contracts allowing them insight into the vehicles so they could provide knowledgeable oversight. KSC also worked on ELV research and analysis and the contractors were able to utilize KSC personnel as a resource for technical issues. KSC, with the payload and launch vehicle industries, developed advances in automation of the ELV launch and ground operations to enable competitiveness of U.S. rockets against the global market.
In 1998, the Launch Services Program (LSP) formed at KSC, pulling together programs (and personnel) that already existed at KSC, GRC, Goddard Space Flight Center, and more to manage the launch of NASA and NOAA robotic missions. Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and VAFB are the primary launch sites for LSP missions, though other sites are occasionally used. LSP payloads such as the Mars Science Laboratory have been processed at KSC before being transferred to a launch pad on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
As the International Space Station modules design began in the early 1990s, KSC began to work with other NASA centers and international partners to prepare for processing before launch onboard the Space Shuttles. KSC utilized its hands-on experience processing the 22 Spacelab missions in the Operations and Checkout Building to gather expectations of ISS processing. These experiences were incorporated into the design of the Space Station Processing Facility (SSPF), which began construction in 1991. The Space Station Directorate formed in 1996. KSC personnel were embedded at station module factories for insight into their processes.
From 1997 to 2007, KSC planned and performed on the ground integration tests and checkouts of station modules: three Multi-Element Integration Testing (MEIT) sessions and the Integration Systems Test (IST). Numerous issues were found and corrected that would have been difficult to nearly impossible to do on-orbit.
Today KSC continues to process ISS payloads from across the world before launch along with developing its experiments for on orbit.The proposed Lunar Gateway would be manufactured and processed at the Space Station Processing Facility.
The following are current programs and initiatives at Kennedy Space Center:
The KSC Industrial Area, where many of the center's support facilities are located, is 5 miles (8 km) south of LC-39. It includes the Headquarters Building, the Operations and Checkout Building and the Central Instrumentation Facility. The astronaut crew quarters are in the O&C; before it was completed, the astronaut crew quarters were located in Hangar S at the Cape Canaveral Missile Test Annex (now Cape Canaveral Space Force Station). Located at KSC was the Merritt Island Spaceflight Tracking and Data Network station (MILA), a key radio communications and spacecraft tracking complex.
Facilities at the Kennedy Space Center are directly related to its mission to launch and recover missions. Facilities are available to prepare and maintain spacecraft and payloads for flight.The Headquarters (HQ) Building houses offices for the Center Director, library, film and photo archives, a print shop and security. When the KSC Library first opened, it was part of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency. However, in 1965, the library moved into three separate sections in the newly opened NASA headquarters before eventually becoming a single unit in 1970. The library contains over four million items related to the history and the work at Kennedy. As one of ten NASA center libraries in the country, their collection focuses on engineering, science, and technology. The archives contain planning documents, film reels, and original photographs covering the history of KSC. The library is not open to the public but is available for KSC, Space Force, and Navy employees who work on site. Many of the media items from the collection are digitized and available through NASA's KSC Media Gallery or through their more up-to-date Flickr gallery.
A new Headquarters Building was completed in 2019 as part of the Central Campus consolidation. Groundbreaking began in 2014.
The center operated its own 17-mile (27 km) short-line railroad. This operation was discontinued in 2015, with the sale of its final two locomotives. A third had already been donated to a museum. The line was costing $1.3 million annually to maintain.
Launch Complex 39 (LC-39) was originally built for the Saturn V, the largest and most powerful operational launch vehicle in history, for the Apollo crewed Moon landing program. Since the end of the Apollo program in 1972, LC-39 has been used to launch every NASA human space flight, including Skylab (1973), the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (1975), and the Space Shuttle program (1981–2011).
Since December 1968, all launch operations have been conducted from launch pads A and B at LC-39. Both pads are on the ocean, 3 miles (4.8 km) east of the VAB. From 1969 to 1972, LC-39 was the "Moonport" for all six Apollo crewed Moon landing missions using the Saturn V, and was used from 1981 to 2011 for all Space Shuttle launches.
Human missions to the Moon required the large three-stage Saturn V rocket, which was 363 feet (111 meters) tall and 33 feet (10 meters) in diameter. At KSC, Launch Complex 39 was built on Merritt Island to accommodate the new rocket. Construction of the $800 million project began in November 1962. LC-39 pads A and B were completed by October 1965 (planned Pads C, D and E were canceled), the VAB was completed in June 1965, and the infrastructure by late 1966.
The complex includes:
Launch Complex 48 (LC-48) is a multi-user launch site under construction for small launchers and spacecraft. It will be located between Launch Complex 39A and Space Launch Complex 41, with LC-39A to the north and SLC-41 to the south.LC-48 will be constructed as a "clean pad" to support multiple launch systems with differing propellant needs. While initially only planned to have a single pad, the complex is capable of being expanded to two at a later date.
As a part of promoting commercial space industry growth in the area and the overall center as a multi-user spaceport,KSC leases some of its properties. Here are some major examples:
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, operated by Delaware North since 1995, has a variety of exhibits, artifacts, displays and attractions on the history and future of human and robotic spaceflight. Bus tours of KSC originate from here. The complex also includes the separate Apollo/Saturn V Center, north of the VAB and the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame, six miles west near Titusville. There were 1.5 million visitors in 2009. It had some 700 employees.
It was announced on May 29, 2015, that the Astronaut Hall of Fame exhibit would be moved from its current location to another location within the Visitor Complex to make room for an upcoming high-tech attraction entitled "Heroes and Legends". The attraction, designed by Orlando-based design firm Falcon's Treehouse, opened November 11, 2016.
In March 2016, the visitor center unveiled the new location of the iconic countdown clock at the complex's entrance; previously, the clock was located with a flagpole at the press site. The clock was originally built and installed in 1969 and listed with the flagpole in the National Register of Historic Places in January 2000.In 2019, NASA celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo program, and the launch of Apollo 10 on May 18. In summer of 2019, Lunar Module 9 (LM-9) was relocated to the Apollo/Saturn V Center as part of an initiative to rededicate the center and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Program.
NASA lists the following Historic Districts at KSC; each district has multiple associated facilities:
There are 24 historic properties outside of these historic districts, including the Space Shuttle Atlantis, Vehicle Assembly Building, Crawlerway, and Operations and Checkout Building.KSC has one National Historic Landmark, 78 National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) listed or eligible sites, and 100 Archaeological Sites.
Florida's peninsular shape and temperature contrasts between land and ocean provide ideal conditions for electrical storms, earning Central Florida the reputation as "lightning capital of the United States".This makes extensive lightning protection and detection systems necessary to protect employees, structures and spacecraft on launch pads. On November 14, 1969, Apollo 12 was struck by lightning just after lift-off from Pad 39A, but the flight continued safely. The most powerful lightning strike recorded at KSC occurred at LC-39B on August 25, 2006, while shuttle Atlantis was being prepared for STS-115. NASA managers were initially concerned that the lightning strike caused damage to Atlantis, but none was found.
On September 7, 2004, Hurricane Frances directly hit the area with sustained winds of 70 miles per hour (110 km/h) and gusts up to 94 miles per hour (151 km/h), the most damaging storm to date. The Vehicle Assembly Building lost 1,000 exterior panels, each 3.9 feet (1.2 m) x 9.8 feet (3.0 m) in size. This exposed 39,800 sq ft (3,700 m2) of the building to the elements. Damage occurred to the south and east sides of the VAB. The shuttle's Thermal Protection System Facility suffered extensive damage. The roof was partially torn off and the interior suffered water damage. Several rockets on display in the center were toppled. Further damage to KSC was caused by Hurricane Wilma in October 2005.
The conservative estimate by NASA is that the Space Center will experience 5 to 8 inches of sea level rise by the 2050s. Launch Complex 39A, the site of the Apollo 11 launch, is the most vulnerable to flooding, and has a 14% annual risk of flooding beginning in 2020.
Since KSC's formation, ten NASA officials have served as directors, including three former astronauts (Crippen, Bridges and Cabana):
|Dr. Kurt H. Debus||July 1962||November 1974|
|Lee R. Scherer||January 19, 1975||September 2, 1979|
|Richard G. Smith||September 26, 1979||August 2, 1986|
|Forrest S. McCartney||August 31, 1987||December 31, 1991|
|Robert L. Crippen||January 1992||January 1995|
|Jay F. Honeycutt||January 1995||March 2, 1997|
|Roy D. Bridges, Jr.||March 2, 1997||August 9, 2003|
|James W. Kennedy||August 9, 2003||January 2007|
|William W. Parsons||January 2007||October 2008|
|Robert D. Cabana||October 2008||May 2021|
|Janet E. Petro||June 2021||Present|
When KSC separated from Marshall Space Flight Center in July 1962, it took 375 employees with it.
In May 1965, KSC had 7,000 employees and contractors move from rented space in Cocoa Beach to the new Merritt Island facilities. The peak number of persons working at the center was 26,000 in 1968 (3,000 were civil servants). In 1970, President Nixon announced intent to reduce the cost of space operations and major cuts occurred at KSC. By 1974, KSC's workforce was down to 10,000 employees (2,408 civil servants).
A total of 13,100 people worked at the center as of 2011. Approximately 2,100 are employees of the federal government; the rest are contractors.The average annual salary for an on-site worker in 2008 was $77,235.
The end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011, preceded by the cancellation of Constellation Program in 2010, produced a significant downsizing of the KSC workforce similar to that experienced at the end of the Apollo program in 1972. As part of this downsizing, 6,000 contractors lost their jobs at the center during 2010 and 2011.
In addition to being frequently featured in documentaries, Kennedy Space Center has been portrayed on film many times. Some studio movies have even gained access and filmed scenes within the gates of the space center. If extras are needed in those scenes, space center employees are recruited (employees use personal time during filming). Films with scenes at KSC include:
Several television shows have had KSC as one of the primary settings, though not necessarily with any scenes filmed on center:
British-Irish band One Direction also filmed their music video for "Drag Me Down" at KSC.
Kennedy Space Center serves as the location of the final battle near the end of Stone Ocean between the Joestar Group and Enrico Pucci.
The Space Shuttle program was the fourth human spaceflight program carried out by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which accomplished routine transportation for Earth-to-orbit crew and cargo from 1981 to 2011. Its official name, Space Transportation System (STS), was taken from a 1969 plan for a system of reusable spacecraft of which it was the only item funded for development.
The George C. Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), located in Huntsville, Alabama, is the U.S. government's civilian rocketry and spacecraft propulsion research center. As the largest NASA center, MSFC's first mission was developing the Saturn launch vehicles for the Apollo program. Marshall has been the lead center for the Space Shuttle main propulsion and external tank; payloads and related crew training; International Space Station (ISS) design and assembly; computers, networks, and information management; and the Space Launch System (SLS). Located on the Redstone Arsenal near Huntsville, MSFC is named in honor of General of the Army George C. Marshall.
The Vehicle Assembly Building, or VAB, is a large building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC), designed to assemble large pre-manufactured space vehicle components, such as the massive Saturn V and the Space Shuttle, and stack them vertically onto one of three mobile launcher platforms used by NASA. As of July 2021, the first Space Launch System (SLS) rocket is being assembled inside, in preparation for the Artemis 1 mission.
Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS) is an installation of the United States Space Force's Space Launch Delta 45, located on Cape Canaveral in Brevard County, Florida.
STS-38 was a Space Shuttle mission by NASA using the Space Shuttle Atlantis. It was the 37th shuttle mission, and carried a classified payload for the U.S. Department of Defense. It was the 7th flight for Atlantis and the 7th flight dedicated to the Department of Defense. The mission was a 4-day mission that traveled more than 2 million miles and completed 79 revolutions. Atlantis landed at Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility's runway 33. The launch was originally scheduled for July 1990, but was rescheduled due to a hydrogen leak found on Space ShuttleColumbia during the STS-35 countdown. During a rollback to the Orbiter Processing Facility Atlantis was damaged during a hail storm. The eventual launch date of 15 November 1990 was set due to a payload problem. The launch window was between 18:30 and 22:30 EST. The launch occurred at 18:48 EST.
Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF) is a class of hangars where U.S. Space Shuttle orbiters underwent maintenance between flights. They are located west of the Vehicle Assembly Building, where the orbiter was mated with its External Tank and Solid Rocket Boosters before transport to the launch pad. OPF-1 and OPF-2 are connected with a low bay between them, while OPF-3 is across the street.
Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) is the first of Launch Complex 39's two launch pads, located at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida. The pad, along with Launch Complex 39B, were first designed for the Saturn V launch vehicle, which is still the United States' most powerful rocket. Typically used to launch NASA's crewed spaceflight missions since the late 1960s, the pad was leased by SpaceX and has been modified to support their launch vehicles.
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.
Miguel Rodríguez is the Chief of the Integration Office of the Cape Canaveral Spaceport Management Office.
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is the visitor center at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida. It features exhibits and displays, historic spacecraft and memorabilia, shows, two IMAX theaters, and a range of bus tours of the spaceport. The "Space Shuttle Atlantis" exhibit contains the Atlantis orbiter and the Shuttle Launch Experience, a simulated ride into space. The center also provides astronaut training experiences, including a multi-axial chair and Mars Base simulator. The visitor complex also has daily presentations from a veteran NASA astronaut. A bus tour, included with admission, encompasses the separate Apollo/Saturn V Center. There were 1.7 million visitors to the visitor complex in 2016.
Space Launch Complex 6 at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California is a launch pad and support area. The site was originally developed for Titan III rockets and the Manned Orbiting Laboratory, but these were cancelled before construction of SLC-6 was complete. The complex was later rebuilt to serve as the west coast launch site for the Space Shuttle, but went unused due to budget, safety and political considerations. The pad was subsequently used for several Athena rocket launches before being modified to support the Delta IV launch vehicle family, which have used the pad since 2006.
The Launch Control Center (LCC) is a four-story building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida, used to manage launches of launch vehicles from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39. Attached to the southeast corner of the Vehicle Assembly Building, the LCC contains offices; telemetry, tracking, and instrumentation equipment; and firing rooms.
Launch Complex 34 (LC-34) is a deactivated launch site on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida. LC-34 and its companion LC-37 to the north were used by NASA from 1961 through 1968 to launch Saturn I and IB rockets as part of the Apollo program. It was the site of the Apollo 1 fire, which claimed the lives of astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee on January 27, 1967. The first crewed Apollo launch — Apollo 7 on October 11, 1968 — was the last time LC-34 was used.
The Launch Complex 39 Press Site is a news media facility at Launch Complex 39 at the John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on Merritt Island, Florida where journalists have observed every U.S. crewed space launch since Apollo 8 in 1968. The site is just south of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB); 3 miles (4.8 km) west-southwest of Pad A, and 3.4 miles (5.4 km) southwest of Pad B.
The Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building (O&C) is a historic building on Merritt Island, Florida, United States. The five-story structure is in the Industrial Area of NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Its has twin-block facilities that include the crew quarter dormitories for astronauts, suit-up preparations prior to their flights, and the other is a large spacecraft workshop used for manufacturing and checking activities on crewed spacecraft. On January 21, 2000, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Launch Complex 39B (LC-39B) is the second of Launch Complex 39's two launch pads, located at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida. The pad, along with Launch Complex 39A, were first designed for the Saturn V launch vehicle, which at the time was the United States' most powerful rocket. Typically used to launch NASA's crewed spaceflight missions since the late 1960s, the pad is currently being reconfigured for use by the agency's Space Launch System rocket, a Shuttle-derived launch vehicle which will be used in the Artemis program and subsequent Moon to Mars campaigns. The pad had also been leased for use by NASA to aerospace company Northrop Grumman, for use as a launch site for their Shuttle-derived OmegA launch vehicle, for National Security Space Launch flights and commercial launches, before the OmegA was cancelled.
The Merritt Island Spaceflight Tracking and Data Network station, known in NASA parlance as MILA, was a radio communications and spacecraft tracking complex located on 61 acres (0.25 km2) at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. The name MILA was an acronym for the "Merritt Island Launch Annex" to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, which was how the site was referred to when spacecraft launches were primarily originating from the adjacent military installation. MILA's arrays of antennas provided various communications and data services between spacecraft and NASA centers, as well as tracked and ranged moving spacecraft. In its final years, it served as the primary voice and data link during the first 7½ minutes of Space Shuttle launches, and the final 13 minutes of shuttle landings at KSC. Though it occupied land at KSC, MILA was operated and managed by the Goddard Space Flight Center.
The NASA Railroad is a Class III industrial short-line railroad at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The railroad consists of 38 miles (61 km) of track connecting the mainline of the Florida East Coast Railway and trackage at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. NASA uses the railroad to deliver large or bulk materials to support its operations, particularly solid rocket boosters and chemicals such as helium and oxygen for rocket fuel.
The 6555th Aerospace Test Group is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the Eastern Space and Missile Center and stationed at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. It was inactivated on 1 October 1990.
There are NASA facilities across the United States and around the world. NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC provides overall guidance and political leadership to the agency. There are 10 NASA field centers, which provide leadership for and execution of NASA's work. All other facilities fall under the leadership of at least one of these field centers. Some facilities serve more than one application for historic or administrative reasons. NASA has used or supported various observatories and telescopes, and an example of this is the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility. In 2013 a NASA Office of the Inspector General's (OIG) Report recommended a Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) style organization to consolidate NASA's little used facilities. The OIG determined at least 33 of NASA's 155 facilities were underutilized.
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