I read recently about the huge volumes of water that is sprayed on a launch pad during lift off. I remember it to be about four times as much water as fuel burned. This is done to reduce noise (energy that would have become acoustic, instead taken up in change-of-state i.e. water to steam) and to help the launch pad survive the heat, so it can be used again.

I occurred to me that in a vacuum, like on the moon, a landing and launch facility cannot spray water on the launch pad to protect it. Is anyone aware of studies of what a lunar launch pad would look like and how it would survive the heat of launch?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ There should not be much need for acoustic dampening on the Moon (no atmosphere). And the liftoff thrust is significantly smaller than on Earth so the energies and temperatures won't be as extreme either. $\endgroup$
    – jkavalik
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 4:47
  • $\begingroup$ The gravity of the Moon is much smaler than that of Earth, thus a rocket launching from Moon is smaller too. This limits the stress to the launch pad. There will be no acoustic problems in the vacuum of the moon. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 9:39
  • $\begingroup$ Dust mitigation might be an issue that spraying low energy whatever could potentially help with. science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2007/… $\endgroup$
    – user17699
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 19:22

1 Answer 1


I haven't seen studies, but there are ways to build a launch pad without water cooling. The Soyuz launch pads for instance are built over the edge of a large hole in the ground:

enter image description here

This would work on the Moon as well. The main issue would be loose rubble at the bottom of the pit being launched across the Moon or even into orbit.


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