Following the SpaceX disaster there is some obvious damage to the pad/tower. How long will it take to repair damage like that, and what kind of process/inspection is required before launches are allowed from that pad?

  • $\begingroup$ It might take upto several months maybe a year to get launch clearence but with government help it might be sooner he just lost $300m from his pocket. In September,1983 LC-1 launch-pad was damaged in similar Soyuz pre-launch prepartion it took almost a year to get it up launching. $\endgroup$
    – Isrorian
    Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 23:30

1 Answer 1


As always it takes time to discover what exactly was damaged, and then figure out how to repair it.

A report from a firefighter who was on scene, but not in any way a representative of anyone other than himself noted on Reddit:

Quite. Granted, I'm not in construction or an engineer but it seems like it will be months before the pad is usable. Dozens of pressurized vessels and tanks were destroyed including 5-6 pressurized rail cars. The gantry itself, while still standing appears to be a total loss, as may be a lightening arrest tower at the corner of the pad. Several buildings located on or near the pad are either destroyed or severely damaged. There's no power at the moment and I can tell you from first-hand experience that the water mains and hydrants are compromised. Debris made it as far as pad 39A, which is quite a distance. They'll be finding pieces of it in the surrounding woods and beach line for years, just as they've found pieces of 1997's Delta II mishap as recently as a year or two ago.

However, we can make some general comments. SpaceX is much more pad frugal than NASA.

Consider the RSS (Rotating Service Structure) still left at LC-39A that SpaceX plans on removing. Consider the MLP (Mobile Launch Platform) that Saturn V used. Consider the crawlers used by Saturn and Shuttle launches.

That is some impressive amounts of infrastructure.

SpaceX's TEL is a set of steel girders on rail bogies that they bought used, with hydraulic cylinders to push it upright.

The amount of stuff to be damaged is much more minimal at a SpaceX pad than at a typical NASA pad.

So maybe a better comparison would be the MARS (Mid-Atlantic Regional SpacePort) and how long it took to recover from an Antares explosion there.

That took from October 29 2014 (date of the crash) to September 30 2015, so about a year. Although repairs were slowed down because they weren't entirely funded from the beginning.

  • $\begingroup$ It is nice if you include the rebuilding time of the Antares platform in the answer too. The infrastructure comparison is a little confusing, though I get your point. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 12:18
  • $\begingroup$ This is really more like a comment (as you say in the "answer"). Doesn't attempt to address the process part. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 12:20

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