Jul 25

Canaveral Air Force Station’s Missile Museum

Category: Travel

Now that we’re done with official work duties, we’ve taken a couple of hours to scout around and see what kind of tourism the Air Force Station has to offer.  We found the missile museum, situated at the launch site of explorer-1.  Here is the description from their web site:

The museum is located at Launch Complex 26, the site of the first successful launch of an American satellite, Explorer I, in 1958 by the U.S. Army. Beginning with early Redstone, Jupiter and Juno flights in 1957, Complex 26 hosted 36 launches until its deactivation in 1963. Three primates, Gordo, Able and Miss Baker, were launched here in 1958 and 1959, paving the way for future manned space flights. Complex 26 also served as the site of numerous Jupiter launches as part of NATO’s combat training program for Italian and Turkish missile crews through the early 1960s.

dsc_3953.jpgThe Explorer-1 blockhouse is now a museum with a small shop, there are a number of interesting artifacts in there.  I particularly liked the ancient computers.

We also found the pad used for the early manned missions.  It’s not associated with the missile museum, and is off the beaten path.  There’s not much left of the launch tower, but the pad and its long ramp are still there.  At the ramp’s foot sits a monument to the early space program.  The blockhouse also remains; it looks like it could survive a nuclear blast.  Those pipes sticking out of the top are periscopes.  It appears that the blockhouse is maintained as a prestigious meeting place; it is not open to the public, although you can walk around the outside if you have base access.

dsc_3965.jpgdsc_3969.jpgdsc_3966.jpgMy colleague Scott at the blockhouse door.

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