Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex 41

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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 launches98
Launch pad(s)1
Orbital inclination
28° - 57°
Launch history
First launch21 December 1965
Titan IIIC
Last launch13 November 2020
Atlas V / NROL-101

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.

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.[3][4] 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".[3]


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,[5] and the Mars rover missions; Mars Science Laboratory in November 2011, and Mars 2020 in July 2020.[6][7]

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 pad. The Titan III facilities included LC-40, LC-41, assembly buildings including the Vertical Integration Building, and the first rail line at the Cape.[8] 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.[citation needed]

Titan IV[edit]

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.[citation needed]

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. ^ a b Gebhardt, Chris (2015-10-08). "Canaveral and KSC pads: New designs for space access". Retrieved 2015-10-11.
  4. ^
  5. ^ 45th Space Wing Supports Successful Atlas V Juno Launch
  6. ^ The Associated Press (November 26, 2011). "NASA Launches Sophisticated Rover on Journey to Mars". The New York Times. Retrieved November 26, 2011.
  7. ^ NASA Offers Media Access To Mars-Bound Rover On Aug. 12
  8. ^ Roy McCullough (September 2001). "Missiles at the Cape". US Army Corps of Engineers.

External links[edit]