NASA and the Space Program Change Florida

Documents and Media


Florida: Moonport USA

Early 1960s; 15:00; B&W; sound; V-9 CA077; S.828

(View full length version.)

This film starts with a wonderful Mercury launch sequence. It shows a thriving aerospace industry in its prime. Viewers see an unsuccessful launch, lots of technology of the day (including transistor pocket radios) and 12 gallons of gas for $3.60. The film shows recreation, educational centers, and corporations and their space-related products. It describes the economic, cultural and population booms. Viewers see tactical missile launches and astronaut medical test equipment. The film predicts and shows a model of the Vehicle Assembly Building. It shows Miss Baker, the astro-monkey, Pensacola's School of Naval Aviation Medicine and Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach. It is a tribute to the space program. Produced by Leroy Crooks; sponsored by the Florida Development Commission (FDC).

Part 1: Introduction

Cape Canaveral, Florida. Man in Space.

In the nose capsule atop the giant booster is a man on the threshold of a new challenge, waiting for the blast-off that will send him in an orbital flight through space.

[Radio broadcast.]

He is not alone. He is all of us in our relentless search for knowledge in the unknown of space. We wait, and we watch.

Part 2: Launch

[Radio broadcast: Mercury capsule. Go. …The ready light is on… Mercury control. All evacuate. 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-0. Blue Florida sky. A-OK at this time.]

Part 3: Credits

The towers of Canaveral give Florida a unique place in the history of man. Moonport USA. Moonport of the free world. From here, man of the western world will depart on his greatest adventure: a trip to the moon.

Part 4: Geography of Cape Canaveral

This cape, on Florida’s Atlantic coast, is so well suited for its role in the Space Age, it is almost as though it has been destined through the centuries just for this moment in history. It juts out into the ocean like a gigantic launching pad surrounded by water. It is isolated and secure, yet the spectacular firings can be watched from safe distances, free and open to Floridians, their millions of visitors, and the whole world.

Downrange it goes, passing over a string of islands 5,000 miles long, composing a geographic pattern ideal for tracking missiles.

Part 5: Technology

The Cape is a huge laboratory where boosters can be safely fired and their performances minutely followed for a long distance. This laboratory, officially the Air Force Missile Test Center, is run by the Air Force in support of the Army, the Navy, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The complicated birds are carefully checked and prepared for flight. Each of the intricate systems is checked out – all systems A-OK.

Now the performance of each system is carefully recorded. Extraordinary cameras catch the action on film. Radar watches with electronic eyes. Telemetry, a method by which small sensors in the space vehicle send back weak signals to electronic ears, passes detailed information to the recorders.

The data is processed for evaluation by scientists and technicians.