Historic Cape Canaveral 39A Launch Pad To Be Used By SpaceX
The historic 39A launch site of Cape Canaveral, Florida, has witnessed the launch of several groundbreaking space explorer missions. Some of the most remarkable space missions launched from the site include the Apollo Moon Missions, the space shuttles under the Atlantis program and many more. After SpaceX signed a 20-year lease to take over the launch pad for its own rocket launches in 2014, the 39A came back into the picture.
SpaceX is all set to launch its Falcon 9 rocket from the launch pad on Feb. 18. The rocket will carry the Dragon robotic cargo capsule to the International Space Station (ISS). After receiving the lease, SpaceX made a few modifications in the launch pad and it is now fully operational, Space.com reported.
Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, posted a picture of the Falcon 9 rocket mounted on the 39A launch pad on his Instagram and posted a comment along with it. It read: "This is the same launch pad used by the Saturn V rocket that first took people to the moon in 1969. We are honored to be allowed to use it."
LA-39A launch pad at Cape Canaveral was last used in 2011 by NASA. It was left unused after the 30 yearlong Atlantis space shuttle program was shut down. Before that, the launch pad had been used in launching several NASA spacecraft such as Discovery, Columbia, Challenger, Atlantis and Endeavor.
The launch site has also played a major role in accomplishing the assembly of the International Space Station in space. The rich successful history behind this launch pad is stirring optimistic waves for SpaceX, The Christian Science Monitor reported.
The Columbia spacecraft disaster, which killed all the astronauts in it while trying to re-enter into the Earth's atmosphere, was the turning point in the American space research history. A little while after this happened, NASA stopped using its own space shuttles for transporting American astronauts to and from the space.
As of now, it is dependent on Russia for shuttling American astronauts, which is why NASA has collaborated with privately owned aerospace companies, including SpaceX and Orbital ATK, to manufacture space shuttles. Under such circumstances, SpaceX being able to use the LA-39A launch pad in the Cape Canaveral signifies the growing collaborations between the U.S. government and private enterprises, which will be helpful in the furtherance of space research and exploration.