The Air Force Space and Missile History Center is also located just outside the south gate of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It contains historic displays and information on each of the Launch Complexes at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The History Center is free to the public and is currently open Tuesday through Sunday.
Launch Complex 26 contains a blockhouse, gantry and two launch pads. Construction on the facility started in 1956 in support of U.S. Army’s Redstone, Jupiter and Juno programs. The blockhouse’s construction included two-foot thick walls, dome-shaped roof with varying thickness from five to eight-feet thick, windows three segments of glass deep comprised of 15 layers of one-quarter inch glass. These measures were taken in order to protect those working inside against an explosion. There were two firing rooms in the blockhouse. One gantry, or launch tower, is shared between the two launch pads. Launch Complex 26 was deactivated in 1963 after 36 launches. It was designated for use as a space museum in 1964.
Launch Complex 5/6 or “complex five six”, was the launch site of many early Mercury flights. On 5 May 1961, Mercury-Redstone 3, was launched from this complex. Alan Shepard was on board, making this project the first manned launch by the United States. On 21 July 1961, Mercury-Redstone 4, with Gus Grissom on board launched from the complex. Currently the blockhouse stores original equipment that was used to launch the Mercury Redstone flights. Launch Pad Pads 5 and 6 were extensively modified to support the Mercury-Redstone manned missions that it was never used again after Gus Grissom’s Liberty Bell 7 flight. The Launch Complex 5/6 Launch Pad currently hosts a full-size replica of a Mercury-Redstone vehicle on Pad 5.