In Photos: NASA's Historic Launch Pad 39A, from Apollo to Shuttle to SpaceX

NASA's Most Historic Launchpad


Launchpad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida sent the first astronauts to the moon, supported dozens of space shuttle missions, and now serves as a commercial launch site.

Pictured here: An aerial view of Launch Pad 39A taken during the Apollo era in 1976.

Early Construction


Construction of the launch complex began in 1963. Pictured here is the early construction phase of Pad 39A in July 1964.

A Flame Trench is Born


By September 1964, the hardstand on both sides of the flame trench beneath Pad 39A begins to take shape.

Concrete in Place


By November 1964, most of the concrete has been poured at Pad 39A.

Near Completion


Construction of Pad 39A was nearly complete by January 1965.

Warning Lights


Launch Complex 39's warning system lights, pictured here on May 25, 1966, included a light for Pad C, which was originally planned but never built.

Apollo 4


The first flight of a Saturn V rocket lifted off from Pad 39A on Nov. 9, 1967.

Apollo 6 Rollout


Apollo 6, the final unmanned test flight of the Saturn V rocket, rolls out to the launchpad in this photo taken in 1968.

Apollo 8


The first crewed spacecraft to orbit the moon, Apollo 8, stands on the launchpad prior to launch in December 1968.

Apollo 11


The Saturn V rocket that would carry Apollo 11 astronauts to the moon stands on the launchpad in 1969.

Mobile Service Structure


The Mobile Service Structure approaches the Saturn V rocket on pad 39A before Apollo 11's launch in 1969.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Hanneke Weitering
Contributing expert

Hanneke Weitering is a multimedia journalist in the Pacific Northwest reporting on the future of aviation at and Aviation International News and was previously the Editor for Spaceflight and Astronomy news here at As an editor with over 10 years of experience in science journalism she has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time, Hanneke enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.