Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 17

Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 17[1][2] (SLC-17), previously designated Launch Complex 17 (LC-17), was a launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida used for Thor and Delta rocket launches between 1958 and 2011.

It was built in 1956 for use with the PGM-17 Thor missile, the first operational ballistic missile in the arsenal of the United States. More recently the launch complex has been used for vehicles in the Delta rocket family, derived from the Thor missile, to launch probes to the Moon and planets, solar observatories and weather satellites.

SLC-17 features two expendable launch vehicle (ELV) launch pads, 17A and 17B. The pads were operated by the US Air Force's 45th Space Wing and have supported more than 300 Department of Defense, NASA and commercial missile and rocket launches. Following the last military launch, in August 2009, SLC-17A was withdrawn from use, and SLC-17B was transferred to NASA for two remaining launches.

Pad 17A supported its first Thor missile launch on 3 August 1957, and Pad 17B supported its first Thor launch on 25 January 1957. The site was upgraded in the early 1960s to support a variety of more modern ELVs, which were derived from the basic Thor booster. The modern ELVs based on Thor came to be called the Delta family of rockets.

Thirty-five early Delta rocket missions were launched from Complex 17 between the beginning of 1960 and the end of 1965. At that time the complex was operated by the Air Force. The Air Force transferred Complex 17 to NASA in 1965, but the site was returned to the Air Force in 1988 to support the Delta II program.

As Delta II launches continued over the next decade, Pad 17B was modified in 1997 to support a new, more powerful launch vehicle, the Delta III, which made its maiden flight from the complex on 26 August 1998. The launch ended in failure, as did a second launch the next year. After a third launch on 23 August 2000 placed a mass simulator into a lower than planned orbit, the program was abandoned.

Among the major NASA missions launched from the complex were the Explorer and Pioneer space probes, all of the Orbiting Solar Observatories, the Solar Maximum Mission, Biological Satellites (BIOS), the International Cometary Explorer, the TIROS and GOES meteorology satellites, and the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity.

On 10 September 2011, a Delta II 7920H-10C made the final launch from Space Launch Complex 17, carrying NASA's GRAIL spacecraft. All remaining Delta II launches will be made from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

At 7am EDT (1100 GMT) on 12 July 2018, both historic launch towers had been demolished via controlled demolition to make way for Moon Express to build and test its lunar lander.[3]

Space Launch Complex 17
Delta II 7925-10C on pad 17B
Delta II rocket with the THEMIS spacecraft atop ready for launch on Pad 17B on February 16, 2007
Launch siteCape Canaveral Air Force Station
Location28°26′48″N 80°33′58″W / 28.44667°N 80.56611°WCoordinates: 28°26′48″N 80°33′58″W / 28.44667°N 80.56611°W
Short nameSLC-17
OperatorUnited States Air Force / NASA
Total launches325
Launch pad(s)Two
Min / max
orbital inclination
SLC-17A launch history
First launch30 August 1957
PGM-17 Thor
Last launch17 August 2009
Delta II / GPS IIR-M8
PGM-17 Thor
Thor DSV-2D
Delta A/B/C/D/E/G/L/M/N
Delta 2000
Delta 3000
Delta II 6000/7000
SLC-17B launch history
First launch25 January 1957
PGM-17 Thor
Last launch10 September 2011
Delta II / GRAIL
PGM-17 Thor
Thor DSV-2F
Thor DSV-2G
Delta A/B/C/E/G
Delta 1000
Delta 2000
Delta 3000
Delta 4000
Delta II 6000/7000/H
Delta III 8000


  1. ^ McDowell, Jonathan (1998-02-22). "Issue 350". Jonathan's Space Report. Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  2. ^ Table 3
  3. ^ "Towers at disused Florida launch pad to be toppled Thursday – Spaceflight Now". Retrieved 2018-07-12.


View over Launch Complex 17
LC-17 showing pads A and B in 2007
GENERAL VIEW OF BLOCKHOUSE IN SETTING FROM ROOF OF 36001; VIEW TO EAST. - Cape Canaveral Air Station, Launch Complex 17, Facility 28401, East end of Lighthouse Road, Cape HAER FAL,5-CACAN,1A-1
LC-17 blockhouse


was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1958th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 958th year of the 2nd millennium, the 58th year of the 20th century, and the 9th year of the 1950s decade.

Dawn (spacecraft)

Dawn is a retired space probe launched by NASA in September 2007 with the mission of studying two of the three known protoplanets of the asteroid belt, Vesta and Ceres. It was retired on 1 November 2018 and it is currently in an uncontrolled orbit about its second target, the dwarf planet Ceres. Dawn is the first spacecraft to orbit two extraterrestrial bodies, the first spacecraft to visit either Vesta or Ceres, and the first to visit a dwarf planet, arriving at Ceres in March 2015, a few months before New Horizons flew by Pluto in July 2015.

Dawn entered orbit around Vesta on July 16, 2011, and completed a 14-month survey mission before leaving for Ceres in late 2012. It then entered orbit around Ceres on March 6, 2015. NASA considered, but decided against, a proposal to visit a third target. On October 19, 2017, NASA announced that the mission would be extended until the probe's hydrazine fuel supply was used up. On November 1, 2018, NASA announced that the Dawn spacecraft had finally exhausted all of its hydrazine fuel, thus ending its mission. The satellite is currently in an uncontrolled state about Ceres.The Dawn mission was managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, with spacecraft components contributed by European partners from Italy, Germany, France, and the Netherlands. It was the first NASA exploratory mission to use ion propulsion, which enabled it to enter and leave the orbit of two celestial bodies. Previous multi-target missions using conventional drives, such as the Voyager program, were restricted to flybys.

Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope

The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (FGST), formerly called the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST), is a space observatory being used to perform gamma-ray astronomy observations from low Earth orbit. Its main instrument is the Large Area Telescope (LAT), with which astronomers mostly intend to perform an all-sky survey studying astrophysical and cosmological phenomena such as active galactic nuclei, pulsars, other high-energy sources and dark matter. Another instrument aboard Fermi, the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM; formerly GLAST Burst Monitor), is being used to study gamma-ray bursts.Fermi was launched on 11 June 2008 at 16:05 UTC aboard a Delta II 7920-H rocket. The mission is a joint venture of NASA, the United States Department of Energy, and government agencies in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Sweden, becoming the most sensitive gamma-ray telescope on orbit, succeeding INTEGRAL.

List of Launch Services Program launches

The launch history of NASA's Launch Services Program (LSP) since the program formed in 1998 at Kennedy Space Center. The unmanned launches of NASA robotic missions occurred from a number of launch sites on a variety of rockets. After the list of launches are descriptions of select historic LSP missions.

Mars Exploration Rover

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission was a robotic space mission involving two Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, exploring the planet Mars. It began in 2003 with the launch of the two rovers: MER-A Spirit and MER-B Opportunity—to explore the Martian surface and geology; both landed on Mars at separate locations in January 2004. Both rovers far outlived their planned missions of 90 Martian solar days: MER-A Spirit was active until March 22, 2010, while MER-B Opportunity was active until June 10, 2018 and holds the record for the longest distance driven by any off-Earth wheeled vehicle.


The Micro-satellite Technology Experiment (MiTEx) is a microsatellite-based mission launched into geosynchronous orbit June 21, 2006 aboard a Delta II rocket. The US Air Force described the mission as a "technology demonstration" for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy.MiTEx consists of three spacecraft; two inspection satellites, designated USA-187 and USA-188, and an experimental upper stage, designated USA-189. The two inspection satellites were initially used to inspect each other; however, they were later used to inspect DSP-23, a failed missile detection satellite, to find out why it stopped operating.

Space Tracking and Surveillance System

The United States Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is developing a Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS) which it will use to research the space-based detection and tracking of ballistic missiles. Data from STSS satellites could allow interceptors to engage incoming missiles earlier in flight than would be possible with other missile detection systems. The STSS program began in 2001, when the "SBIRS Low" program was transferred to MDA from the United States Air Force.


The Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) mission began in February 2007 as a constellation of five NASA satellites (THEMIS A through THEMIS E) to study energy releases from Earth's magnetosphere known as substorms, magnetic phenomena that intensify auroras near Earth's poles. The name of the mission is an acronym alluding to the Titan, Themis.Three of the satellites orbit the Earth within the magnetosphere, while two have been moved into orbit around the Moon. Those two were renamed ARTEMIS for Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and Electrodynamics of the Moon’s Interaction with the Sun. THEMIS B became ARTEMIS P1 and THEMIS C became ARTEMIS P2.The THEMIS satellites were launched February 17, 2007 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 17 aboard a Delta II rocket. Each satellite carries identical instrumentation, including a fluxgate magnetometer (FGM), an electrostatic analyzer (ESA), a solid state telescope (SST), a search-coil magnetometer (SCM) and an electric field instrument (EFI). Each probe has a mass of 126 kg, including 49 kg of hydrazine fuel.THEMIS data can be accessed using the SPEDAS software.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.