Wing, NOTU provide rare opportunity for families to tour CCAFS


The 45th Space Wing and the Naval Ordnance Test United hosted Cape Family Day to showcase operations for Airmen and their families. More than 2,300 visitors received a rare opportunity and an insider's look at the World’s Premier Gateway to Space at the Cape.


Advertised as #CapeFamilyDay, the goal of the event was to show the military side of the most active spaceport in the world and for Air Force members to tell their story of how they contribute to space launch.


The tour route began at the Sands Space History Center, a publically accessible extension of the museum, which showcases various space launch complexes at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Visitors were allowed escorted-access onto the Air Force Station and made their way into the Morrell Operations Center, home of the 1st Range Operations Squadron and the 45th Weather Squadron.


Visitors also received an up-close look at the Naval Ordnance Test Unit’s facilities, where sailors showcased their support of ballistic missile testing. Visitors also toured the Air Force Space and Missile Museum, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s very own museum where historical operations once occurred. The museum grounds encompass two adjoining launch complexes, Launch Complex 26 and Launch Complex 5/6 and introduced visitors to the history of rocketry and space flight.


The tour continued to three main viewing locations: the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse, the Air Force’s only lighthouse; Hangar C, a collection of displays and space launch hardware; and Launch Complexes 1, 2, 3 and 4, the sites of the first launches from the ‘Cape.’


The historical stops were followed by the Blockhouse at Launch Complex 14, the facility from which Col. John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth. The tour route concluded at the Apollo 1 pad at Launch Complex 34 where visitors were able to tour the site of the tragedy, which claimed the lives of three American astronauts. From LC-34, visitors also received an up-close view of the Delta IV launch pad.


“Everyone from Team Patrick-Cape is essential to our mission success and this was a great opportunity to open our doors to the entire team and their families so they can see firsthand the heritage and mission they support,” said Col. Steven Lang, 45th Launch Group commander. “It was a great way to continue telling the Air Force story.”


Cape Family Day concluded at Hangar F with static displays, food trucks and bounce castle. Among the participants was a STEM team from the Air Force Technical Applications Center, United Launch Alliance, the 45th Space Wing’s Spectrum Monitoring team, the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Fire Department and the 5th Space Launch Squadron.


“The members of Team Patrick-Cape were excited, honored and proud to showcase some of our Nation’s most treasured space lift sites while sharing the heritage of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with their families," said Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, 45th Space Wing commander. "During the course of the event, Gina and I were able to talk to hundreds of families, and to many individuals, all of which were excited to see how we guarantee our Nation's Assured Access to Space!”


Bright sunshine and clear skies made for a perfect day and a prelude to a flawless SpaceX Falcon 9 mission only two days later, according to 1st Lt. Ajay Reddy from the 5th SLS.


"The Falcon 9 launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and landed on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Landing Zone 1, demonstrating the close level of teamwork that exists between both sides of the spaceport.”