Encyclopedia Astronautica
Cape Canaveral LC46


Trident, Athena launch complex. This complex was built as part of the U.S. Navy's Trident II ballistic missile effort at the Cape. Construction was underway in February 1984, and the complex was ordnance-certified in November 1986. Complex 46 supported the Cape's first Trident II test missile launch on 15 January 1987. Eighteen more Trident IIs were launched from the site between 17 March 1987 and 27 January 1989. As Trident launch operations moved out to sea later in 1989, the complex was placed on standby status awaiting special Trident II test requirements. No new requirements surfaced in the 1990s, but the Spaceport Florida Authority (SFA) won $4,890,000 in Air Force grants to redesign Complex 46 to handle small commercial space launch operations (e.g., Lockheed Martin's new LMLV-2 space launch vehicle).

A Critical Design Review (CDR) for the complex was held in March 1996, and construction was underway shortly thereafter. Modifications included a new launch mount, a Mobile Access Structure (MAS), an umbilical foundation and service trenches and conduits. Spaceport Florida opened Complex 46 for commercial space launch operations on 29 May 1997. The complex supported its first commercial space launch - an Athena II carrying the Lunar Prospector spacecraft - on 7 January 1998.

Longitude: -80.5284 deg.
Latitude: 28.4585 deg.
First Launch: 1987.01.15.
Last Launch: 1999.01.27.
Number: 21 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Spacecraft
  • ROCSAT Taiwanese earth sea satellite. 3 launches, 1999.01.27 (ROCSAT-1) to 2008.10.01 (ROCSAT 2). Taiwan's ROCSAT (Republic of China Satellites) were built for Taiwan's National Space Program Office. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Trident D-5 American intercontinental range, submarine-launched ballistic missile. Deployed March 1990 aboard the new Ohio-class submarines. 336 remain in service in the 2010's as America's seaborne nuclear deterrent. More...
  • Athena-1 American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Basic version of the Athena with a Castor 120 first stage, Orbus second stage, and OAM Orbital Adjustment Module. More...
  • Athena-2 American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. The Athena-2 version featured a Castor 120 first stage, Castor 120 second stage, Orbus third stage, and OAM Orbital Adjustment Module. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...

Cape Canaveral LC46 Chronology


1987 January 15 - . 15:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC46. LV Family: Trident. Launch Vehicle: Trident D-5. LV Configuration: Trident D-5 D5X-1.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1987 March 17 - . 17:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC46. LV Family: Trident. Launch Vehicle: Trident D-5. LV Configuration: Trident D-5 D5X-2.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1987 April 30 - . 20:44 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC46. LV Family: Trident. Launch Vehicle: Trident D-5. LV Configuration: Trident D-5 D5X-3.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1987 June 12 - . 22:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC46. LV Family: Trident. Launch Vehicle: Trident D-5. LV Configuration: Trident D-5 D5X-5.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1987 July 20 - . 20:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC46. LV Family: Trident. Launch Vehicle: Trident D-5. LV Configuration: Trident D-5 D5X-6.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1987 September 8 - . 22:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC46. LV Family: Trident. Launch Vehicle: Trident D-5. LV Configuration: Trident D-5 D5X-4.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1987 October 6 - . 17:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC46. LV Family: Trident. Launch Vehicle: Trident D-5. LV Configuration: Trident D-5 D5X-8.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1987 December 11 - . 13:26 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC46. LV Family: Trident. Launch Vehicle: Trident D-5. LV Configuration: Trident D-5 D5X-10.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1988 January 21 - . 10:08 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC46. LV Family: Trident. Launch Vehicle: Trident D-5. LV Configuration: Trident D-5 D5X-9. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN.

1988 April 7 - . 04:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC46. LV Family: Trident. Launch Vehicle: Trident D-5. LV Configuration: Trident D-5 D5X-11.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1988 April 28 - . 04:52 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC46. LV Family: Trident. Launch Vehicle: Trident D-5. LV Configuration: Trident D-5 D5X-12.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1988 May 26 - . 02:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC46. LV Family: Trident. Launch Vehicle: Trident D-5. LV Configuration: Trident D-5 D5X-7.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1988 July 7 - . 22:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC46. LV Family: Trident. Launch Vehicle: Trident D-5. LV Configuration: Trident D-5 D5X-13. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1988 August 27 - . 20:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC46. LV Family: Trident. Launch Vehicle: Trident D-5. LV Configuration: Trident D-5 D5X-14.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1988 September 19 - . 17:44 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC46. LV Family: Trident. Launch Vehicle: Trident D-5. LV Configuration: Trident D-5 D5X-15. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1988 November 7 - . 16:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC46. LV Family: Trident. Launch Vehicle: Trident D-5. LV Configuration: Trident D-5 D5X-18.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1988 December 16 - . 12:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC46. LV Family: Trident. Launch Vehicle: Trident D-5. LV Configuration: Trident D-5 D5X-17.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1989 January 9 - . 10:52 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC46. LV Family: Trident. Launch Vehicle: Trident D-5. LV Configuration: Trident D-5 D5X-19.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1989 January 26 - . 09:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC46. LV Family: Trident. Launch Vehicle: Trident D-5. LV Configuration: Trident D-5 D5X-20.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1998 January 7 - . 02:28 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC46. Launch Pad: SLC46. LV Family: Athena. Launch Vehicle: Athena-2. LV Configuration: Athena-2 LM-004.
  • Lunar Prospector - . Payload: Discovery 3. Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Ames. Manufacturer: Lockheed. Program: Discovery. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Lunar Prospector. Decay Date: 1999-07-31 . USAF Sat Cat: 25131 . COSPAR: 1998-001A. The Lunar Prospector was designed for a low polar orbit investigation of the Moon, including mapping of surface composition and possible polar ice deposits, measurements of magnetic and gravity fields, and study of lunar outgassing events. Data from the 1 to 3 year mission will allow construction of a detailed map of the surface composition of the Moon, and will improve understanding of the origin, evolution, current state, and resources of the Moon. After launch, the Lunar Prospector had a 105 hour cruise to the Moon, followed by insertion into a near-circular 100 km altitude lunar polar orbit with a period of 118 minutes. The nominal mission duration was one year.

1999 January 27 - . 00:34 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC46. Launch Pad: SLC46. LV Family: Athena. Launch Vehicle: Athena-1. LV Configuration: Athena-1 LM-006.
  • ROCSAT-1 - . Mass: 400 kg (880 lb). Nation: Taiwan. Agency: NSPO. Manufacturer: TRW. Class: Earth. Type: Seismology satellite. Spacecraft: ROCSAT. USAF Sat Cat: 25616 . COSPAR: 1999-002A. Apogee: 653 km (405 mi). Perigee: 606 km (376 mi). Inclination: 35.0000 deg. Taiwan's first satellite, with experimental communications, ocean imagery, and ionospheric studies instruments. The Primex OAM placed itself and the payload into an elliptical transfer orbit. A second OAM burn circularized the orbit, and ROCSAT separated into a 588 x 601 km x 35.0 deg orbit.

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