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Launch Complex 39A

Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39 has two Lauch Pads, 39A and 39B. These pads have been used for Apollo, Skylab, Apollo-Soyuz, and Space Shuttle launches.

The pads are located on Merritt Island, Florida, just north of Cape Canaveral, Florida. The pads were originally built for the huge Saturn V rockets that launched American astronauts on their historic journeys to the Moon and back during the Apollo missions.

After the joint U.S.-Soviet Apollo-Soyuz Test Project mission in July of 1975, the pads were modified to support launches of the Space Shuttle.

The modifications to support the Space Shuttle included the addition of two permanent service towers at each pad - the Fixed Service Structure and the Rotating Service Structure.

On April 12, 1981, Shuttle operations commenced at Pad 39A with the launch of Columbia (STS-1). After 23 more successful launches from Pad 39A, the first Space Shuttle to lift off from Pad 39B was the ill-fated Challenger in January of 1986.


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