Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
The Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) is part of the United States Air Force Space Command. The Space Command's 45th Space Wing is based at the nearby Patrick Air Force Base. The CCAFS is at Cape Canaveral, Florida. It is next to the Kennedy Space Center which is on Merritt Island. The two facilities have access to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Skid Strip which is a large 3,000 m (9,843 ft) runway for military aircraft bringing heavy and oversize loads. the CCAFS has four active launch pads for space rockets.
Many space missions have been launched from CCAFS including:
- Explorer 1 the first U.S. earth satellite (1958)
- MR-3 with Alan Shepard, the first U.S. astronaut (1961)
- Mercury-Atlas 6 with John Glenn, the first U.S. astronaut in orbit (1962)
- Gemini 3, the first two-man U.S. spacecraft (1965)
- Surveyor 1, the first U.S. unmanned lunar landing (1966)
- Apollo 7, the first three-man U.S. spacecraft (1968)
- Mariner 9, the first spacecraft to orbit Mars (1971)
- Mars Pathfinder, the first mission to roam the surface of Mars (1996)
- Pioneer program, the first American spacecraft to orbit and land on Venus (1978)
- Cassini−Huygens, the first spacecraft to orbit Saturn (2004)
- MESSENGER which orbited Mercury (2011).