Launch Complex 26 was the site where the USA launched its first satellite Explorer 1 on February 1st 1958. LC-26 is a dual pad A/B complex that was first active in 1957. Both pads share the same blockhouse.
Launch pad 26A was used for launching Redstone and Jupiter rockets launching Explorer 1 and Explorer 2. Explorer 1 was launched and deployed successfully, this Magnetosphere satellite discovered the Van Allen radiation belt around the Earth. Unfortunately Explorer 2 was not such a success with the upper stage failing to fire the mission was a failure.
Launch Pad 26B launched Jupiter and Juno rockets with varying payloads. Many of these were tagged as “Bioflights” sending various plants and animals into space to study the effects of space travel on life. This was the precursor to the launch of Alan Shepard in 1961 from the adjacent Launch Complex 5.
Launch Pad 26A launched 14 rockets and pad 26B launched 22 with the first launch August 28th 1957 and the last January 23rd 1963.
After the final launch LC-26 was deactivated and repurposed to become the USAF Space and Missile Museum in 1964. Twenty years later it was declared a national historic landmark, and can be visited by members of the public to this day as part of the Kennedy Space Center “Cape Canaveral: Then & Now Tour”.