NASA's Kennedy Space Center Celebrates 50th Anniversary July 1
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- On Sunday, NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida celebrates 50 years of launching humans and machines to other planets and into low Earth orbit.
Since its inception as the Launch Operations Center on July 1, 1962, Kennedy has supported a variety of launch vehicles and payloads. The Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs carried astronauts on space missions that culminated in moon landings. Planetary probes lifted off on journeys that expanded our knowledge. The space shuttles launched 135 times and helped build the International Space Station.
Kennedy Director Bob Cabana said, "In 50 years, less than a lifetime, Americans first pioneered paths into orbit, then made confident strides onto the surface of another world and sent instrument-laden machines into the perilous reaches of space beyond the solar system. All those voyages began here, made possible in large measure by the professionalism, determination and boldness of the Kennedy team."
A 50th Anniversary website charts the five-decade history of Kennedy Space Center and includes a video that chronicles some of the center's most impressive milestones: http://go.nasa.gov/y0VdRi
As it turns 50, Kennedy is transitioning to the launch complex of the future, revamping existing infrastructure and facilities to provide the flexibility to host a variety of vehicles.
"We have learned so much about exploring new horizons," Cabana said. "In our endeavors, we've also come to realize that there is so much out there for us to discover. Kennedy is the linchpin to NASA's new undertakings because we are, and always have been, the nation's premier launch site."
In partnership with NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, the Commercial Crew Program at Kennedy is spurring the innovation and development of commercial spacecraft and launch vehicles to transport our astronauts to and from low Earth orbit and the International Space Station.
Kennedy also will be the starting point for NASA's Orion crew capsule and Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket, which will provide an entirely new capability for human exploration beyond low Earth orbit.
Kennedy's Launch Services Program is preparing for at least 25 missions to various destinations, including Mars, Pluto and our sun.
For more information about Kennedy, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/kennedy
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