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


NASA/Fletcher Hildreth

Under a dry, hot, cloud-washed Florida sky, space shuttle Atlantis roars off Launch Pad 39A with its crew of seven for a rendezvous with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope on May 11, 2009. [Hubble FAQ: Inside the Last Space Telescope Repair Mission]

Storm over STS-127

Bill Ingalls/NASA

Storm clouds roll in over Pad 39A on July 10, 2009 as space shuttle Endeavour stands awaiting the launch of STS-127. [The History of Shuttle Launch Delays]

Lightning Delays STS-128

Ben Cooper/NASA

Xenon lights and a lightning strike illuminate Pad 39A as the launch of the space shuttle Discovery is delayed due to inclement weather on Aug. 24, 2009. [VIDEO: STS-128 Shuttle Mission Boosts ISS Science]

Launch Control Center


The launch control room at Kennedy Space Center awaits the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour on March 11, 2010.


NASA/Jack Pfaller

The rotating service structure, which provides weather protection and access to the shuttle, moves into place around space shuttle Discovery on Launch Pad 39A prior to the launch of the space shuttle Discovery on Feb. 1, 2011. [Photos of Discovery's Final Mission: STS-133]


NASA/Jack Pfaller

Space shuttle Endeavour stands at Launch Pad 39A. The shuttle launched for its final mission, STS-134, in May 2011. [NASA Launches Space Shuttle Endeavour on Final Voyage]


NASA/Troy Cryder

Space shuttle Atlantis is revealed at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A following retraction of the pad's Rotating Service Structure on July 7, 2011. [NASA's Last Shuttle Mission in Pictures]

Lease Announcement

Dan Casper/Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

On April 14, 2014, Kennedy Space Center director Bob Cabana announced that NASA signed a lease agreement with SpaceX for use and operation of Launch Complex 39A. NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and Gwynne Shotwell, president and CEO of SpaceX, were present for the announcement. [Read the full story]

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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.