The long-retired launch pad the place astronaut John Glenn lifted off to develop into to the primary American to orbit Earth is getting a brand new lease on life.
“We’re standing on the shoulders of giants,” Andy Lapsa, co-founder and chief government of Stoke Space,
said in a statement (opens in new tab). “And we’re beyond humbled by the historic significance of LC-14. The opportunity to reactivate this site is a profound responsibility that our entire team holds in the highest regard.”
“As we bring LC-14 back to life and carry its legacy into the future, we will be sure to do so in a way that preserves its existing history and pays homage to those who came before us,” mentioned Lapsa, who beforehand led rocket engine improvement at
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Aerial view of Launch Complex 14 with Missile Row seen to the proper. Gordon Cooper’s Mercury-Atlas 9 rocket is seen atop LC-14 previous to the launch in 1963. (Image credit score: NASA)
Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1984, LC-14 was initially constructed to check Atlas missiles in 1957. In addition to the 4 astronaut flights, the pad was used for 28 launches, together with Mercury-Atlas 4 with Enos the chimpanzee aboard in 1961 and 7 Atlas-Agena goal automobiles for NASA’s
Gemini program between 1965 and 1966. LC-14 was deactivated in 1967 and was declared “abandoned in place” 5 years later.
The 155-foot-tall (47 meters) service tower that stood at LC-14 since its begin was demolished in late 1976. The 92-foot-long (28 m) ramp and 22-foot-high (7 m) launch stand nonetheless exist, although each have been degraded by the weather regardless of a partial restoration effort in 1997.
The pad’s authentic blockhouse was transformed right into a convention facility in 1998, with Carpenter and Cooper current for its dedication.
Other than the pad’s buildings (together with the reserved parking areas for the
Mercury astronauts), quite a lot of monuments now stand at LC-14 testifying to its historic standing. At the doorway to the complicated is a big titanium sculpture of the Project Mercury symbol (opens in new tab) (with a time capsule buried beneath it, to not be opened till 2464), and a granite marker engraved with a launch scene was added to the bottom of the ramp when the positioning was deactivated.
A baseball cap with the Stoke Space brand sits on the bottom in entrance of the Project Mercury sculpture on the entrance to Launch Complex 14 (LC-14) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. (Image credit score: Stoke Space)
It is unclear what, if any, restraints Stoke Space might be below as the corporate modifies LC-14 for its use. A spokesperson mentioned that they might not focus on specifics at the moment, however pointed to the general public feedback made by Julia Black, Stoke’s director of vary operations.
“Stoke is properly conscious of
Launch Complex 14’s historical significance (opens in new tab),” mentioned Black, “and will support maintaining that history in addition to enabling a robust launch program. We look forward to adding to its well distinguished accomplishments for America’s space program.”
In addition to assigning LC-14 to Stoke, the Space Force’s Space Launch Delta (SLD) 45 additionally allotted LC-15 to
ABL Space Systems and LC-13 to Phantom Space and Vaya Space. LC-15 was used as a Titan missile web site from 1959 to 1964. LC-13 supported Atlas flights, together with the launch of 5 Lunar Orbiter missions and Mariner 3 for NASA, earlier than being deactivated in 1978. Nearly 40 years later in 2015, the positioning was leased to SpaceX as Landing Zone 1 (opens in new tab) for its Falcon 9 rocket first stage recoveries.
“Offering excess launch property to CLSPs [commercial launch service providers] fosters development of new space launch systems and helps ensure a strong space launch industrial base for the nation,” the Space Force
stated in a release (opens in new tab).
Rendering of Stoke Space’s totally reusable rocket because it separates phases throughout a launch into Earth orbit from LC-14 at Cape Canaveral. (Image credit score: Stoke Space)
The U.S. Air Force beforehand partnered with the University of South Florida’s Alliance for Integrated Spatial Technologies (AIST) to
virtually preserve sites like LC-14 (opens in new tab) by utilizing a laser scanner to survey, map and create digital fashions of the historic pad buildings nonetheless standing at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (then Air Force Station). The work, which was completed in 2014, is a technique that the world’s historical past is being saved.
“Congratulations to the new launch providers coming to the Cape! We look forward to seeing your contributions toward the next chapter of space launch innovation,” mentioned the employees on the Cape Canaveral Space Force Museum (previously generally known as the Air Force Space and Missile Museum),
in a statement (opens in new tab) posted to its social media channels. “LC-14 will continue to serve as a tangible connection to the Cape’s rich history, current innovations and future possibilities!”
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