Kennedy Space Center - one of the seven wonders of the world. Kennedy Space Center made famous the Apollo program, which, from 1960 to 1970, used the center's launch platform to launch spacecraft on a mission to the moon. Today, the Kennedy Space Center is more of a tourist attraction in the United States, although its launch pad at Cape Canaveral in Florida is still operational. Also on the territory of the center there is a museum with an exhibition of spaceships. The Kennedy Space Center launch pad is also open to tourists.
Prior to the construction of the Kennedy Space Center, the area was used as a US Air Force test site and base. From this test site, in 1958, the first satellite in US history was launched. Later there was a spacecraft "Mercury", piloted by US citizen Alan Shepard, this happened on May 5, 1961. With the development of space exploration, US President John F. Kennedy launched the Apollo program, which was designed to build spaceships that would later take a man to the moon. After the death of John F. Kennedy in 1963, the space center was named after him.
For the researchers, the task was not only to design spaceships, but also all the technology and technical equipment that may be needed in the future for the correct operation of the space center. For example, in order to launch the Apollo spacecraft in 1967, it took the huge Saturn rocket. Since the rocket was very large, a large 160-meter hangar was built to assemble it. To transport the rocket from the hangar to the launch pad, a special tracked vehicle was built that could transfer a rocket weighing 5 thousand tons.
But, despite all the safety measures and technical equipment, the first launch of Apollo in 1967 ended in disaster. A fire broke out in the cockpit of the ship and all crew members were killed. This tragedy led to the fact that engineers and designers began to radically revise all projects and schemes of spacecraft, and in the period until 1969, only unmanned aerial vehicles were sent into space. The situation changed on June 16, 1969, when the Apollo 11 spacecraft, launched into orbit by the Saturn rocket, safely left the earth's atmosphere and headed for the Moon, and on June 20, American astronaut Neil Armstrong took the first step on the lunar surface, most huge breakthrough in space exploration.
For all its splendor, the Apollo was a very expensive craft. It was the lack of money that prompted engineers and designers to create a reusable shuttle. For the experimental launch of such a shuttle, a huge runway with a length of 4572 meters was specially built, but which was also used for secret launches, tests and rechecking of a new type of spacecraft. By 1986, the number of successful flights of this type of shuttles was 24. And nevertheless, despite the robot over the mistakes, catastrophes still happened. The Space Shuttle Challenger crash occurred on January 28, 1986, when the Challenger spacecraft exploded at the 73rd second of flight at the very beginning of the STS-51L mission, killing all seven crew members. After this disaster, the shuttle program was suspended for a long 32 months.
The Kennedy Space Center is now the launch site for the Space Shuttle, and complex 39 is being reused with the Apollo infrastructure. The first launch was the Columbia spacecraft on April 12, 1981. In September 2004, part of the Kennedy Space Center was destroyed by Hurricane Francis. The building of the vertical collection lost 1000 external panels measuring 1.2 x 3.0 m. Damage was received to the south and east of the building.