The 39A launch complex at the Kennedy Space Center, originally built for NASA's lunar missions, is currently sheltering the SpaceX Falcon rocket.
Falcon 9 and Dragon at site 39A on Thursday evening.
With the development of passenger spaceships and plans for settling Mars, Ilon Musk is nostalgic this week, preparing to launch the 30th Falcon 9 rocket.
The reason for the sentimentality is that the launch pad is a historic site built in the 1960s to bring Americans to the moon. At the end of the Apollo program, the site was repaired for NASA's space shuttles, which launched the next 30 years. The last launch was made in 2011.
Now, the launch complex 39A, located in the Kennedy Space Center (Florida), is provided by SpaceX, which spent millions to prepare the site for its missiles. The first launch of Falcon 9 is scheduled for this weekend.
“I have no fear of speaking in front of a crowd, but my heart is beating like crazy now. And not because you make me nervous, but because my rocket is at this unusual place, ”said Gwynn Shotwell, President of SpaceX, to journalists at the launch site on Friday.
“This is a historic site. We put it in order during the recovery, preserving the precious memory of past launches. We have updated things, making them suitable for modern use. I can't even tell you how happy I am to be here, ”he said. “This site would simply have been destroyed by rust and salt air, if not for the contract with the company,” added the director of the Kennedy Space Center, Bob Kanaba, a former astronaut who flew 4 times on a spacecraft.
In 2014, SpaceX signed a lease for 20 years to launch Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. It took almost three years to repair the site.
Site operation became a top priority after the rocket explosion in September 2016, since that point was the main launch site. Repair of the site, located at the Air Force station at Cape Canaveral to the south of NASA’s cosmodrome, is in the implementation stage. Shotwell said they are going to resume flights from pad 40 this summer.
39A will continue its mission, launching Falcon Heavy, the first flight of which is scheduled for this year.
SpaceX also uses the Vanderberg airbase in California, which is positioned for polar and high-inclination orbits, and is building a fourth launch pad in Texas.