Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 12

Launch Complex 12 (LC-12) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida was a launch pad used by Atlas rockets and missiles between 1958 and 1967. It was the second-most southern of the pads known as missile row, between LC-11 to the south and LC-13 to the north. Along with Complexes 11, 13 and 14, featured a more robust design than many contemporary pads, due to the greater power of the Atlas compared to other rockets of the time. It was larger, and featured a 6 metres (20 ft) tall concrete launch pedestal and a reinforced blockhouse. The rockets were delivered to the launch pad by means of a ramp on the southwest side of the launch pedestal.

Atlas A, C and D missiles were tested from the site. It was also used for orbital launches of Atlas-Able and later Atlas-Agena rockets, and two Project FIRE suborbital tests for Project Apollo, using Atlas D rockets.

On 24 September 1959, the first Atlas-Able, 9C, exploded during a static firing test at LC-12, after a turbopump on one of the engines failed triggering a complete engine shutdown. The damaged turbopump continued to allow oxidizer to flow, feeding the fire beneath the vehicle. About a minute later the rocket suffered a structural failure, collapsed and exploded. Damage from the explosion took seven months to repair, with the next launch from the complex occurring in May 1960.

In 1961, LC-12 was converted to support the Atlas-Agena rocket. The first Atlas-Agena launch from LC-12 was in August 1961. On 23 April 1962, Atlas-Agena B 133D launched Ranger 4, the first American spacecraft to reach the surface of the Moon, when it made a hard landing at an impact speed of 9,617 kilometres per hour (5,976 mph).

On 27 August 1962, Mariner 2 was launched by Atlas-Agena B 179D, the first spacecraft conduct a successful flyby of another planet when it flew past Venus on 14 December 1962. On 28 July 1964, Atlas-Agena B 250D launched Ranger 7, which was the first fully successful Ranger mission. On 28 November 1964, Atlas-Agena D 288D launched with Mariner 4, which provided the first close-up pictures of Mars.

In 1967, LC-12 became the third of the four Atlas pads to be deactivated. Following deactivation, the launch tower, mobile service structure and launch support equipment were dismantled, and the site is no longer maintained.

Famous quotes containing the words station, launch, complex, force, cape and/or air:

    ...I believe it is now the duty of the slaves of the South to rebuke their masters for their robbery, oppression and crime.... No station or character can destroy individual responsibility, in the matter of reproving sin.
    Angelina Grimké (1805–1879)

    I had often stood on the banks of the Concord, watching the lapse of the current, an emblem of all progress, following the same law with the system, with time, and all that is made ... and at last I resolved to launch myself on its bosom and float whither it would bear me.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    What we do is as American as lynch mobs. America has always been a complex place.
    Jerry Garcia (1942–1995)

    Circumstances define us; they force us onto one road or another, and then they punish us for it.
    Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev (1818–1883)

    Round the cape of a sudden came the sea,
    And the sun looked over the mountain’s rim:
    And straight was a path of gold for him,
    And the need of a world of men for me.
    Robert Browning (1812–1889)

    Having grown up in shade of Church and State
    Breathing the air of drawing-rooms and scent ...
    Philip Larkin (1922–1986)