NASA’s Parker Solar Probe marks a new chapter in Cape Canaveral history
NASA’s daring mission to the Sun (the corona is only the latest incredible launch from Cape Canaveral. This marks a new chapter in the legendary site of the history.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – All eyes will be on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Saturday for the launch of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe. The daring mission to the sun is just the latest historic launch of the iconic site.
Sent on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket, Parker will be closer to the surface of the sun than any previous spacecraft. Hurtling through space at a mind-boggling 430,000 km per hour on its final orbits, the probe will also be a new speed record for an object of human design.
The Cape Canaveral launch site, of course, is no stranger to historical events.
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“Cape Canaveral, for me, is as the embodiment of the access to the space point, where all of the history it has made,” Tony Taliancich, director and general manager of the launch of the activities on the United Launch Alliance, told Fox News. “Because if you go back to the early days, this is where the first testing and development of rockets that took us to the room.”
Long synonymous with the U.S. space program, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station was selected as a rocket test site in 1947. The first rocket launched from the base to the Bumper 2 in 1950.
Launch Complex 5/6, built in 1955 for the Redstone missile testing program, launched Alan Shepard and Freedom 7 on 5 May 1961, and Gus Grissom aboard the Liberty Bell 7 on July 21, 1961, the National Park Service notes on its website.
“Launch Complex 26 launched Explorer I, first AMERICAN satellite, on Jan. 31, 1958, and was the site of the launch of primates Ham, Gordo, Able and Baker in tests that paved the way for Alan Shepard’s Mercury flight,” it adds.
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“There is so much history here, if you go back through the Apollo program, the Mercury program, all the programs that they developed and delivered for the world,” Taliancich said.
John Glenn’s Friendship 7 capsule launched from Cape Canaveral aboard a Mercury-Atlas rocket on Feb. 20, 1962. During the mission, Glenn was the first American in orbit around the Earth.
“We had John Glenn, who left us the Space Complex 14 on an Atlas rocket and we are actually launching astronauts again on an Atlas rocket in the near future,” Taliancich added.
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The launch director notes that Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 34 has a special place in american aerospace history. It is “the place where the first astronauts of the Apollo program gave their lives trying to lead the exploration of space,” he said.
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station was designated a National Historic landmark by the National Park Service on April 16, 1984.
While Cape Canaveral has a legendary past, Taliancich of the opinion that there are important chapters yet to be written for America and its outreach in the space.
“It is an exciting time, there is so much going on,” he told Fox News. “Every part of what happens in the industry is creating a greater awareness and understanding in the community of what space means for the world.”
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