This answer to a question states that:

.... construction left a large pit, now filled with water, that will be used for the Ariane 6 flame trench.

What is a flame trench, and what is its purpose?


1 Answer 1


The Flame Trench is the big hole used to manage the flame from the rocket initially. Here's a shot of the Space Shuttle's Flame Trench:

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A closer look at the flame trench at LC-39A from the Space KSC blog:

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Note that essentially it deflects the flame so that it won't damage the rocket. All flame trenches have similar objectives. My favorite example comes actually from a missile (RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 or SM-3) test, in which the flame trench essentially works like an exhast pipe, which is easily seen below:

Launching SM3

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    $\begingroup$ It should be noted that if you head to Cape Canaveral in Florida, one of the tours that you can do lets you stand in the flame trench from the shuttle launch pad. It's a somewhat impressive experience. $\endgroup$
    – Simon Rose
    Dec 1, 2013 at 23:20
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    $\begingroup$ I seem to recall that, although the flame trench's main purpose is exactly as you say, the design principles were significantly changed during work with the Saturn V to make noise minimisation an important objective too. I seem to recall a good bit of building damage (shivvered windows and the like) before this, especially, water spray was introduced. I can't find a reference, otherwise I'd write it up. $\endgroup$ Feb 21, 2015 at 8:37

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