Historic launch towers at Cape Canaveral demolished

LC-17 in its Delta II configuration – via NASA

Just after sunrise Thursday, the massive towers at Launch Complex 17 came tumbling down, marking the end of an era for at least a small part of United States spaceflight history.

The almost 60-metre-tall towers came tumbling down after explosives were activated, sending them falling in opposite directions at the US Air Force base in Florida.

Crews conducted safety checks on the towers at Launch Complex 17 as people gathered to watch the demolition.

As local newsgroup Florida Today reports, the demolition went smoothly, with a pair of huge launch towers and gantries falling lopsided under their own weight. It was planned for years while waiting for the funding. The newspaper reports it was postponed from a year ago. The last time there was a launch from either one of the towers was almost seven years ago.

A launch pad that dates back to the early days of the space program was demolished.

The towers were in service for 60 years.

Complex 17 will soon be home to a new tenant - Moon Express, a private company that plans to perform tests of a lunar lander.

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