Cape Canaveral Prepares for First Polar Launches in 60 Years  

Scientific American July 2020

Florida will soon reopen to launches for pole-orbiting spacecraft 

Sixty years ago the U.S. Air Force repurposed its Thor missile as a launch vehicle to put small scientific, weather and military satellites into orbit. Or at least that was the plan. Many of those early satellites ended up in the ocean, along with the remnants of wayward rockets that blew up before reaching space. These vehicles include a Thor Able Star booster that lifted off with a U.S. Navy navigation satellite from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on November 30, 1960, and then headed southeast along an unusual flight path.

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