Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex 41

Coordinates: 28°35′00″N 80°34′59″W / 28.58333°N 80.58306°W / 28.58333; -80.58306
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Space Launch Complex 41
An aerial view of SLC-41 prior to the first launch of Vulcan Centaur carrying Peregrine Mission One.
Location28°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 launches110
Launch pad(s)1
Orbital inclination
28° - 57°
Launch history
First launch21 December 1965
Titan IIIC
Last launch8 January 2024
Vulcan Centaur / Peregrine Mission One

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 2024, the site is used by United Launch Alliance (ULA) for Atlas V and Vulcan Centaur launches. Previously, it had been used by the USAF for Titan III and Titan IV launches.

Atlas V[edit]

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 spaceflight[edit]

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]


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 payloads[edit]

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 III[edit]

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 facility at Complex 41 was deactivated in late 1977.[13]

Titan IV[edit]

In 1986 the existing mobile service tower (MST) and umbilical tower (UT) were both stripped down to their main structural components which were then refurbished, modified, and added to, as part of Martin Marietta's "tear-out and refurbish" contracts which modified and prepared the launch pad 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 history[edit]

Rocket configuration[edit]


See also[edit]


  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". 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". 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". Retrieved November 26, 2022.
  13. ^ a b "Launch Complex 41 (active)". Cape Canaveral Space Force Museum. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
  14. ^ "Titan 402B/IUS". Retrieved November 26, 2022.

External links[edit]

Cape Canaveral Space Force Station