Encyclopedia Astronautica
1961.08.24 - Merritt Island selected for Saturn V launch site.


After considering Cape Canaveral, Cape Canaveral-Merritt Island, Mayaguana-Bahamas, Cumberland-Georgia, Brownville-Texas, Christmas Island, Hawaii, and White Sands, Merritt Island selected as launch site for manned lunar flights and other missions requiring Saturn and Nova class vehicles. Based upon national space goals announced by the President in May, NASA plans called for acquisition of 80,000 acres north and west of AFMTC, to be administered by the USAF as agent for NASA and as a part of the Atlantic Missile Range.

Decision followed intensive NASA-DOD survey for launching facilities, including trajectory advantages, overflight or booster impact hazards, air and water transportation, instrumentation support, and cost, time, and land availability advantages. Expansion of Cape Canaveral was noted as first of three major steps in accelerating the U.S. space program, the remaining two steps being a manned space flight research center, and a booster fabrication and test facility.

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