Scenic USA - Florida

Air Force Space and Missile Museum

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LC-26 Blockhouse, Titan 2021, Long John Missile - Air Force Space and Missile Museum, Cape Canaveral, Florida

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     Aided by technology from German scientists, Air Force Space and Missile Museum - Cape Canaveral, Florida some of America's first rockets were launched in 1950 from Cape Canaveral. Receiving many official names over the years for the area, Cape Canaveral Launch Pads 1, 2, 3, and 4 were quickly developed in the sand dunes not far from the Atlantic Ocean. Launch attempts of Bumper 7 and 8, a new two-stage rocket, were sent skyward from Launch Pad 3 in July 1950. Very primitive in comparison to space launch sites today, the first blockhouse for the launch team was a wooden building, erected some 500 feet from the rocket. Later assessments found the temporary blockhouse extremely inadequate in the event of a rocket explosion. In order to accommodate both winged missiles, the Snark and never-go Navaho, and ballistic missiles, tracking systems and launch pads quickly spread out along the Cape Canaveral shoreline. Although little evidence survives from the first few launch sites, many concrete and steel launch pads, LC-26 Firing Room, Air Force Space and Missile Museum - Cape Canaveral, Florida both old and active, still line the beaches of the Cape.
     Limited to private tour groups as of now, the Air Force has assembled a great deal of Cape Canaveral history at the Space and Missile Museum. Beginning with America's first satellite launch of Explorer I in 1958, museum visitors have the opportunity to learn the details of the Cape's rocket developments which lead to the first Mercury and Gemini manned space flight programs.
     Incorporating original Redstone Rocket - Air Force Space and Missile Museum, Cape Canaveral, Florida launch complex structures and space hardware, the museum features a large variety of subjects, including the LC-26 blockhouse, the LC-26 gantry, a Mercury Redstone rocket, Delta IV booster core, the Honest John Missile and an Electro-motive Division EMD-SW8 locomotive. Used to transport Titan rockets at the Cape, the Titan locomotive EMD 2021 is most famous for longevity and as a recipient of a Purple Heart in the Korean War. Todat the 800 horsepower workhorse sits on the same track it traveled for the last 40 years.
     The new Air Force Space and Missile History Center, located just outside the south gate of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, is free and open to the public every day except Monday.

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