One of the three large steel platforms that supported the launch of NASA’s Apollo and space shuttle missions is now being demolished — due to a lack of space.
Fifty years ago this month, Mobile Launch Platform-2 (MLP-2, or as it was then referred to, Mobile Launcher-2 or ML-2) provided the surface from where the Apollo 14 crew left Earth to land on the moon. Fifteen years later, MLP-2 was the literal “surly bonds of Earth” from where the space shuttle Challenger’s STS-51L crew tragically lifted off for the last time.
Given its role in those two missions, and the 49 other Apollo, Skylab and space shuttle launches that it supported between 1968 and 2011, it might be expected that MLP-2 would be retired as a museum artifact. Or if not that, it might continue to serve some purpose, as the two other Apollo and shuttle legacy mobile launch platforms have and are doing.