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Launch complex 14 is one of six launch sites in the Eastern Test Range used to launch Atlas rockets, and the only one used to launch humans. (The others were LC-11, LC-12, and LC-13, all used to test variants of the SM-65 Atlas nuclear missile; LC-36, used for space launch operations with the Atlas II and Atlas III; and LC-41, used to launch the Atlas V—there was never an Atlas IV.)
Not mentioned on this sign are the unmanned Mercury-Atlas 1 through 5, which were test flights. Mercury-Atlas 1 failed during launch; Mercury-Atlas 2, 3, and 4 were successful. Mercury-Atlas 5 flew for two orbits with the chimpanzee Enos, but problems with the spacecraft caused controllers to terminate the mission early. Enos was recovered safely but died a year later from an antibiotic-resistant infection. Shepard's Mercury-Redstone mission took place between MA-3 and MA-4; Grissom's flight took place between MA-4 and MA-5.
Copyright 2011, Garrett Wollman. All rights reserved. Photograph taken 2011-02-26.