Heading northbound on ICBM Road from SLC-11 is SLC-12. Again this pad supported launches of Atlas rockets in the form of Atlas, Atlas Able and Atlas Agena. The pad saw it’s first launch January 10th 1958 with a successful flight of the forth Atlas rocket launched from Cape Canaveral.
November 5th 1967 saw the last flight of an Atlas Agena successfully launching the ATS-3 communications satellite. This filled out 38 flights from the launch pad.
LC-12 was used for a number of missions/spacecraft including the Pioneer and Ranger Lunar programs, the Mariner Planetary probes, along with OGO, OAO and ATS satellite missions.
On September 24th 1959 an Atlas Able failed spectacularly during a static test when the first stage failed and the rocket exploded on the launch pad. The payload of P-1 spacecraft and Able IV space engine was not present on the launch vehicle when it exploded.
This explosion highlighted the need for the protection provided for the ground staff by blockhouses. www.astronautix.com quotes a member of the ground staff as saying “I worked for the ARMA Corp that developed the Atlas Inertial Guidance System. I was in the Blockhouse at Complex 11 while a static test was performed on an Atlas Able on Complex 12. It did explode. Did it ever! After a couple of hours the six of us were allowed out of the blockhouse and saw all the damage to our complex…“.
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