Technology

The Space Age changed Florida forever, drawing thousands of new workers to the state and transforming Cape Canaveral into a hub of aeronautics, electronics design, and manufacturing.

Liquid hydrogen fueled RL10 engine (19--)

Liquid hydrogen fueled RL10 engine (19--)

Image number: RC20109

This 15,000 pound thrust liquid hydrogen fueled RL10 engine was designed and developed at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft's Florida Research and Development Center for NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center to power the Centaur and Saturn S-IV rockets.

Jet engine parts being welded at the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company plant: West Palm Beach, Florida (1959)

Jet engine parts being welded at the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company plant: West Palm Beach, Florida (1959)

Image number: C029614

Transition section of a jet engine being seam-welded.

Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company testing engine: Palm Beach County, Florida (19--)

Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company testing engine: Palm Beach County, Florida (19--)

Image number: RC17144

A J-57 engine, shown here during testing, is capable of developing more than 10,000 pounds of thrust. The axial-flow jet engines powered several of the nation's first line fighter planes including the Air Force's F-100, F-101, and F-102A, and the Navy's F-4D and F8U shipboard fighters.

Computers and employees at the Kennedy Space Center: Cape Canaveral, Florida (1972)

Computers and employees at the Kennedy Space Center: Cape Canaveral, Florida (1972)

Image number: C679499

The Space Shuttle

One of the greatest successes witnessed at the Kennedy Space Center was the successful development and repeated launching of reusable orbiting spacecraft, the space shuttles.

Launched atop conventional rockets, the space shuttle reenters the earth’s atmosphere at more than 18,000 miles an hour.

More than a hundred space shuttle flights have sent orbiters to study space and map the earth, construct and outfit the International Space Center, successfully deploy the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, and perform ongoing repairs of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Space shuttle on launch complex at the Kennedy Space Center: Merritt Island, Florida (between 1979 and 1981)

Space shuttle on launch complex at the Kennedy Space Center: Merritt Island, Florida (between 1979 and 1981)

Image number: RC24198

Astronaut John W. Young conducting a pre-flight check on the Space Shuttle Columbia (1980)

Astronaut John W. Young conducting a pre-flight check on the Space Shuttle Columbia (1980)

Image number: PR10263

Photographed on October 1, 1980.

Space Shuttle Columbia preparing for completed assembly (1980)

Space Shuttle Columbia preparing for completed assembly (1980)

Image number: PR10265

The Space Shuttle Columbia is slowly raised and prepared for mating with its external tank and solid rocket boosters which will complete assembly of the first Space Shuttle vehicle.

Photographed on November 24, 1980.

Space Shuttle Columbia liftoff (1981)

Space Shuttle Columbia liftoff (1981)

Image number: PR10171

Space Shuttle Columbia lifts off Pad 39A, with Astronauts John Young and Bob Crippen for the first space shuttle mission. After fifty-four and a half hours of testing the shuttle's systems, they landed at Edwards Airforce Base in California.

Space shuttle liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center: Merritt Island, Florida (not before 1982)

Space shuttle liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center: Merritt Island, Florida (not before 1982)

Image number: RC24196

View of space shuttle launch at the Kennedy Space Center (Not before 1982)

View of space shuttle launch at the Kennedy Space Center (not before 1982)

Image number: COM02309

Crew members of the 7th space Shuttle orbital flight (1983)

Crew members of the 7th Space Shuttle Challenger orbital flight (1983)

Image number: PR10262

Left to Right: Sally Ride, John Fabian, Robert Crippen, Norman Thagard, Rick Hauck.

Autographed by Sally K. Ride.