I just wondering why this place precisely. Is it politics? And what happen to it now since the space shuttle program retired?

  • $\begingroup$ Would Space Exploration be a better home for this question? $\endgroup$ – Qmechanic Oct 22 '16 at 5:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Qmechanic I think that the boost provided by the rotation of the Earth is a good point of Physics? $\endgroup$ – Farcher Oct 22 '16 at 6:05
  • $\begingroup$ I originally thought so, but the answer of @TBBT seems to be in the area of physics. $\endgroup$ – user93680 Oct 22 '16 at 13:30

There are two main reasons behind why nasa chooses Cape Canaveral to be the terminal into space.

First reason is the speed boost the rockets would receive. The earth rotates eastward, and like a spinning disk, the point further away from its axis of rotation has a larger rotation speed. This means the speed of rotation around the equator is higher than at the poles. Launching rockets closers to the equator is taking advantage of this speed boost. According to NASA, the earth rotational speed at the equator is $1670km/h$. Since Cape Canaveral is at $28^{o}$, the rockets launch there would receive a speed boost of $1670\times\cos28^{o}=1475km/h$ when they fly eastward in the same direction of the earth spinning. That is a small saving in fuel resulting in slightly bigger payloads.

Second reason is location. East of Cape Canaveral is the Atlantic Ocean. Therefore, if the rockets malfunction, it would crash into the empty sea as oppose to communities full of people.

I hope this answers your question. There are other, but these are main two reasons behind Cape Canaveral space port. Despite what you think, it is still used by private companies like SpaceX to launch it Falcon 9 rockets.


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