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Countdown! NASA Launch Vehicles and Facilities
PMS 018-B 
October 1991
Section 3

FACILITIES AND OPERATIONS

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Kennedy Space Center is the primary NASA center for the test, checkout and launch of Space Shuttle vehicles and their payloads, as well as the turnaround of orbiters between missions. It is one of the major landing sites for the Shuttle.

Manned Space Shuttles launch from KSC's Launch Complex 39, located on Merritt Island, FL, just north of Cape Canaveral. The Launch Complex 39 facilities originally supported the Apollo lunar landing program. From 1967 to 1975, 12 Saturn V/Apollo vehicles, one Saturn V/Skylab workshop, three Saturn 1B/Apollo vehicles for Skylab crews, and one Saturn 1B/Apollo for the joint U.S.-Soviet Apollo-Soyuz mission, flew into space from Launch Complex 39.

These facilities underwent modifications to process and launch the Space Shuttle. Modifying existing facilities was far less expensive than building all new structures. There were two major new additions a special runway to land returning orbiters and an orbiter checkout hangar called the Orbiter Processing Facility. During the 1980s, a number of new facilities were added for solid rocket booster processing, Shuttle logistics, orbiter modification and refurbishment, and repair and final manufacture of Thermal Protection System materials.

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