Sunsets on Florida’s Space Coast can be quite spectacular, especially over the Banana River. Catching a nice sunset out at the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse is quite a treat. Although there is not view of the river from the grounds of the Lighthouse – it’s still a nice view to see the sunset from this historic landmark.


Over the last 15 years while working at “The Cape” I’ve had the opportunity to photograph the Cape Canaveral lighthouse both on the way to work and on the way home. I’ve also researched looking for any history and old photographs of the lighthouse. Below are a couple photos of the lighthouse, from years ago to current day. The B&W photo is courtesy of NASA.

Overall view of the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse in 1905. View shows all the resident houses and outhouses. The storage shed is hidden behind a small tree. Off in the background is a man sitting on the roof of the outhouse. The area is surrounded by a white picket fence. Photo Courtesy of NASA.

Sunrise at the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse in 2016. The storage shed is visible and is one of the only remaining buildings today.

Mace launch!

Mace launch!

Nestled near the tip of Cape Canaveral lies a very unique launch complex constructed in 1957. At first sight you would not recognize it as a typical launching pad for rockets, instead of launching vertical, the rockets are launched horizontal  out of  the facility. The rockets, or in this case, cruise missiles were attached to launch rails and launched East towards the Atlantic Ocean.

This launch site is known as Complex 21 and 22.  The site was originally built to launch Goose and Bull Goose missiles and in 1959 a total of 20 Bull Goose Missiles were launch, 5 of them dummy launches and 15 live ones.

In 1959 and 1960 the launch complex was rebuilt and the facilities included 2 hardened launch pads and a launch control center. In 1960 the first Mace A was launched.

The site was vacated in 1964 but in 1970 the site was reassigned to U.S. Army for use as a Dragon missile range. Two launchers were proposed but the Army dropped the idea and returned the complex to Air Force on 23 July 1971. It was deactivated in the early 1970’s.

As you approach the launch site today, it’s in very good condition. I recently took a tour of the inside of the launching tubes, the rails are still intact and I can just imagine a Mace missile launching out of the tubes.

The Cape Canaveral Lighthouse is just a few hundred yards away and while standing up on the launching pedestals you have a great view of the surrounding Cape.  This is one of my favorite places to visit and I come out here quite frequently.

Pictures from this blog will focus on the exterior and I will follow-up with some interior pictures in the future.


Launch Complex 21 and 22


A fish-eye view of Launch Complex 21 and 22



A view of the launching ramps from up on the launch complex.


A side view of Launch Complex 21 and 22


A view of the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse from Launch Complex 21 and 22


The exhaust tubes of Launch Complex 21 and 22


Evening colors!

Evening colors light up the Banana River.

Evening colors light up the Banana River.


Banana River magic at sunset

Sunset over the Banana River

Amazing colors reflecting off the Banana River

One of the perks of working out at the Space Center is that it’s located on a wildlife refuge and there is very little development – especially at the beach and along the rivers. Over the past thirty years I’ve witnessed some of the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets on my wand from work. During the digital camera revolution I started carrying a digital camera in my car and started stopping and taking pictures at the beach and the river as much as possible. I’ve taken thousands of pictures over the years and this past week the skies presented some of the finest colors I have seen in quite a while. Sunrise pictures were taken at a couple of the beaches that are accessible to employees who work out here and at the historic Cape Canaveral Lighthouse and the sunsets were taken over the Banana River which is actually a lagoon. Enjoy!

Some beautiful colors reflect off the calm and glassy shallow waters of the Banana River.

Sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean

Sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean out at Cape Canaveral


Sunset color reflection

Sunset color reflection

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The sun rises over launch sites at Cape Canaveral. Launch sites 9 & 10 along with sites 31/32. The Cape Canaveral Lighthouse stands guard over all the unused and historic sites today.

Some pictures from atop Launch Complex 46 – soon to be the site of the Orion Assent-Abort 2 (AA-2) test flight.

Modifications to the launch complex are in work for the Pad Abort Test of the Launch Abort System (LAS) of Orion scheduled in 2018.

Launch Complex 46 was originally constructed by the U.S. Navy in 1985 to support land-based testing of the Trident submarine launched ballistic missile.

There will be more on LC-46 in a future post.

Launch Complex 17 in the background.

Launch Complex 17 in the background.

Complex 37

Launch Complex 37 (Delta) Pad) as seen from LC-46.


Rough seas at the tip of Cape Canaveral

Rough seas at the tip of Cape Canaveral

Cape Canaveral  Lighthouse

Cape Canaveral Lighthouse


What is it about seeing a Lighthouse’s that invokes a feeling that reaches deep inside of us and harkens back to a past long forgotten? The history and nostalgia of each lighthouse and the Keepers of the light and how they played a role guiding ships that sailed along our coast during so many different periods of time.  One such light sits out on the East Coast of Florida on a piece of land known more for rockets ships and moon landings. Standing tall mixed in among launch gantries that carried men to the moon the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse has stood guard and protector over The Cape for more than 140 years.

Lighthouse Sunrise

Image: As the sun rises over Cape Canaveral it emits a beautiful glow on the steel structure of the Lighthouse

Originally constructed in 1848 very close to the tip of Cape Canaveral it was only 60 feet in height and difficult to see by mariners so a new Lighthouse was completed in 1868. The new Lighthouse had a brick lining on it’s interior and an iron exterior.  The lighthouse was originally painted white and did receive the black and white “daymark” horizontal bands until 1873 to make it easier to see as a navigation point during the day.

The first three floors, which were laid out as living quarters, and were only accessible by an outside stairway that wound up to the third level.


Stairs lead up the the third floor living quarters.

If the sea got to close to the Lighthouse the first three floors could not flood since the stairs led up to the third floor. And that’s just what happened on several occasions thus prompting the Lighthouse to be moved in 1892.


Photo courtesy of Florida State Archievs.

The Lighthouse moves: Starting in 1892 through 1894 the Lighthouse was dismantled and moved to it’s new and current location about a mile and half further inland. A specially constructed track was laid between the old location to the new one and the Lighthouse was moved by mule power.  Surrounding the Lighthouse was the Keeper’s house and other structures including the oil house which still stands today.

Oil House

A recent photograph of the Oil House that still stands next to Lighthouse today.

I frequent the Lighthouse often, usually in the morning as the sun rises over the Atlantic Ocean. I will have several articles about the Lighthouse in the future including the restoration of the Lighthouse in the mid nineties and the time was I was fortunate enough to climb to the top of the Lighthouse.

I’ve taken thousands of pictures of the Lighthouse over the years and will be posting them quite often.

Shine on Cape Canaveral Light, you have a rare place in history guarding the Cape and keeping watch over such a historic piece of land.


With the Lighthouse in the foreground a rockets lifts off from a nearby launch pad. Photo credit: NASA





  • Cape Canaveral lighthouse - sunrise!