Historic Cape Canaveral Launch Complex 17 Set to Be Demolished, Erasing Space History: Last Intact Up Close Photos

Last ‘Up Close’ historic photos taken
of Space Launch Complex-17 (SLC-17) on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL on
July 7 ahead of planned demolition of historic pads 17A and 17B slated for July
12, 2018. First launches from both pads occurred in 1957. Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION,
FL – One of the most historic launch complexes at Cape Canaveral, namely Space Launch
Complex-17 or SLC-17, that for some 6 decades launched many breakthrough science
missions for NASA, dozens and dozens of GPS and military satellites, and much more – is about to be
demolished Thursday morning, July 12, thus erasing space history.



This past weekend I luckily and unknowingly
capture a few last historic ‘Up Close’ last shots of the pair of intact pads,
during a public bus tour of the base – where I also photographed
the Delta IV Heavy Up Close’ that will soon launch NASA’s Parker Solar
Probe.  Read my Space UpClose story/pics 





Check out our Space Up Close photos
and follow up post demolition story.

Personally I find this to be
truly sad and poor decision to destroy rather than preserve a storied site of American
Space History that harkens back to the Dawn of the Space Age by launching research
probes that’s contributed so much to human knowledge and other like the GPS
satellites that benefit virtually every human on Earth every moment of every
day.


Storied Pad 17 on Cape Canaveral
Air Force Station is actually comprised of two nearly identical but slightly
different pads: 17A and 17B located just a few hundred feet apart at the south end
of the Cape.  


Last ‘Up Close’ historic photos taken
of Space Launch Complex-17 (SLC-17) on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL on
July 7 ahead of planned demolition of historic pads 17A and 17B slated for July
12, 2018. First launches from both pads occurred in 1957. Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The complex 17 pads are so tall
that they are vivid markers of the Space Coast Skyline and the prowess of
America’s Space Program – and they are especially and easily visible from
points south like Jetty Park and the beaches on Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach.


SLC-17 also known as Slick 17 was
retired from use after its last launch back in September 2011 when a United
Launch Alliance Delta II Heavy lofted NASA’s twin GRAIL lunar orbiting probes
that measured the Moon’s gravity field in unprecedented detail.

Blastoff of United Launch Alliance Delta II Heavy rocket and twin NASA
GRAIL lunar spacecraft on Sept. 10, 2011 from
Space Launch Complex-17
(SLC-17)  at
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL at 9:08 a.m. EDT. View from Press Site 1. Last
Delta II launch from the Cape. 
Credit:
Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com



The first launches from both pads
took place in 1957 involving Thor intermediate range ballistic missiles that eventually became the
Delta family of rockets.  Altogether 325 rockets blasted off from both pads 17A and 17B. 



The workhorse Delta II was one of
the most reliable rockets in history.

Blastoff of United Launch Alliance Delta II
Heavy rocket and twin NASA GRAIL lunar spacecraft on Sept. 10, 2011 from
Space
Launch Complex-17 (SLC-17)  at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL at
9:08 a.m. EDT. View from Press Site 1. Last Delta II launch from the Cape. 
Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com




Among the NASA science missions
launched are famous twin Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity, Mars Pathfinder, Dawn Asteroid Orbiter, MESSENGER Mercury Orbiter, Mars Phoenix, Spitzer Space Telescope, NEAR, WMAP and many many more.

Launch of NASA’s Dawn Asteroid Orbiter on United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket on Sept. 27, 2007
from
Space Launch Complex-17 (SLC-17) on Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station, FL.  View
from Jetty Park Pier. 
Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The demolition of pad 17 is being
carried out with little fanfare at about 7 a.m. EDT July 12.

Expect loud explosions jarring the
Space Coast Area when they are leveled by
explosives toppling the towers and gantries.  

Watch for my follow up story and
photos. 



Moon Express is leasing the
facility and has no use apparently for preserving space history. 
Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA,
Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK and more space and mission reports direct
from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and
Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.


Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human
spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com
–www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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