I was looking at some pictures of launches (like this one) and started looking at the stairwells, doors, and other places people are intended to go. It got me wondering what kind of dangers exist on a launch pad after a successful launch. Obviously I would expect heat to be an issue, but I was wondering if there would be other dangers in the area and what kind of precautions are taken before people are allowed to enter the area.

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    $\begingroup$ This depends on the propellants used. If you use toxic propellants (e.g. hypergolics), you probably need to hose down the pad before people can enter without protective clothing. $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Sep 7, 2016 at 19:00
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    $\begingroup$ Any parts damaged by the launch or loosened by the shock waves might fall on your head. Hardhats are a must. $\endgroup$ Feb 23, 2020 at 16:59

1 Answer 1


One of the issues is grass fires. There were grass fires after the successful launch of EO-1 from Vandenberg. So no one, except the fire fighters, were allowed to go closer for quite some time. Not surprisingly, according to the link below, this is quite common. Also, even with a water sound abatement system, the launches are really, really loud--not good for nearby instrumentation or wildlife.

See: https://www.facebook.com/spaceheadnews/photos/pcb.493904570803006/493900457470084/?type=3


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