Launch Pad 39A Tour

(click on the picture below for a tour of 5 panoramas)

Built in 1965, Launch Pad 39A has hosted 92 launches to space from the Apollo and Shuttle Programs.  Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins departed from there for the Moon on Apollo 11.   STS-1, the first ever space shuttle flight, launched from 39A, as did the next 23 missions before 39B came online just to the north.  At the end of the program, the last 18 shuttle missions launched from there while 39B transitioned for use with the Ares I rocket and its Constellation Program.

During the Apollo era, 39A and B were “clean pads” meaning that there was very little in the way of permanent structures built above the pad’s surface.  All necessary service structures arrived with the Saturn rockets built into the Mobile Launch Platform.  This shuttle specific pad has a Fixed Service Structure (FSS) and a Rotating Service Structure (RSS) remaining on site that provided all services and protected the shuttle stack before launch.

The above tour includes panoramas from 39A’s surface, it’s highest level (295′), the level where the Astronauts boarded the orbiter and used their last telephone and gravity assisted toilet (195′), the bottom of the SRB Flame Trench and the inside of the “Rubber Room,” a blast room still remaining deep in the pad and accessed from a tunneled slide during the Apollo program in case of a Saturn V’s catastrophic failure.

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