Spaceport Florida Launch Complex 36

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Launch Complex 36
Atlas Centaur 27 with Pioneer 10 on launch pad.jpg
An Atlas-Centaur at LC-36 prior to the launch of Pioneer 10
Launch site CCAFS (1962-2010)
Spaceport Florida (2010—)
Location 28°28′14″N 80°32′24″W / 28.47056°N 80.54000°W / 28.47056; -80.54000Coordinates: 28°28′14″N 80°32′24″W / 28.47056°N 80.54000°W / 28.47056; -80.54000
Short name SLC-36
Operator Space Florida
US Air Force
Total launches 145
Launch pad(s) 2
Min / max
orbital inclination
28° - 57°
(S)LC-36A launch history
Status Inactive
Launches 69
First launch 18 May 1962
Atlas LV-3C Centaur-A AC-1
Last launch 31 August 2004
Atlas IIAS / NROL-1
Associated rockets Atlas-Centaur
Atlas I
Atlas II
(S)LC-36B launch history
Status Inactive
Launches 76
First launch 11 August 1965
Atlas LV-3C Centaur-D / Surveyor D-2
Last launch 3 February 2005
Atlas III / NROL-23
Associated rockets Atlas-Centaur
Atlas I
Atlas II
Atlas III

Launch Complex 36 (LC-36), known as Space Launch Complex 36 (SLC-36) from 1997 to 2010, is a launch complex at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Brevard County, Florida. Now operated under license by Space Florida, it was used for Atlas launches from 1962 until 2005.[1][2]

Historically, the complex consisted of two launch pads, SLC-36A and SLC-36B, and was the launch site for the Pioneer, Surveyor, and Mariner probes in the 1960s and 1970s.[3] There were a total of 69 and 76 launches from pads 36A and 36B, respectively, while the US government operated the launch complex in the first five decades of spaceflight.

The Atlas rockets launched from Complex 36 were subsequently replaced by the Atlas V launch vehicle which launches from Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral beginning in 2002.


LC-36A was the scene of the biggest on-pad explosion in Cape history when Atlas-Centaur AC-5 fell back onto the pad on March 2, 1965. The accident spurred NASA to complete work on LC-36B which had been abandoned when it was 90% finished.[citation needed]

In 2008, Aviation Week magazine reported that the U.S. Air Force committed to lease Launch Complex 36 to Space Florida for future use by the Athena III launch system,[4] but that program had not moved forward as late as 2013.[5]

In March 2010, the USAF 45th Space Wing issued Real Property Licenses to Space Florida for Space Launch Complexes 36 and 46 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.[6][7]

In early 2015, Moon Express leased the pad in February from Space Florida to use as a test site for the MTC-1X Lunar lander flight test vehicle.[8]

2006 tower demolition[edit]

The legacy Atlas-Centaur umbilical towers of both pads were demolished in 2006.[9] The mobile service towers were both demolished in controlled explosions on June 16, 2007. Tower B was demolished at 13:59 GMT (09:59 EDT) and tower A followed twelve minutes later at 14:11 (10:11 EDT).[10]

Blue Origin lease[edit]

On September 15, 2015, Blue Origin announced it would use Launch Complex 36 for launches of its orbital launch vehicle later in the decade.[11][12][13]

An Atlas III launches from SLC-36B 
The MSS of Space Launch Complex 36A falls to the ground after critical supports are destroyed in a controlled explosion. (NASA

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McDowell, Jonathan (February 22, 1998). "Issue 350". Jonathan's Space Report. Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved January 25, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Table 3 — Launch Capability in Florida". AU-18 Space Handbook. Air War College Gateway to the Internet. Retrieved January 25, 2010. 
  3. ^ Research Triangle Institute, Center for Aerospace Technology (CAST), Florida Office (March 1999). "Launch Site Safety Assessment, Section 1.0 Eastern Range General Range Capabilities" (PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. p. 31. Retrieved January 25, 2010. 
  4. ^ Craig Covault (Oct 27, 2008). "Boeing Joins Commercial Athena III Program". 
  5. ^ Athena rising?, Dwayne Day, The Space Review, February 11, 2013
  6. ^ "Air Force licenses two launch complexes for commercial use". Retrieved March 15, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Space Florida secures licenses for Launch Complexes 46 and 36". Retrieved March 15, 2010. 
  8. ^ Clark, Stephen (24 January 2015). "Former Atlas launch pad gets a new tenant". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 8 February 2015. 
  9. ^ Coledan, Stefano S. (February 28, 2006). "Slowly Crumbling, NASA Landmarks May Face the Bulldozer". The New York Times (Cape Canaveral: The New York Times). Retrieved January 25, 2010. 
  10. ^ Warren, Ken (June 21, 2007). "Historic complex 36 towers toppled". Air Force (Patrick Air Force Base: 45th SW Public Affairs). Retrieved January 25, 2010. 
  11. ^ Cofield, Calla (15 September 2015). "Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin Will Launch Rockets and Spaceships from Florida". Retrieved 15 September 2015. 
  12. ^ Foust, Jeff (2015-09-15). "Bezos Not Concerned About Competition, Possible ULA Sale". Space News. Retrieved 16 September 2015. 
  13. ^ Jeff Bezos plans to boost humans into space from Cape Canaveral, CBS News, accessed 2015-09-17.

External links[edit]