National Aeronautics and Space Administration


www..gov America’s Spaceport John F.

“This generation does not intend to founder in the backwash of the coming age of space. 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Perched atopaJunoIrocket, an. 31,1958,America’ thefamedW m e theirfirsthaltingste med then Army-civilian launchteamwouldformthenucleus y’ .S s MissileFiringLaborator en asthefirstAmericansv yloads toexploremankind’ . w space , ExplorerI,w roc ned itsattentiontothepeacefulexplora ould sendmentothemoon andbac thedecade k . CapeCana ucleus of v ere soaringsk ets car eral b Dr er ohn F nher v . K y amilitar theNationalAeronauticsand r ying sophisticatedinstr . T as launc takings w ur theK . K s (andthefree-w on Braunroc t H.Debus he prog ps bey v ennedy announcedthat eral thunderedwiththe pioneers-American . yw America’ ennedy SpaceCenter y-ci hed fromComplex26 ard fromtheCapeto ond theEar ere planned.InMa y ram, calledApollo . T entured intospace vilian teamof s new , ak his g s first  k 1, 1958. et team,later est frontier orld’ ey member roup th. s) first uments , under k b the y . .  y , , would require the largest rocket ever built – the Construction 363-foot-tall . The Cape, which had served of Pad A at so well up to now, was inadequate as a launch site Spaceport’s for the monstrous vehicle, and another location was Launch needed. Complex 9. The pad hardstand Debus, representing NASA, and Lt. Gen. Leighton contains 68,000 I. Davis, representing the Department of Defense, cubic yards of organized a joint study to find a new launch site. concrete. They considered Hawaii, Texas, the California coast, an island off the coast of Georgia, islands in the Caribbean and Merritt Island (adjacent to the Cape) as possible sites.

The study concluded that Merritt Island offered compelling advantages. Several small communi ties were within easy driving range, and larger cities like Daytona Beach, Vero Beach and Orlando were only slightly farther. Locating on Merritt Island also would allow NASA to share facilities of the Atlantic Missile Range, avoiding costly duplication. Only at this location could the same NASA launch organi Rocket pioneers Wernher von Braun and Kurt zation continue operations on the Cape Canaveral Debus at rollout of the firstApollo/Saturn V complex while building the Spaceport. Debus and from the Vehicle Assembly Building. Von Braun, Davis recommended the acquisition of the northern then director of the Marshall Space Flight part of Merritt Island. The choice was endorsed Center, was responsible for design and by NASA and the Defense Department. Congress development of the Saturn V. Debus, the first authorized NASA to acquire the property. port’s Launch Complex 39 to walk on the moon for explorer to survey and Saturn, a commu director of the Kennedy Space Center, created the first time in history. Following completion of the nications satellite, or an Earth-observing satellite the mobile concept of launch operations used The space agency began acquisition in 1962, taking -Soyuz Test Project in 1975, the facilities of – are assembled and tested in specially designed and at the Spaceport. title to 83,894 acres by outright purchase. NASA ne the Spaceport were modified to support the nation’s equipped laboratories. gotiated with the state of Florida for use of an addi newest launch vehicle: the reusable . tional 55,805 acres (of state-owned submerged land, From the first launch April 18, 1981, through 2005, most of which lies within the Mosquito Lagoon). From Redstone to Saturn to the space shuttle, from KSC launched 114 space shuttle missions. Between The investment in property reached approximately the time of the earliest scientific and applications 1998 and 2002, there were 16 missions supporting $71,872,000. satellites to the threshold of the International Space the International Space Station. Less than a dozen Station era, the Kennedy Space Center has been more are planned to complete construction of this In July 1962, the Launch Operations Directorate the primary launch base for the nation’s manned research facility in space. at the Cape was separated from the Marshall Space and unmanned civilian space programs. It is here, Flight Center by executive order. It became the at America’s Spaceport, that the dreams and aspira Beginning in 1958, the Spaceport team has launched Launch Operations Center, an independent NASA tions of space planners reach fruition – where the more than 300 unmanned space vehicles. These were installation, with Debus as its first director. It was re individual parts of a space mission come together primarily Deltas, Atlas-Centaurs, Atlas-Agenas, and named the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Decem for the first time, to be melded into a single, cohesive -Centaurs. All of these lifted off from NASA- ber 1963, in honor of America’s slain president. element and boosted into space. operated facilities on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. NASA started construction of the massive Apollo- At Launch Complex 39, where were once Elements of the Spaceport team have also conduct Saturn facilities in 1963. In December 1964, launch readied for flight to the moon, engineers and techni ed launch operations for unmanned polar-orbiting The steel framework of the Vehicle Assembly elements of Houston’s Manned Center cians prepare the reusable space shuttle for manned missions from NASA facilities at Vandenberg Air Building rises on Merritt Island during (now the ) were transferred to Earth-orbital missions. Unmanned military and Force Base at the Western Range in California. construction of America’s Spaceport. The low the Kennedy Space Center. The following October, commercial rockets are processed and launched at structure at right is the . Goddard Space Flight Center’s Field Projects Branch complexes on nearby Cape Canaveral, under the At the cusp of the 21st century, IV and Atlas on the Cape was incorporated into the Kennedy oversight of the U.S. Air Force. V launch vehicles were introduced. Space Center. On July 16, 1969, humans departed from the Space Cargoes destined for space – whether a planetary The history of the Kennedy Space Center is a

4 5 chronicle of the Space Age, written in the blinding s the future unravels, the people and resources of America’s Spaceport will con glare and thunder of rockets and space vehicles. Its tinue to be a major force in our nation’s effort to explore and utilize space for the distinguished record of achievement in the develop A benefit of all humanity. ment and conduct of space vehicle checkout and launch operations is unmatched. The men and women of the Kennedy Space Center’s NASA/industry team are a very special resource of the and the world. Their skills and capabilities, many of And so it is today. Kennedy Space Center — Amer which are found only at America’s Spaceport, have been utilized for every American space ica’s Spaceport — has become the “gateway to the flight to date. universe,” home port for voyages of exploration undreamed of centuries ago and staffed by men All who work at the Spaceport are members of the team, even if their jobs are not directly and women who, like their forebears, still dream of involved with launch operations. Most of the hands-on work is performed by contractors. discovering and settling new worlds. The center has a government work force (in round numbers) of approximately 1,800 civil service employees, plus more than 35 resident NASA personnel from other centers. There are about 12,000 contractor employees. These numbers can fluctuate, depending on the Payloads, such as the SHI Research Double programs and responsibilities assigned to the center. Module (SHI/RDM), also known as SPACEHAB, to be carried into orbit by the space shuttle, The largest contractor organization handles space shuttle processing and launch opera are assembled and checked out in specially tions, as well as training and mission operations at the Johnson Space Center. designed and equipped facilities at the At KSC this includes everything from repairing shuttle orbiter tiles to recovering the solid Spaceport. rocket boosters at sea to refurbishing the space shuttle main engines for their next flight.

The second-largest contractor at KSC supports the facility itself, providing upkeep and

People and Facilities maintenance for the buildings and grounds, and operating the support computers and electrical, mechanical, painting, rigging and other shops. The third major contractor is involved with the complicated process of preparing the spacecraft and other payloads for launch. Several other firms provide various operational, support and housekeeping func tions.

Some of the more unusual facilities in which people work are the giant Vehicle Assembly Building, one of the largest enclosed structures in the world; the Orbiter Processing Facility, filled with complicated equipment used to prepare shuttle orbiters for flight; Pads 39A and 39B, from which shuttles lift off; NASA-operated space shuttle support

The elements of a space shuttle are integrated in one of the cavernous high bays of the Vehicle Assembly Building at Launch Complex 9. The platforms slide A Delta rocket lifts off from Complex 17, Cape in and out, allowing workers to reach all levels of the Canaveral. The workhorse of the nation’s vehicle. The orbiter is in the foreground. At the rear space program, Delta has put into orbit more is the huge external tank, bracketed by solid rocket scientific, weather and communications boosters. satellites than all other vehicles of its class In the blockhouse on Launch Complex 6-A, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, members of the combined. NASA-industry launch team make final checks before launch of the GOES-M satellite, one in a series of advanced geostationary weather satellites in service, July , 001. People and Facilities

6  and spacecraft checkout facilities on both KSC and n Oct. 7, 1958, just six days after NASA was formally organized out of the old Cape Canaveral; and a host of other processing and National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the infant agency initiated Project support facilities. Some of the buildings on both the O Mercury, the first American human space flight program. Cape and KSC are specially designed for spacecraft assembly and checkout, and others for hazardous Considering that only four American satellite launch attempts out of 13 had been success work such as installing explosive ordnance and load ful at the time, this was an undertaking of high ambition. The task of making the launch ing propellants. systems, rockets and spacecraft safe enough to risk a human life was a daunting challenge.

The heart of the Kennedy Space Center is its en The Redstone, one of the most reliable launch vehicles then available, was chosen first for gineering work force, both contractor and NASA. “man-rating” – upgrading in reliability to be as safe as human talent and could People with electrical, mechanical, electronic and make it. This meant the pad, the checkout and launch procedures, and the tracking systems computer engineering degrees have the necessary all had to be reexamined. Astronaut escape and rescue systems had to be designed and in background to begin work here. After that, it may stalled, and Kennedy personnel trained in their use. take years to learn some of the more unusual func This Spaceport worker is dwarfed by the tions of their jobs. On May 5, 1961, after extensive preparations and several frustrating and nerve-wracking massive track of a crawler-transporter, which launch attempts, Alan Shepard became the first American to make a suborbital flight. His is used to carry a The engineering departments do their work along Mercury-Redstone vehicle reached an altitude of 116 miles and splashed down about 304 and space shuttle from the Vehicle Assembly with other groups that might be found at any in miles out into the Atlantic. Building to the . Space shuttle launch dustrial facility. Logistics personnel order supplies operations require experience and skills found and keep them available in warehouses. Another nowhere else in the world. organization operates a facilitywide bus system and supplies vehicles for local use. Writing and graph ics departments produce a variety of publications, which are printed on- and offsite. A janitorial force keeps the facilities clean. A guard force provides security.

The diversity of occupations and the pioneering thrust of America’s Spaceport make it a special place to work. Watching a rocket or space shuttle blaze a fiery trail into the sky, hearing and feeling the thunder of its passage, is a fringe benefit not available to many elsewhere.

Readying a for flight is Human Space Flight—The First Era an exacting job. Here Soichi Noguchi, with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA, takes a close look at the some of the tiles underneath Atlantis.

In a Space Station Processing Facility clean room, two workers perform prelaunch processing activities on the Canadian Space Agency’s space station remote manipulator system before it is installed in the cargo bay of an orbiter. The The seven Mercury astronauts, the firstAmericans chosen to venture into the dangerous new mechanism, built in Canada, helps astronaut frontier of space, pose for a group photograph. They are from left to right (front): Walter M. Schirra Human Space Flight crews handle payloads in space. Jr.; Donald K. Slayton; John H. Glenn Jr.; and Scott Carpenter; (back): Alan B. Shepard Jr.; Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom; and L. Gordon Cooper.

8 9 Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom completed two Lunar Module in microgravity. This new vehicle was suborbital flights before anAtlas vehicle roared a lightly built, insect-shaped craft designed to actually off Complex 14 Feb. 0, 196, carrying John descend to the lunar surface. Glenn. After three trips around the world, the Mercury spacecraft he had named Friendship  On May 18, a second Apollo/Saturn V was sent re-entered the atmosphere and parachuted to a toward the moon. This was Apollo 10, flight-test safe landing in the Atlantic Ocean. Glenn became ing another Lunar Module, this one while actually the firstAmerican to orbit the Earth. in lunar orbit. And on July 16, 1969, all the parts, planning, care and labor came together for the launch of . Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr. The first manned Gemini ehiclev was launched subsequently became the first human beings to set March 23, 1965, and the 10th and final one Nov. 11, foot on the surface of another planetary body, while 1966. During the brief span of 20 months, 20 astro their crewmate Michael Collins kept a lonely vigil in nauts were sent into orbit. Seven unmanned target the orbiting Command Module. vehicles were launched in the same time period for rendezvous practice and other associated functions. Through December 1972, the Kennedy team pro When the program was completed, enough had been cessed and launched six more of the giant Apollo/ learned about launching and operating manned ve Saturn V vehicles, maintaining a hectic pace that nev hicles in space to make fulfilling President ennedy’K s er evolved into a repetitive and routine job. A wealth commitment to a moon landing a real possibility. of scientific data and physical artifacts was brought back from the moon; these are still under study For the Apollo lunar landing program, an entirely today. Apollo entered history books as the greatest new family of launch vehicles was required: the mas and most far-reaching feat of scientific exploration sive and powerful Saturns. Eleven launches of humankind. Gus Grissom followed on an almost identical flight were followed by several of the more powerful Apollo 1 heads for Pad A atop its giant Saturn V rocket July 21. The Kennedy team had adapted to the Saturn I-Bs. Both vehicles were initially used to for the last manned flight to the moon. Riding a mobile The was over. But the Kennedy tough new requirements of human space flight and test unmanned elements of the three-man Apollo launcher that towered well over 400 feet into the air, team still had to process and launch one more of America had entered a new era. spacecraft. They were launched from new complexes with a total weight on the crawler-transporter treads of the huge Saturn V vehicles. On May 14, 1973, KSC constructed by NASA on Cape Canaveral. more than 18 million pounds, an Apollo/Saturn V vehicle hurled the world’s first orbital orkshopw , 1, For Mercury orbital flights, NASA selected the larger in motion on the was an awesome and into space. Skylab was actually an inert Saturn V third and more powerful Atlas, until then only used as an unforgettable sight. stage which had been internally modified to function intercontinental ballistic missile by the U.S. Air Force. as a manned scientific laboratory, with three other After two successful missions, the second of which On Nov. 9, 1967, the first Saturn V – 363 feet tall, scientific and operational modules added. carried the chimpanzee Enos into space for two or and still the largest vehicle ever flown – was launched bits, John Glenn was launched Feb. 20, 1962, aboard on a test flight from Complex 39 at the Spaceport. Skylab was launched without an astronaut crew. The a Mercury-Atlas. He became the first American to This powerful three-stage vehicle produced more Kennedy team later sent up three separate crews of complete three circles of the Earth. Glenn was fol than 7.5 million pounds of thrust, equal to about 180 astronauts to occupy it. They were transported by lowed by Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra and Gordon million horsepower – enough to place almost a quar Apollo/Saturn I-B vehicles launched from modified Cooper, the latter staying in orbit a full day after his ter of a million pounds of payload into Earth orbit. facilities at the Spaceport’s Launch Complex 39. Sky- launch on May 15, 1963. lab produced a bonanza of scientific information and Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo mission, lifted proved that humans could work in space for extend The next step in the nation’s human space pro off into Earth orbit Oct. 11, 1968, on a Saturn I-B ed periods of time. The final crew, launched Nov. gram was , which served as a bridge vehicle. And Dec. 21 – just two months later – on 16, 1973, stayed in space for 84 days. This length of between the Mercury flights and the more difficult Apollo 8, the third flightof the Saturn V and the sec time in microgravity remained the record for Ameri Apollo missions to come. For the larger two-man ond manned launch of an Apollo spacecraft, Frank can astronauts until 1995, when Norman Thagard Gemini spacecraft, the Air Force Titan missile was Borman, James Lovell and William Anders flew to exceeded it while working onboard the Russian Space chosen and man-rated. the moon and into orbit around it. Considering the Station Mir. short test history of both the launch vehicle and the A Titan II vehicle carrying the Gemini 11 spacecraft spacecraft, this was a feat of incredible courage and One last mission remained to be flown before Amer heads for space from Launch Complex 19, where all 10 daring. ica entered a long hiatus from human space flight. manned Gemini flights began. Charles Conrad Jr. and On July 15, 1975, the last Apollo/Saturn I-B lifted Richard F. Gordon Jr. made four practice rendezvous The next Apollo/Saturn V (Apollo 9), launched by off from Complex 39. It carried three American with a target vehicle, reached an altitude of 851 miles, the Kennedy Space Center team March 3, 1969, sent astronauts into space to rendezvous with a Russian and flew with the hatch open for more than two hours. three astronauts into Earth orbit to flight-test the Soyuz spacecraft and its crew of two cosmonauts.

10 11 The Apollo-Soyuz Project remained the only such or nearly two decades, NASA had blazed new trails across the heavens with expend international meeting for 20 years, until the Space able vehicles and spacecraft, but the cost had been high. To continue the exploration Shuttle Atlantis rendezvoused and docked with Mir F and utilization of space on a permanent basis, a more economical way to reach orbit in June 1995. was urgently needed. This was apparent well before the end of the Apollo era, and work had already started on a new type of space vehicle. This became the space shuttle, where The Apollo-Soyuz flight also asw the last Ameri the reusable orbiter resembled an airplane and could fly again. The space shuttle required a can manned space vehicle that could fly only once. new philosophy of operations. No longer would a vehicle be prepared for a single flight. In NASA needed a more economical way to get into the future, the same vehicle would return many times to the Kennedy Space Center, to be orbit and safely back to Earth. The era of the reus processed and launched once more. able space shuttle was at hand. The space shuttle was very different from the Apollos and Saturns, and far more sophis ticated and technically complex. It was designed, tested and built with limited funds. To help keep costs down, Kennedy engineers adapted the Apollo launch facilities, rather than building all new ones. The huge Vertical Assembly Building was converted to handle shuttle components, and renamed the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). The three mobile launch The ascent stage of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module ers used for the Saturns were modified to stack and carry the new vehicle, and Pads A and B floats over the eerie, crater-scarred landscape of were given new above-ground configurations. the moon after Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr. successfully lifted off using the descent Some new facilities were mandatory. A 3-mile-long landing strip was one of the first con stage as a stable launch platform. This photo structed. The orbiter would land at Kennedy after enough landing experience had been was taken through the orbiting Apollo spacecraft gained on the extra-long, dry lake beds at in California. A large, window by Michael Collins. After the rendezvous highly specialized two-bay building called the Orbiter Processing Facility was constructed in orbit, the astronauts headed for Earth, seen near the Vehicle Assembly Building. A few years later, a similar building used as a refurbish here, half shadowed in darkness, above the ment facility was upgraded to become the facility’s Bay 3. Spacecraft checkout and assembly bleak lunar horizon. facilities were modified to process and integrate a large number of payloads each year. Many other modifications erew required throughout the center. This rebuilding and conversion process became the main activity at Kennedy during the years following the Apollo-Soyuz flight.

Skylab, the orbital workshop that was a precursor to the International Space Station, floats above a heavily clouded Earth. The solar array on the left side of the

workshop is missing and an improvised sunshade pro­ The Space Shuttle—The Second Era Astronaut Thomas Stafford (center left) and tects the main body from excessive heat accumulation. cosmonaut Aleksey Leonov meet in the module Skylab was repaired in orbit after suffering damage dur­ temporarily connecting their spacecrafts in ing ascent, and went on to complete a highly successful orbit. The Apollo-Soyuz mission was the first mission. It was one of the largest habitable structures international meeting in space. The two vehicles ever placed in orbit at that time. remained docked together for several days, and

astronauts and cosmonauts visited each other ’s The Space Shuttle spacecraft.

Orbiter Atlantis begins backing out of the Orbiter Processing Facility for rollover to the Vehicle Assembly Building, where it will be mated with the external tank and solid rocket boosters for launch.

1 1 Space Shuttle On a Hubble Servicing Mission (STS-10) in 1999, Atlantis inches its astronaut Claude Nicollier, mission specialist from the way to the launch pad, European Space Agency, works at a storage enclosure, in the background. using one of the Hubble power tools, during the second The crawlerway of three extravehicular activities. leading to it (on the right) The , a joint program extends toward of NASA and the European Space Agency, has the horizon. made many contributions. The large telescope was launched in April 1990 aboard Discovery on the STS-31 mission. Hubble made the deepest look into the universe revealing thousands of galaxies, sup porting the fact that the universe made most of its stars long ago (when the universe was one-tenth its present age), and that the vast majority of stars are only one-fifth the mass of our sun. Hubble also made the first surface map of the planet Pluto and discovered that massive black holes are common throughout the universe. Challenger and its crew were lost during the launch The first orbiter intended for space flight, Columbia, of STS-51L, the 25th space shuttle mission. arrived at the Spaceport in March 1979. A great deal of work remained to be done. Both Kennedy and The longest and most intensive investigation ever Johnson Space Center (the lead design agency) were conducted by NASA up to that time indicated the very busy for the next 610 days in the Orbiter Pro primary culprit in the Challenger accident was an in cessing Facility. They had to perform the remaining adequate design of the field joints between the solid assembly work and a series of major modifications. rocket booster segments. These were redesigned and The orbiter then spent another 35 days in the Vehicle retested. Many other critical flight systems erew also Assembly Building and 105 days on Pad A, before re-examined and recertified at the same time. finally lifting off on April 12, 1981. John Young and Robert Crippen became the first two astronauts to The unique checkout and launch facilities at the enter orbit in a reusable spacecraft and to land it like Spaceport, and the detailed procedures and software an airplane at the end of the mission. that determined their operation, were all thoroughly reviewed and improved where necessary. It took 32 The launch of the first space shuttle asw a true months before everyone was satisfied that the ehiclev milestone for KSC. The launch team had learned and its crew were now made as safe as humanly pos new checkout and launch procedures. Two entirely sible for space flight. new sets of computers, called the Launch Processing System, had been installed in two of the old Apollo/ The space shuttle had just started fulfilling its prom Saturn V firing rooms in the Launch Control Center, ise of frequent and economical access to orbit before and crews had been trained in their use. the Challenger accident. A large variety of scientific and commercial spacecraft had been launched. One Once the first space shuttle mission asw over and the expensive scientific spacecraft had been repaired orbiter Columbia returned to Kennedy, the senter in orbit, and two large commercial satellites were again went into high gear. One more space shuttle recovered from improper orbits and returned to the was launched in 1981, three in 1982, four in 1983, ground. Both were later re-launched and entered five in 1984, and nine in 1985 – the latter a total that active service, saving their owners many millions of This wide-angle view shows the Unity connecting module had seemed unobtainable back in 1981. dollars compared to buying new spacecraft. being moved toward the payload bay of the orbiter Endeavour at Launch Pad 9A. Part of the International With a roll of thunder and riding a pillar of flame, Space As 1986 began, NASA was close to having the ability The space shuttle was becoming a true national Space Station, Unity is a connecting passageway to the Shuttle Discovery launches into the blue sky over to launch a space shuttle every month, or 12 per year. and international asset, carrying into space student living and working areas of ISS. While on orbit, the flight America’s Spaceport on mission STS-95. The flight was There were four orbiters in the fleet:(in order of first experiments, small business payloads and foreign crew deployed Unity from the payload bay and attached the second for Mercury astronaut John Glenn Jr. and his flight) Columbia, Challenger, Discovery and Atlantis. payload specialists who accompanied their scientific it to the Russian-built Zarya control module that was in first on the space shuttle. Then, on Jan. 28, tragedy struck. The orbiter experiments to perform them in orbit. orbit at that time.

14 15 The next major task for the space shuttle fleet, the Since the October 2000 launch, there has been per or more than 30 years, NASA’s unmanned space programs compiled an enviable assembly of a permanent manned space station, had manent human presence on the space station. record of achievement in space science and applications. During this span, more than already been authorized by President Ronald Reagan F 300 launches were conducted for programs ranging from solar system exploration to and the Congress in January 1984. But the problems On Feb. 1, 2003, another tragedy struck: The flag improved weather forecasting, global communications and Earth resources studies. These that caused the loss of Challenger and its crew had ship of the fleet, Columbia, asw lost along with its projects, which have more than repaid the nation’s investment in time, money and technical to be found and corrected before space shuttles crew of seven on its return to Kennedy Space Center talent, depended on the development and evolution of a varied fleet of unmanned rockets. could fly again. from mission STS-107. A yearlong formal investiga tion followed. The Columbia Accident Investigation The origins of this fleet erew primarily military. When NASA was created in October 1958, Space Transportation System (STS) 26 lifted off Board (CAIB) report in 2004 concluded: it lacked the launch vehicles and facilities to carry out its mandate to explore space, and drew Sept. 27, 1988, with Discovery as the orbiter. The heavily on rocket systems under development by the armed services. flight asw completely successful. By 2003, space The physical cause of the loss of Columbia and its crew was shuttles had flown 112 missions, more than four a breach in the Thermal Protection System on the leading edge During its first year of operation, for instance, NASA awarded a contract to McDonnell times the 24 safe flights that preceded Challenger’s of the left wing, caused by a piece of insulating foam which Douglas to upgrade the Thor-Able missile, developed under Air Force management, to last flight, and had settled into a steady launch rate of separated from the left bipod ramp section of the External become the Thor-Able-Delta launch vehicle – later known simply as the Delta. A group of about six times a year. Tank at 81.7 seconds after launch, and struck the wing in employees from the Naval Research Laboratory had been at the Cape for some time, launch the vicinity of the lower half of Reinforced Carbon-Carbon ing the early Vanguard vehicles that placed America’s second satellite into orbit. With the On Nov. 20, 1998, the Zarya Control Module, the panel number 8. During re-entry, this breach in the Thermal establishment of NASA, this group became the Launch Operations Branch of the Goddard first component in constructing the International Protection System allowed superheated air to penetrate through Space Flight Center, and later formed the nucleus of the “Unmanned Launch Operations” space station, was launched. In the following four the leading edge insulation and progressively melt the alumi- directorate of the Kennedy Space Center. Another early launch team, from Goddard, was years, the space station grew to include the Russian- num structure of the left wing, resulting in a weakening of responsible for the engineering management and configuration control of the Delta vehicle. built service module, Zvezda; the U.S.-built Unity the structure until increasing aerodynamic forces caused loss of In 1965, this team also was phased over into Kennedy. Node 1; the U.S. Laboratory Destiny; a Canadian- control, failure of the wing, and break-up of the orbiter. built robotic arm to aid in construction; and several Workers on Launch trusses. In addition, Italian-built multi-purpose logis KSC adopted the recommendations of the CAIB for Pad 1-B, Cape tics modules began regular service as cargo modules, improving safety, and worked for an expected return Canaveral Air Force especially for experiments. The date Nov. 2, 2000, to flight in 2005. On ulyJ 26, 2005, Space Shuttle Station, complete marked the first human presence on the space sta Discovery was launched with a crew of seven to the mating of the tion with the three-person crew of Commander Bill International Space Station. After a successful 13-day Exploration Rover 1 Shepherd, Soyuz Commander Yuri Gidzenko and mission that included testing camera views around (MER-B) above, to the Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev. the outside of the orbiter, Discovery returned to Boeing Delta rocket Earth. It landed at Edwards Air Force Base in Cali Unmanned Space Missions below. The second of Thus, NASA’s goal of steady progress toward living fornia August 9, 2005. twin rovers sent to and working on the new frontier of space began. Mars, it is equipped with a robotic arm, a drilling tool, three Space Shuttle Discovery, spectrometers, and atop a modified four pairs of cameras Boeing 4 Shuttle Carrier that allow it to have a Aircraft, is towed to the human-like, -D view of mate/demate device at the terrain. The rovers NASA Kennedy Space landed safely on Mars Center’s Shuttle Landing in 004 and lasted Facility following much longer than the touchdown on runway 15 three months originally on Aug. 1, 005. The planned for. They cross-country ferry flight provided spectacular became necessary when views and data that is two days of unfavorable still being analyzed. weather conditions at KSC forced Discovery to land at Edwards Air Force Base,

California, on Aug. 9 Unmanned Missions following mission STS-114.

16 1 The upgraded Thor-Able vehicle soon acquired the After the last Atlas-Agena was launched in March reputation of being “Dependable Delta.” By the 1968, the Delta and the Atlas- became the end of 1989, more than 180 had been launched by standard unmanned launch vehicles for NASA. One NASA, from facilities on Cape Canaveral and at Van test flight and six operational launches were con denberg Air Force Base in California. This was more ducted of a new, more powerful vehicle, a combina than all other vehicles of an equivalent size com tion of Titan and Centaur. The latter was needed to bined. The Delta has been continuously upgraded launch two spacecraft to the sun, two unusu over the years. ally heavy Vikings to Mars, and two Voyagers to the outer giant gas planets. Delta II rockets can be configured as two- or three- stage launch vehicles with three, four or nine strap- Unmanned Launch Operations continued to place on solid rocket boosters and two sizes of payload the large majority of spacecraft in orbit until the fairings, depending on mission requirements. Delta space shuttle became operational. As the new II rockets can carry payloads ranging from 1,965 system matured, many payloads were shifted from to 4,723 pounds to geosynchronous transfer orbit unmanned launch vehicles to the space shuttle. But (GTO), and 5,934 to 13,281 pounds to low-Earth or after the loss of Challenger and its crew, the decision bit. Two-stage Delta II rockets typically fly low-Earth was made to reserve the space shuttle primarily for orbit missions, while three-stage Delta II vehicles scientific spacecraft. esponsibilityR for the launch generally deliver payloads to GTO or are used for of the Delta, Titan and Atlas-Centaur vehicles was deep space and planetary exploration missions. assumed extensively by their manufacturers and the U.S. Air Force. All three vehicles have been used to The Delta IV is the most advanced family of launch launch payloads for the Air Force, NASA and com vehicles developed by The Boeing Company in part mercial customers on a contract basis. nership with the U.S. Air Force Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program. Delta IV rockets can ac Automated spacecraft have performed some of the Protected by its gantry, a Delta rocket awaits commodate single or multiple payloads on the same most spectacular feats of the American space pro launch under leaden skies at Complex 17. It mission and can carry satellites weighing between gram. Surveyors landed softly on the moon, helping later hurled a GOES weather satellite into a 9,285 pounds and 28,950 pounds to GTO. Delta IV to pave the way for later Apollo missions. Mariners geostationary orbit. Three of the Delta’s five rockets can also launch satellites to polar orbits, sun- provided detailed photographs of the cloud-tops of strap-on solid rocket boosters are visible in synchronous orbits and the International Space Sta Venus and the surfaces of Mars and Mercury. Two this photo. tion orbit with the capability to lift more than 50,000 Viking Landers descended to the surface of Mars At Launch Pad 36-A, Cape Canaveral Air Force pounds to low-Earth orbit. and searched for evidence of life, while two orbiters Station, a Centaur upper stage is mated to the mapped almost the entire planet from overhead. Two lower stage Atlas IIA rocket. NASA also adopted another Air Force-developed Pioneers went to Jupiter, and one flew onward to The rocket is scheduled to launch a NASA stage, the Agena, and combined it with a Thor first Saturn. Two much larger Voyager spacecraft followed GOES satellite. stage. This was the first NASA ehiclev launched from them to both planets, and one of these has now Vandenberg AFB, and the first to have solid motors visited Uranus and Neptune as well. strapped to the outside of the first stage for extra power. NASA launched a total of 12 Thor-Agenas NASA’s ambitious plan to send spacecraft to Mars from the West Coast. The Agena was also adapted to was realized with the November 1996 Mars Global fly on top of an Atlas booster, creating a larger and Surveyor project, which studied the planet’s surface, more powerful combination than either of the other atmosphere, and gravitational and magnetic . two. This vehicle performed well for many missions, One month later, the delivered the but was eventually phased out in favor of a still more rover, named , to Mars’ surface to study powerful combination, the Atlas booster and a new and record data about ancient rocks. The Cassini The salmon sky and red, boulder-strewn stage called Centaur. satellite arrived at Saturn in July 2004. expanse of Mars’ Utopian Plain, as seen by the camera of NASA’ s Viking 2 shortly after Developed under NASA contract by General In June and July of 2003, two Mars Exploration Rov setting down on the planet’s surface Sept. 3, Dynamics, builder of the Atlas, Centaur was the ers, named and , were launched 1976. Portions of the lander are in the first stage to use liquid hydrogen for its fuel. Liquid from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard Delta foreground. Unmanned exploration of the oxygen remained the choice for the oxidizer. Centaur II rockets. Both reached Mars in January 2004. The solar system is one of the most exciting and uses very high-performing engines, and its pressure- mission of the two identical rovers was to develop scientifically rewarding aspects of the nation’s stabilized, thin-wall, stainless-steel design is the most the history of climate and water at two sites on Mars, space program. weight efficient in the orld.w where conditions may once have been favorable to

18 19 The unmistakable swirl of a monster hurricane straddles The following table lists some of the more notable spacecraft launched by the Kennedy teams, the Gulf of Mexico, bound for the Mississippi and Loui­ with brief descriptions of the results. siana coastlines. Photographs taken from space help meteorologists track dangerous storms and add a new dimension to accurate weather forecasting. Launch Launch life. They navigated around obstacles while driving Spacecraft Date Mission Description/Results Spacecraft Date Mission Description/Results across the Martian surface, traveling up to about 130 TIROS 1 4/1/60 Relayed thousands of cloud pictures, HEAO 2 11/1/8 Examined selected x-ray astronomcal feet each Martian day. demonstrating thefeasibility of satellite sources in detail with the largest Xray observations in weather forecasting. telescope ever made. 8//6 First U.S. interplanetary probe to reach Infrared Astronomical Made first detailed infrared examination of By far, however, the largest number of unmanned the planet Venus. Satellite (IRAS) 1/5/8 the universe; discovered new stars being born and possible evolution of new spacecraft have remained in orbit around the Earth. Syncom 2 /6/6 First communications satellite in geosyn- planetary systems. So many communications, weather and other types chronous orbit; proved out the concept widely used today. COBE 11/18/89 Measured the diffuse infrared and micro- of satellites have crowded into geosynchronous orbit wave radiation from the early universe to Ranger 7 /8/64 First U.S. spacecraft to impact on the the limits set by our astrophysical Moon; returned a series of photos and – that region above the equator at about 22,240 miles environment. other data. altitude, where a velocity of 6,878 miles an hour to- SOHO 1//95 Gathered data on the internal structure and Intelsat 1 (Early Bird) 4/6/65 First international communications outer atmosphere of the sun, and on the ward the east will keep a satellite apparently motion- satellite. Intelsat grew to become largest origin of the solar wind. less in the sky – that international agreements have international carrier in history. NEAR /1/96 Conducted the first long-term, close-up Surveyor 1 5/0/66 Performed first U.S. soft landing on the had to be worked out on assigning spaces. Weather look of an asteroid’s surface. For a year, Moon, sending back thousands of NEAR studied Eros’ physical properties. and other Earth-observation satellites patrol our excellent surface photographs. 11//96 Conducted a global mapping of Mars by planet steadily in north-south polar orbits. Scientific Mariner /4/69 Passed within ,0 km (,000 miles) of studying the planet’s surface, atmosphere, Mars’ equatorial region, returning the first explorers in many types of orbits have returned a and gravitational and magnetic fields. good photographs for the U.S. wealth of information that could not have been ob- Mars Pathfinder 1/4/96 Delivered a lander and small robotic rover, // Performed flyby of Jupiter, returning first Sojourner, to Mars’ surface to study and close-up photographs and measuring tained in any other way. record data about ancient rocks. radiation emissions. Cassini 10/15/9 Cassini used gravity-assist flybys of LANDSAT 1 // First satellite to perform major assess- the planets Venus and Jupiter, then arrived ment of Earth resources from outer space. at Saturn in July 004. 4/5/ Performed flyby of Jupiter and first flyby Lunar Prospector 1/6/98 Provided the first global maps of the Moon’s of Saturn. The two gantries of surface elements and its gravitational and Launch Complex 6 Mariner Venus/ Performed a flyby of enus,thenV magnetic fields. Mercury 11// continued on to Mercury and completed Stardust //99 Brought comet material back to earth and (foreground), where Atlas the first three flybys of that planet. collected interstellar dust. rockets are launched, still Helios 1 1/10/4 Approached the Sun to within outer solar EOS/TERRA 1/18/99 Consisted of a science component and a corona and took density, temperature, stand on the easternmost data system supporting a coordinated velocity,and magnetic field measurements. point of Cape Canaveral. series of polar-orbiting and low-inclination 8/0/5 Placed an orbiter in orbit around Mars satellites for long-term global observations But the gantries in a line and a lander on the surface; obtained of the land surface, biosphere, solid Earth, extending north from the voluminous data in a search for life. atmosphere, and oceans. GOES 1 10/16/5 First weather satellite to photograph GOES I-M 1994-001 NASA-developed payload for the National right-hand pad in this complete disk of the Earth every 0 Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 1964 photograph have minutes from geosynchronous orbit. (NOAA); launch vehicle services contract. Launched into geosynchronous Earth orbit. mostly been dismantled. PALAPA 1 /8/6 First geosynchronous orbit domestic communications satellite in Southeast The two identical spacecraft reached Corrosion from the salt Asia. PALAPAs now also serve Thailand, Spirit 6/10/0 Mars in January 004, landing at two sites air weakened the steel Singapore, and Malaysia. Opportunity /6/0 to explore farther and examine rocks better than anything that has ever landed on structures until they were 9/5/ Performed flybys of Jupiter, Saturn,Uranus Mars. and Neptune,and some of their moons. no longer safe. SCISAT-1 8/1/0 The SCISAT-1 spacecraft investigated Pioneer Venus Placed in orbit around Venus to study the chemical processes that control the Orbiter 5/0/8 atmosphere and surface; compiled radar distribution of ozone in the Earth’s maps of surface features. atmosphere, particularly at high altitudes. Pioneer Venus Sent four probes into the Venusian Space Infrared 8/5/0 Fourth and last of the Great Observatories, Multiprobe 8/8/8 atmosphere five days after the Orbiter Telescope Facility the telescope is obtaining images and arrived; returned much useful data. (SIRTF) spectra by detecting the infrared energy, or International Sun-Earth Third International Sun-Earth Explorer; heat, radiated by objects in space. Explorer (ISEE) 8/1/8 examined solar wind and its interaction with Earth’s magnetosphere. Renamed International Cometary Explorer (ICE) and redirected in 198 to make the first flyby of a comet —Giacobini-Zinner-on Sept.11,1985.

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K 1986 –1991 1961 -1974 or ur rest S t H.Debus . McCar tney  NP-2005-10-032-KSC John F. Kennedy Space Center