A Delta 2 rocket is revealed at Complex 17B before a launch in February 2007 with NASA’s THEMIS mission, consisting of five identical satellites designed to study Earth’s auroras. Complex 17A is in the foreground. Credit: NASA/George Shelton
The U.S. Air Force plans Thursday to demolish towers once used to assemble Delta 2 rockets at Cape Canaveral for missions to Mars, four dozen flights to deploy the GPS navigation network, and numerous other launches with scientific, commercial and military payloads.
The demolition is planned around 7 a.m. EDT (1100 GMT) Thursday at the Complex 17 launch pad, where twin mobile gantries and fixed towers will be toppled by explosives.
Located near the southern perimeter of the sprawling Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Complex 17 is one of the Florida spaceport’s oldest launch pads, where 325 Thor and Delta boosters departed on missile tests and satellite deliveries from 1957 through 2011.
But the Delta 2 rocket which once launched from Complex 17 is nearing retirement. The Delta 2 last flew from Cape Canaveral on Sept. 10, 2011, with a pair of science probes to study the moon’s gravity field, and just one more Delta 2 launcher is left to fly in ...