Mobile Launcher Platform 1

Mobile Launcher Platform 1
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 will be used for the Ares I-X launch, before it is retired.


Apollo/Saturn V

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

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. It will be used for the Ares I-X test flight before it is retired.

Launch history

Date/Time (GMT) Rocket Mission Remarks
18 May 1969, 16:49 Saturn V SA-505 Apollo 10 Manned flight to selenocentric 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 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 Spacelab mission
Space Shuttle Challenger STS-41C Deployed LDEF, repaired SolarMax
Space Shuttle Challenger STS-41G Deployed ERBS
Space Shuttle Discovery STS-51C Deploayed USA-8
Space Shuttle Discovery STS-51D Deployed Anik C1 and Syncom IV-1
Space Shuttle Discovery STS-51G Deployed Arabsat 1B, Morelos I and Telstar 3D
Space Shuttle Discovery STS-51I
Space Shuttle Challenger STS-61A
Space Shuttle Columbia STS-61C
Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-27
Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-30
Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-34
Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-36
Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-38
Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-37
Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-43
Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-44
Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-45
Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-46
Space Shuttle Discovery STS-53
Space Shuttle Discovery STS-56
Space Shuttle Columbia STS-58
Space Shuttle Columbia STS-62
Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-68
Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-67
Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-69
Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-72
Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-77
Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-79
Space Shuttle Discovery STS-82
Space Shuttle Columbia STS-94
Space Shuttle Columbia STS-87
Space Shuttle Discovery STS-91
Space Shuttle Columbia STS-93 Deployed Chandra
Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-101 ISS resupply
Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-97
Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-100 ISS assembly, delivered Canadarm2
Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-108 ISS resupply
Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-111 ISS resupply and crew exchange
Space Shuttle Columbia STS-107 Spacehab mission, disintegrated during reentry
Space Shuttle Discovery STS-121 ISS logistics with MPLM
Space Shuttle Discovery STS-116 ISS assembly, delivered truss segment
Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-118 ISS assembly, delivered truss segment
Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-122 ISS assembly, delivered Columbus
15 March 2009, 23:43 Space Shuttle Discovery STS-119 ISS assembly, delivered truss segment
28 October 2009 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. 

Further reading

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