Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex 41

Summary

Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41), previously Launch Complex 41 (LC-41), is an active launch site at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.[1][2] As of 2020, the site is used by United Launch Alliance (ULA) for Atlas V launches. Previously, it had been used by the USAF for Titan III and Titan IV launches.

Space Launch Complex 41
Atlas V 551 at Launch Pad 41.jpg
An aerial view of SLC-41. The Atlas V on the pad is the one used to launch New Horizons to Pluto.
Launch siteCape Canaveral Space Force Station
Location28°35′00″N 80°34′59″W / 28.58333°N 80.58306°W / 28.58333; -80.58306Coordinates: 28°35′00″N 80°34′59″W / 28.58333°N 80.58306°W / 28.58333; -80.58306
Short nameSLC-41
OperatorUnited States Space Force
United Launch Alliance
Total launches107
Launch pad(s)1
Orbital inclination
range
28° - 57°
Launch history
StatusActive
First launch21 December 1965
Titan IIIC
Last launch4 October 2022
Atlas V / SES-20 & SES-21
Associated
rockets

Atlas VEdit

After the last Titan launch, the complex was renovated to support the Atlas V. SLC-41 was the site of the first-ever Atlas V launch on 21 August 2002, lifting Hot Bird 6, a Eutelsat geostationary communications spacecraft built around a Spacebus 3000B3 bus.[3][4]

Atlas V rockets are assembled vertically on a mobile launcher platform in the Vertical Integration Facility, located to the south of the pad. The MLP is transported to the launch pad on rails about a day before launch.[5]

Modifications for supporting human spaceflightEdit

 
An Atlas V launching from the pad, with the crew access tower (left) completed for future crewed missions.

In September 2015, pad modifications began to support human spaceflight with the Boeing CST-100 Starliner.[6][7] Modifications include the addition of a launch service tower to provide access to the capsule for "pre-launch processing, crew access, and safety egress systems should the need to evacuate Starliner on the pad occur".[6]

HistoryEdit

 
A Titan IV on LC-41 in 1996. The steel towers visible at the left and right are part of the lightning protection system.

Notable payloadsEdit

In addition to satellites, Titan vehicles launched several probes from LC-41 in the 1970s, including the Helios probes to study the Sun, the Viking probes to Mars, and the Voyager planetary flyby and deep-space probes. More recent probes have also been launched from LC-41 using the Atlas V: the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in August 2005, the New Horizons spacecraft to Pluto in January 2006, the Juno mission to Jupiter in August 2011,[8] and the Mars rover missions; Mars Science Laboratory in November 2011, and Mars 2020 in July 2020.[9][10]

Titan IIIEdit

The Titan III launch facilities at CCAFS were built as part of an Integrate-Transfer-Launch approach intended to enable a rapid launch rate. Titan vehicles were assembled and integrated with their payloads on mobile platforms in separate buildings, then moved by rail to one of two launch pads. The Titan III facilities included LC-40, LC-41, assembly buildings including the Vertical Integration Building, and the first rail line at the Cape.[11] The facilities were completed in 1964, and the first launch from LC-41 was of a Titan IIIC carrying four separate payloads on 21 December 1965.[12]

The Titan III aligned facilty was decommissioned in late 1977.[13]

Titan IVEdit

In 1986 the old mobile service tower was demolished. Another was built for the Titan IV rocket.[13] LC-41 launched the first flight of the Titan IV. The last Titan launch from LC-41 was on 9 April 1999, when a Titan IVB launched the USA 142 early warning satellite. The IUS upper stage failed to separate, leaving the payload stranded in a useless GTO orbit.[14]

Launch historyEdit

Rocket configurationEdit

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
1965
1970
1975
1980
1985
1990
1995
2000
2005
2010
2015
2020

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ McDowell, Jonathan (1998-02-22). "Issue 350". Jonathan's Space Report. Jonathan's Space Page. Archived from the original on 2010-05-03. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  2. ^ USAF Supports NASA's Dual Lunar Exploratory Missions Archived June 13, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Atlas V Roars Into Orbit On Maiden Flight With A HotBird". Spacedaily.com. Aug 21, 2002. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
  4. ^ Krebs, Gunter D. "Hotbird 6 → Hotbird 13A → Eutelsat 8 West C → Eutelsat 33D → Eutelsat 70D". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
  5. ^ "NROL-101 Launch Press Kit" (PDF). National Reconnaissance Office. October 29, 2020. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
  6. ^ a b Gebhardt, Chris (2015-10-08). "Canaveral and KSC pads: New designs for space access". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 2015-10-11.
  7. ^ "Crew tower rising at Cape Canaveral Launch Complex 41".
  8. ^ 45th Space Wing Supports Successful Atlas V Juno Launch
  9. ^ The Associated Press (November 26, 2011). "NASA Launches Sophisticated Rover on Journey to Mars". The New York Times. Retrieved November 26, 2011.
  10. ^ NASA Offers Media Access To Mars-Bound Rover On Aug. 12
  11. ^ Roy McCullough (September 2001). "Missiles at the Cape". US Army Corps of Engineers. Archived from the original on January 29, 2016.
  12. ^ "Complex 41 / LC-41". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
  13. ^ a b "Launch Complex 41 (active)". Air Force Space & Missile Museum. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
  14. ^ "Titan 402B/IUS". astronautix.com. Retrieved November 26, 2022.

External linksEdit

Cape Canaveral Space Force Station