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Structure that launched first journey to the moon will no longer be used

POSTED: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 6:00pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 6:04pm

NASA has decided to abandon a historic structure -- the launch pad where the first journey to the moon began.

Launch Complex 39-A was also the starting point for many shuttle flights.

Back in the days when the echoes of Saturn V rockets boomed across the Space Coast, heroes were risking their lives to go to the moon.

In the back of every mind was always the possibility that the Saturn V could explode during fueling.

"There was about one kiloton of explosion power on that pad," said Steve Bulloch, from NASA.

That's why subterranean escape tunnels were built.

The tunnels, which are far beneath the tower of steel and mountain of concrete, feel claustrophobic, smell dusty and look abandoned.

In a worst-case scenario, astronauts would escape down a slide and shoot into a rubber room inside the tunnels.

From there, the Apollo crew would go into the blast chamber, with concrete walls 4-feet thick. 

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