Launch Complex 5 saw a second major milestone for rocket launches from Cape Canaveral AFS. On May 5th 1961 Alan Shepard was the first American in space. The launch from LC-5 happened at 14:34 GMT on Redstone MRLV-7 also known as Freedom 7 and Mercury MR-3. (MRLV stands for Mercury Redstone Launch Vehicle and MR is Mercury Redstone).
Space Launch Complex 5 is part of a dual launch site with the Blockhouse being shared with LC-6. This complex was also connected to LC-26 by means of a dual track railroad most of which has long since been dismantled.
LC-5 was used to launch Jupiter, Juno and Redstone rockets with a number of different payloads, including the first Mercury spacecraft. The first launch attempt was made on the 19th July 1956 of a Jupiter A rocket, which launched successfully.
As can be seen from the images the launch complexes were starting to get more sophisticated by this time. The actual launch pad was still relatively small and highly portable, but the supporting infrastructure was becoming less mobile.
This launch site has tracks enabling the servicing structure to be moved in and out from the pad, and indeed shared with LC-6 and LC-26. The gantry for the servicing structure enabled the rocket to be easily worked on whilst erect and it also provided protection from the elements in the run-up to the launch when the rocket would otherwise have been exposed.
LC-5 was active from july 1956 to July 1961. 23 flights were made from the complex see below for details.
The entire area for LC-5, LC-6 and LC-26 now forms part of the USAF Space and Missile Museum and can be visited by the general public via a bus tour that originates from Kennedy Space Center’s Visitor Complex. NASA/Delaware North Parks Service operates a bus tour 7 days a week (launch schedule permitting) called “Cape Canaveral: Then and Now.” The tour lasts about 2 1/2 hours and includes a stop at the museum, NASA’s Launch Complex 5/6, and various other historic launch complexes at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station SLC-5 Launch Record