Mobile Launcher Platform 1

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A Saturn V with Apollo 10 rolls out to LC-39B on ML-3

Mobile Launcher Platform 1 or MLP-1, formerly Mobile Launcher 3 or ML-3 is one of three Mobile Launcher Platforms used at Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39. Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches were conducted from MLP-1 between 1969 and 2009. It was modified for use in the Constellation program but ended up being used only once for the Ares I-X launch before the cancellation of the program.

Apollo/Saturn V[edit]

ML-3 (right) under construction, along with ML-1 and ML-2. The VAB is on the left

MLP-1 was originally constructed as a Mobile Launcher for the Saturn V rocket, and was designated ML-3, or LUT-3, it was built by Ingalls Iron Works. Construction began in 1964, and was completed with the installation of the Launch Umbilical Tower hammerhead crane on 1 March 1965,[1] the swing arms, which were constructed by Hayes International were added at a later date.

Following completion, ML-3 was used for five manned Apollo launches; Apollo 10, Apollo 13, Apollo 15, Apollo 16 and Apollo 17.

Space Shuttle and Project Constellation[edit]

Space Shuttle Columbia rolls out to LC-39A atop MLP-1, ahead of STS-107.

Following the launch of Apollo 17, ML-3 was the first of the Mobile Launchers to be converted for use by the Space Shuttle, the Launch Umbilical Tower was dismantled and placed into storage, and the base of the launch platform was modified to accommodate the locations of engines on the Shuttle. The platform was redesignated MLP-1.

In total, MLP-1 was used for fifty two Shuttle launches, between 1981 and 2009, it was used for the first Space Shuttle launch, STS-1, in April 1981. Following the launch of STS-119 in March 2009, it was transferred to Project Constellation, the platform was used only for the Ares I-X and was going to be disassembled after the launch.[2] The Project Constellation was though cancelled and the ML was left unused.

Launch history[edit]

Date/Time (GMT) Rocket Mission Remarks
18 May 1969, 16:49 Saturn V SA-505 Apollo 10 Manned flight to lunar orbit
11 April 1970, 19:13 Saturn V SA-508 Apollo 13 Manned Lunar landing, converted to circumlunar flight after oxygen tank exploded
26 July 1971, 13:34 Saturn V SA-510 Apollo 15 Manned Lunar landing
16 April 1972, 17:54 Saturn V SA-511 Apollo 16 Manned Lunar landing
7 December 1972, 05:33 Saturn V SA-512 Apollo 17 Manned lunar landing, final Apollo Lunar mission
12 April 1981, 12:00 Space Shuttle Columbia STS-1 Maiden flight of Space Shuttle, test flight
12 November 1981, 15:10 Space Shuttle Columbia STS-2 Test flight
22 March 1982, 16:00 Space Shuttle Columbia STS-3 Test flight
27 June 1982, 15:00 Space Shuttle Columbia STS-4 Final test flight
11 November 1982, 12:19 Space Shuttle Columbia STS-5 Deployed SBS-3 and Anik C3
18 June 1983, 11:33 Space Shuttle Challenger STS-7 Deployed Anik C2 and Palapa B1
28 November 1983, 16:00 Space Shuttle Columbia STS-9 Scientific mission; first Spacelab mission
6 April 1984, 13:58 Space Shuttle Challenger STS-41C Deployed LDEF, repaired SolarMax
5 October 1984, 11:03 Space Shuttle Challenger STS-41G Deployed ERBS
24 January 1985, 19:50 Space Shuttle Discovery STS-51C Classified mission; deployed USA-8
12 April 1985, 13:59 Space Shuttle Discovery STS-51D Deployed Anik C1 and Syncom IV-1
17 June 1985, 11:33 Space Shuttle Discovery STS-51G Deployed Arabsat 1B, Morelos I and Telstar 3D
27 August 1985, 10:58 Space Shuttle Discovery STS-51I Deployed Aussat 1, ASC-1 and Syncom IV-4; repaired Syncom IV-3
6 November 1985, 17:44 Space Shuttle Challenger STS-61A Scientific mission; performed experiments with NASA/ESA Spacelab
12 January 1986, 11:55 Space Shuttle Columbia STS-61C Deployed Satcom K1
2 December 1988, 14:30 Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-27 Classified mission; deployed USA-34 (recently declassified as Lacrosse 1)
4 May 1989, 18:48 Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-30 Deployed Magellan probe
18 October 1989, 16:53 Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-34 Deployed Galileo probe
28 February 1990, 07:50 Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-36 Classified mission; deployed USA-53
15 November 1990, 23:48 Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-38 Classified mission; deployed USA-67
5 April 1991, 14:22 Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-37 Deployed Compton Gamma Ray Observatory
2 August 1991, 15:01 Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-43 Deployed TDRS-E
24 November 1991, 23:44 Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-44 Deployed DSP satellite
24 March 1992, 13:13 Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-45 Scientific mission; performed experiments with ATLAS-1
31 July 1992, 13:56 Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-46 Deployed ESA's EURECA and TSS satellite
2 December 1992, 13:24 Space Shuttle Discovery STS-53 Deployed classified DoD-1
8 April 1993, 05:29 Space Shuttle Discovery STS-56 Scientific mission; performed experiments with ATLAS-2
18 October 1993, 14:53 Space Shuttle Columbia STS-58 Scientific mission; performed experiements concerning physiologicial effects of spaceflight
4 March 1994, 13:53 Space Shuttle Columbia STS-62 Scientific mission; performed microgravity experiements
30 September 1994, 11:16 Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-68 Scientific mission; performed experiments with SRL-2
2 March 1995, 06:38 Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-67 Scientific mission; performed experiments with Astro-2
7 September 1995, 15:09 Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-69 Scientific mission; performed experiments with WSF and Spartan 201
11 January 1996, 09:41 Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-72 Scientific mission; captured and returned SFU to Earth
19 May 1996, 10:30 Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-77 Scientific mission; performed research aboard the SPACEHAB module
16 September 1996, 08:54 Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-79 First shuttle docking with completed Mir (4th docking overall)
11 February 1997, 08:55 Space Shuttle Discovery STS-82 Serviced Hubble Space Telescope
1 July 1997, 18:02 Space Shuttle Columbia STS-94 Scientific mission; performed experiments with Spacelab
19 November 1997, 19:46 Space Shuttle Columbia STS-87 Scientific mission; performed experiments with USMP-4 and SPARTAN-201
2 June 1998, 22:06 Space Shuttle Discovery STS-91 Final shuttle docking with Mir
23 July 1999, 04:31 Space Shuttle Columbia STS-93 Deployed Chandra
19 May 2000, 10:11 Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-101 ISS resupply
1 December 2000, 03:06 Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-97 ISS assembly; delivered solar arrays
19 April 2001, 18:40 Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-100 ISS assembly; delivered Canadarm2
5 December 2001 22:19 Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-108 ISS resupply and crew rotation
5 June 2002 21:22 Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-111 ISS resupply and crew rotation
January 16, 2003 15:39 Space Shuttle Columbia STS-107 Spacehab mission, disintegrated during reentry
4 July 2006, 18:37 Space Shuttle Discovery STS-121 Test new safety and repair techniques implemented after Columbia disaster. ISS logistics; delivered MPLM
10 December 2006, 01:47 Space Shuttle Discovery STS-116 ISS assembly; delivered P5 truss segment
8 August 2007, 22:36 Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-118 ISS assembly; delivered S5 truss segment, ESP-3, and a replacement CMG
7 February 2008, 19:45 Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-122 ISS assembly; delivered Columbus
15 March 2009, 23:43 Space Shuttle Discovery STS-119 ISS assembly; delivered S6 truss segment
28 October 2009 15:30 Ares I-X Final launch from MLP-1


  1. ^ Benson, Charles D; Faherty, William B. "The Swing-Arm Controversy". Moonport: A History of Apollo Launch Facilities and Operations. NASA History Office. Retrieved 2009-03-25. 
  2. ^ Ochoa-Gonzales, Frank (2009-04-17). "Space Shuttle Program Hands over Launch Platform to Constellation". NASA. Retrieved 2015-11-21. 

Further reading[edit]

  • McDowell, Jonathan. "Saturn V". Orbital and Suborbital Launch Database. Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 2009-03-25. 
  • McDowell, Jonathan. "STS". Orbital and Suborbital Launch Database. Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 2009-03-25.