Cape Canaveral Launch Complexes

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According to Moonport, before the decision to go to the moon, and the consequent rapid evolution from Saturn C-2 through to Saturn C-5, consideration was given to building up to three Saturn dual-pad launch complexes additional to LC-37 at Cape Canaveral. One of these would have been on existing land north of LC-37, and I have a map (attached) which appears to indicate that this would have been roughly half-way between that complex and LC-40. However, the other two would apparently have been constructed by hydraulic fill in the Banana River.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to find the documents referenced online, although this isn't particularly surprising, being rather obscure and if they still exist at all, probably in a half-forgotten folder somewhere. Equally, there's not immediately obvious site for such pads: just about everywhere gives a good chance of a catastrophic failure of a launcher showering most of the Cape with shrapnel. Has anyone seen anything to indicate what sites were being considered for these?
 

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I was not aware of proposed dual pads. However, there were proposals for up to five Saturn V pads--39A and B, which were built, and C, D and E, which would have been north of the other two. There's a well-known photo of a sign along the crawlerway that actually included at least LC-39C. Back in the early 1990s when I went down for a shuttle launch I picked up a map of the Cape at the press office. That map included outlines of the other three pads. Unfortunately, I think I gave it away a long time ago.

This map on Wikipedia shows the locations, but not the orientation of those pads:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/44/Lc39_plan_1963_labelled.png

The attached image, from German Wikipedia, is a little better. The three additional pads are at top.
 

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Kennedy Space Centre launch site

Right from the start of the Space Shuttle programme it was intended to use the facilities developed for the Apollo progarmme at Launch Complex 39.
This consisted of two launch pads (39A and 39B), the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), the Crawlerway (the route used by crawler-transporters to carry Mobile Launch Platforms between the VAB and the pads), the Orbiter Processing Facility buildings, the Launch Control Center (which contains the firing rooms), a news facility, and various logistical and operational support buildings.

When launch complex was orginally designed in 1963 it had five separate pads (A to E) which were spaces 2700 km apart. The numbering of the pads was from north to south with LC 39A being the most northerly and LC 39C the most southerly. LC 39D would have been west of LC 39C whereas LC 39E would have been north of the mid-distance between LC 39C and LC 39D.
When actually built LC 39C was renamed LC 39A whereas LC 39B retained its name. The other LC 39s were never built as was a Nuclear Assembly Building (NAB).

The attached map is a NASA 1963 plan. Source: NASA, website unknown.
 

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Jos Heyman said:
When launch complex was orginally designed in 1963 it had five separate pads (A to E) which were spaces 2700 km apart.
That would require the purchase of rather a lot of land, I expect.

The additional pads at LC-39 are quite well known, but that complex is largely a function of the very large launchers needed for the direct ascent or LOR moon missions; even the Boeing IMIS Mars 'battlestar' mission only needed three pads for enhanced Saturn V launchers, so I doubt whether all five pads were under consideration at the same time. The proposals for eight or nine Saturn C-2 pads (depending on whether one counts LC-34) date from when EOR using smaller launchers was the expected mission mode.
 
Byeman said:
RLBH said:
That would require the purchase of rather a lot of land, I expect.

All ready purchased
I was actually getting at 2700 kilometres, which would put the complexes in a big arc from Florida to Kazakhstan. 2.7 kilometres, yes, they did buy the land for that.
 
In Quest, Vol.2,#3 Summer1993

They Might Be Giants:A History of Project Nova, Part III by Keith J Scala & Glen E Swanson

This article has a map on page 6 showing a then current map of KSC which was still showing the three additional launch pads outlined. The authors used it to show the proposed location of one of the Nova launch sites which was even further north on the ocean side of Mosquito Lagoon with two additional Nova sites even further north off of the map.
 
AL said:
In Quest, Vol.2,#3 Summer1993

They Might Be Giants:A History of Project Nova, Part III by Keith J Scala & Glen E Swanson

This article has a map on page 6 showing a then current map of KSC which was still showing the three additional launch pads outlined. The authors used it to show the proposed location of one of the Nova launch sites which was even further north on the ocean side of Mosquito Lagoon with two additional Nova sites even further north off of the map.

It's Vol 2, #2, not #3. Here's the map. The three additional launch pads are barely visible up the coast from the actual two.
 

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During NASA Solar power Sat study in 1970s
Boeing prosed 1976 a new launch complex for there "Big Onion*" Monster Booster
with 227 tonne payload in LEO, launch mass 10306 ton dry mass 841 tons.
launch with twenty-four 2.25MN lox-kerosene booster engines
because the thrust and engine noise the Launch pad is water filled channel
located a few kilometers north from the existing Pad 39 next Shuttle landingstrip
after one Orbit the booster landed in a 5 km ø artificial lagoon
index.php

from top to down:
Shuttle landingstrip, Assembly building for booster,
oxygen-hydrogen production plant powder by SPS, the receiver is the green circular field on top of pic.
Lagoon landing pad and the launch Pad is on far left of the lagoon
and Launch pad 39 B
index.php

The Launch Channel, in background VAB from Apollo

* Big Onion is not the original name of Booster, only his commonly attributed name for the vehicle, due to its shape.
 
Jos Heyman said:
Thanks for the map

Sorry the scan is not better. That appears to be a modified version of the map that I referred to, which KSC used to give out to journalists. That map was printed on blue paper, so the reproduction in the magazine is not good to start with. Then I scanned it as greyscale, which leaves a bit to be desired. I'll play around a bit with my editing software and see if I can enhance it a bit.
 
RLBH said:
Unfortunately, I can't seem to find the documents referenced online, although this isn't particularly surprising, being rather obscure and if they still exist at all, probably in a half-forgotten folder somewhere. Equally, there's not immediately obvious site for such pads: just about everywhere gives a good chance of a catastrophic failure of a launcher showering most of the Cape with shrapnel. Has anyone seen anything to indicate what sites were being considered for these?

There PDF at NTRS about Study wat happen if a Saturn V explode during launch
"NASA PROGRAM APOLLO WORKING PAPER NO. 1181"
" Estimation of fireball from saturn vehicles following failure on launch pad"
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19700076248_1970076248.pdf

in case of Saturn V the Fireball (1408 ft. or 429 meter ø )during 33.9 sec. with temperatur of 2500°F = +1300°C
In a failure event at very low altitude, it is generally accepted
that there will be less than 100 percent fuel participation. Portions
of the fuel will be spilled on the ground creating residual pools which
will burn for relatively long periods of time following failure. It is
particularly probable that the Saturn V will have spillage because fuel
is held in the lower tank where it could spill without contacting liquid
oxygen. Thus it is very likely that the residual fire and extreme heat
from the fireball will prevent approach to the ground area enveloped by
the fireball for an unknown period following vehicle failure.
 
Michel Van said:
There PDF at NTRS about Study wat happen if a Saturn V explode during launch

I wrote about that here:

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/591/1
 
Okay, I cropped the image a bit to focus on the three unbuilt pads. You can see them more easily here.
 

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GeorgeA said:
The "Nova pad sites" mostly were derived from the 1963 Martin launch facilities study. They would have been distributed along Playalinda Beach northwest of what is now the KSC boundary, with one or two canal cuts for barges to enter from the ocean and the Intracoastal.

That land was originally purchased for the Merritt Island Launch Area, but was turned into the National Seashore in 1975 and is no longer available for NASA use.

Does a map exist of the proposed layout, from what I've heard the Assembly building would have been north of the pads with the crawlerway running south.
 
Graham1973 said:
Does a map exist of the proposed layout, from what I've heard the Assembly building would have been north of the pads with the crawlerway running south.

There's a lot of concept artwork in Quest, Vol. 2, Number 2, Summer 1993. The artwork shows pads all over the place, including offshore. I have not delved into the article to see if they ever got to a final proposal.
 
I've managed to locate a document containing pictures of one of the launch pads for the proposed NOVA LC

Future studies branch activities report, fiscal year 1963
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19640019609_1964019609.pdf
 

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GeorgeA said:
That artwork comes from the Martin Nova launch facilities study for KSC. Love the "launch from within the building" option.

Well it would have made for a spectacular launch.

Attached is a picture of what seems to be a NOVA VAB, from the same document as the other two, but from what I'm guessing is a different study.
 

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GeorgeA said:
That artwork comes from the Martin Nova launch facilities study for KSC. Love the "launch from within the building" option.
index.php

why do i have that sneaky suspicion, Martin used there skill from Titan II ICBM for that launch facilities design... ::)

But understand that some NOVA design are so big they have to assembling on Launch pad !
other proposal like Convair NEXUS has be assembling on big pontoon and tug on to sea for fueling and launch.
interestingly enough the early Saturn V launch complex study used pontoons in cancels

Mars Mission study like Boeing "Integrated Manned Interplanetary Spacecraft" or General Electric "Mars Mission Study"
needed 5 Saturn V launch pads
 
why do i have that sneaky suspicion, Martin used there skill from Titan II ICBM for that launch facilities design... Roll Eyes

...Not as sneaky as you think. One of the concerns about a Nova-class stack was reducing the amount of blast effect should one decide to detonate on the pad. A hardened silo would help mitigate the blast effects significantly, and there were numerous Nova pad designs that called not only for submerged silos like the Titan IIs, but pads on the sides of cliffs so as to deflect any blast out towards the sea. There's probably some artwork of the latter floating around here, if anyone wants to do the searching with this forum's fracked search engine :p
 
Michel Van said:
Mars Mission study like Boeing "Integrated Manned Interplanetary Spacecraft" or General Electric "Mars Mission Study"
needed 5 Saturn V launch pads
IMIS only needed three pads, but the launch rate would be phenomenal - six uprated Saturn V rockets in the space of three months (two 'salvoes' of three rockets in a month, with one month between salvoes), plus four Saturn IB rockets carrying crews out of LC34/37. Really, you'd want four pads in case one of the Saturn V-25(S)U rockets were to explode early in launch, taking the pad out with it.
 
OM said:
why do i have that sneaky suspicion, Martin used there skill from Titan II ICBM for that launch facilities design... Roll Eyes

...Not as sneaky as you think. One of the concerns about a Nova-class stack was reducing the amount of blast effect should one decide to detonate on the pad. A hardened silo would help mitigate the blast effects significantly, and there were numerous Nova pad designs that called not only for submerged silos like the Titan IIs, but pads on the sides of cliffs so as to deflect any blast out towards the sea. There's probably some artwork of the latter floating around here, if anyone wants to do the searching with this forum's fracked search engine :p

I can remember reading of proposals to launch NOVA class vehicles from Hawaii, I cannot remember from where though, the specific proposals do not appear to be online.
 
RLBH said:
Michel Van said:
Mars Mission study like Boeing "Integrated Manned Interplanetary Spacecraft" or General Electric "Mars Mission Study"
needed 5 Saturn V launch pads
IMIS only needed three pads, but the launch rate would be phenomenal - six uprated Saturn V rockets in the space of three months (two 'salvoes' of three rockets in a month, with one month between salvoes), plus four Saturn IB rockets carrying crews out of LC34/37. Really, you'd want four pads in case one of the Saturn V-25(S)U rockets were to explode early in launch, taking the pad out with it.

thx for correction, i was wrong about IMIS plans
for the General Electric "Mars Mission Study"


Graham1973 said:
I can remember reading of proposals to launch NOVA class vehicles from Hawaii, I cannot remember from where though, the specific proposals do not appear to be online.

source for that is astronautix
One exotic concept was to launch Nova not from Cape Canaveral, but from launch tubes hollowed into the side of Hawaiian cliffs!
 
I think I've found the 1963 map of LC39 mentioned earlier, it was in a document that covers the earliest version of the Apollo Mission, so early in fact that the CSM comes down on land near San Antonio, Texas!

Project Apollo. Mission operations analysis for a typical lunar landing mission.

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19790076669_1979076669.pdf
 

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GeorgeA said:
Note Nuclear Assembly Building NE of VAB.

I had noted that. Found two pictures on my hard drive with pictures of launch pads for use with SRB based boosters. I'm still trying to relocate the documents these came from. The first is for a NOVA design, the second is a proposal for the replacement of the 1st stage of a Saturn Ib with a 260in diameter SRB.
 

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Graham1973 said:
I had noted that. Found two pictures on my hard drive with pictures of launch pads for use with SRB based boosters. I'm still trying to relocate the documents these came from. The first is for a NOVA design, the second is a proposal for the replacement of the 1st stage of a Saturn Ib with a 260in diameter SRB.
The first is from "Design Studies of Very Large Solid Rockets", a 1961 report from the Grand Central Rocket Company. The second is from a 1968 Bellcom memorandum "Summary of 260-inch Solid Rocket Launch Studies June 1965-May 1968", which contains diagrams of several other concepts for launching the same vehicle.

There were seemingly a lot of options examined for handling vehicles using the very large monolithic boosters, one of the more interesting being Bellcom's own 'dock launch' concept which was explained in "Implementing Dock Launch of MLV Saturn IB-5A". The concept involved using a dry dock to erect the big SRM directly from its' transport barge, floating a flame deflector in underneath it, and moving the LC-37 MSS between two docks as required on one of the LC-39 transporters - driven down the Cape road past LC-40 and LC-41 for the purpose! The layout was as shown below.

All three reports are on NTRS; they're also on my hard drive, but the internet connection here is two notches below 'hopeless'.
 

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RLBH said:
Graham1973 said:
I had noted that. Found two pictures on my hard drive with pictures of launch pads for use with SRB based boosters. I'm still trying to relocate the documents these came from. The first is for a NOVA design, the second is a proposal for the replacement of the 1st stage of a Saturn Ib with a 260in diameter SRB.
The first is from "Design Studies of Very Large Solid Rockets", a 1961 report from the Grand Central Rocket Company. The second is from a 1968 Bellcom memorandum "Summary of 260-inch Solid Rocket Launch Studies June 1965-May 1968", which contains diagrams of several other concepts for launching the same vehicle.

Thanks, with a marginally better internet connection I was able to visit the NTRS and managed to find two documents by the same author entitled "Design studies of very large solid fuel rockets ".

Design studies of very large solid fuel rockets (Summary Report), 5.1mb 86pg
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19730064299_1973064299.pdf

Design studies of very large solid fuel rockets (Full Report), 30.6mb 340pg
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19730064060_1973064060.pdf
 
I found a nice picture about the Traffic Lights system for Launch pad 39 driveway
Look on the signboard, wat is written on it

the Saturn V is the SA-500 F on the move to Pad 39A on May 25, 1966
Sa-500 Facilities checkout vehicle aka Facilities Integration Vehicle was used to test the launch complex 39
 

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i found this in the SA-503 Manual (MSFC-MAN-503) 1 November 1968
in figure 1-5 "Range Safety Azimuth Limits"
show Launch pad 39 with 3 pads
 

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While reading through a document dealing with what appears to be one of the earliest proposals for a space shuttle I stumbled across a proposed Cape Canaveral launch complex to handle the big SRBs that would have placed the HL-10 derived shuttle into orbit.

A Feasibility Study of Head-End Steering for a Simplified Manned Space Vehicle
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19660006728_1966006728.pdf
 

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George Allegrezza said:
-- launch sites at Cape Canaveral (onshore and offshore), Mayaguana I. in the Bahamas, Christmas I., Hawaii I., HI, Brownsville, TX, and White Sands Missile Range.

those were quickly rule out
Christmas island is to far away and to small for the launch complex consider in time (Saturn C-3 to C8 or NOVA) and out side the US territory.
Mayaguana Island in the Bahamas, was out side the US territory, so out of the question.
Hawaii had problem that the upper stage could hit California
White Sands Missile Range. was ruled out because to far in land. The booster had to fly over Texas and Florida.
Brownsville, Texas has similar problem. here the Booster must fly over Florida or Cuba !
(in that time the use of nuclear upper stage for Apollo was consider a realistic option !)

So Cape Canaveral became the NASA launch site for this reason
there was a operational infrastructure by USAF for testing ICBM, include Tracking system.
In fact most Payload of NASA is launch from Cape Canaveral AFB and not NASA launch pad build for Apollo program...
 
I read a study somewhere that they were also looking at an island off the coast of Brazil at one point... there were a couple sites down there they were looking at IIRC... one was an island just offshore IIRC and the other was a sleepy little remote seaside area on the mainland... Both presented BIG issues because of lack of infrastructure...

Later! OL JR :)
 
luke strawwalker said:
I read a study somewhere that they were also looking at an island off the coast of Brazil at one point... there were a couple sites down there they were looking at IIRC... one was an island just offshore IIRC and the other was a sleepy little remote seaside area on the mainland... Both presented BIG issues because of lack of infrastructure...

Later! OL JR :)

I'm not sure about that, but in the 1970's when they were considering the possible use of space shuttles for nuclear waste disposal, a plan was drawn up for a shuttle launch site on Trinidade Island. The shuttles would have launched from there, landed in the US and then been shipped back to Trinidade for launch.


Nuclear Waste Disposal in Space (1978)

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19780015628_1978015628.pdf
 

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Found this general layout of a launch complex for a proposed Post-Saturn designed launch vehicle. What I've not been able to locate in the documents so far is where it would have been located relative to the existing pads. So if anyone knows...?

Cost Studies of Multipurpose Large Launch Vehicles, Vol. III: Resource Implications (1969)

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19690030193.pdf
 

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From Life magazine, Sept 25,1964.
 

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Graham1973 said:
Found this general layout of a launch complex for a proposed Post-Saturn designed launch vehicle. What I've not been able to locate in the documents so far is where it would have been located relative to the existing pads. So if anyone knows...?

I would say it is notional and also suppose to be the Banana river.
 
George Allegrezza said:
At one point earlier in the discussions (1961-62ish), there was a proposal to put Nova where LC 39 is now, and move Advanced Saturn farther north.


if i remember this right
that's for early version of Nova Rocket, before Saturn C-5 version
this Nova was design for direct landing of Apollo spacecraft on Moon
later Lunar direct was replace by Lunar Orbit rendezvous concept and Saturn C-5 replaced the Nova
that became now a Heavy lift rocket for future mars mission
so they switch launch pad site
sadly around 1964 the Nova rocket planes ended up in NASA archives...
 

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