Feature Article: Launch Complex 40
Space Launch Complex 40 is located at the northern end of Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launchpad is currently home to the Falcon 9 rocket, delivering both commercial and NASA payloads to low Earth orbit and beyond.
LC-40 was first used in 1965 with the maiden flight of the Titan IIIC. Between 1965 and 2005 there were 30 Titan IIC, 8 Titan 34D and 17 Titan IV launches. Notable payloads include the failed Mars Observer spacecraft, launched in 1992, and the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft, which launched in 1997 and arrived at the gas giant Saturn in 2004.
Since 2007 the launchpad has been leased to commercial launch provider SpaceX for their Falcon 9 rocket. The pad has conducted thirteen Falcon 9 launches from 2010 to 2015. Among these launches there have been several successful missions to the International Space Station with the Dragon cargo spacecraft and a number of commercial satellite missions to both low Earth orbit and geostationary orbit. The only failure to note was the CRS-7 mission in June, where the Falcon 9 rocket disintegrated shortly after lift-off. The catastrophe resulted in the loss of the Dragon spacecraft and its cargo, and has forced SpaceX to stand down for several months in order to fix the issues with the rocket and produce a full report to the authorities.
SpaceX plan to retain the launchpad for many years to come. Although SpaceX are currently upgrading LC-39A, the launchpad will only be used for Falcon Heavy and commercial crew flights.