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Space Launch Complex 17 demolition

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. -- With a final farewell and the push of a plunger, Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, 45th Space Wing Commander, demolished the nearly 200-foot-tall towers at 7 a.m. July 12 at Space Launch Complex 17, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The demolition of the towers marks the first phase of a contract, which was awarded in September 2016 and involved demolition of the Delta II towers, associated structures, and includes pavements and site restoration. 

“The towers were workhorses in their day, supporting 325 launches between 1957 and 2011,” General Monteith said. “For many, this launch complex bridged the Space Age from the early days to the era of large boosters. It’s a bittersweet day as we say goodbye to these iconic towers, but their demolition paves the way for innovation as Moon Express comes to work on the same hallowed ground as the LC-17 crews.” 

Launch Complex 17 was built for the Air Force’s THOR Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) research and development in 1956, and it was used by the Air Force and NASA to support DELTA launch operations until September 10, 2011. The complex consisted of two launch pads, Pad 17A and Pad 17B. The NAVSTAR Global Positioning Satellite launched from Pad 17A on February 14, 1989.

Approximately 16,000 tons of metal and more than 2,000 tons of concrete will be recycled from these demolition phases, as part of the $1.9 million project.  

“This is the busiest space port in the entire world, right here in Brevard County in Florida. There is nothing more exciting that we do than preparing for the future,” General Monteith said. “We make history every single week here on the range, and today we get to be a part of future history. I want to stay in this business and keep diving us forward in maintaining American supremacy in space all the way through the future.” 

Moon Express plans to repurpose the site and use it for lunar lander development and flight test operations. 

“We are moving to the future,” he said. “The hard work that occurred at this pad is a testament to the DOD and NASA workers that made their mark and paved the way to where we are today. The work that goes on here is absolutely remarkable, and we look forward to the successes of Moon Express as they work on the same ground as the LC-17 Crews, and you have some pretty big shoes to fill.”

For more information on the history of SLC 17, visit http://afspacemuseum.org/library/histories/Delta.pdf