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As SpaceX is a company that is very focused on rapid reusability, low-cost operation and a philosophy of "the best part is no part", what repairs have to be done to the towers and general pad complex at their various pads every time they launch and do not have a rapid unscheduled disassembly within the proximity of the tower?

This question applies to both Falcon9 single stick and Falcon Heavy but not Starship as that is still very much so in development.

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    $\begingroup$ Great question! I've been wondering about this on a professional level, because this type of expense will significantly affect the limiting value of per-launch costs for the Starship, and that will affect the cost of concepts I'm studying. With the Starship/Super Heavy lifting off at nearly twice the thrust of a Saturn V, I'm skeptical of pad refurbishment costs that are significantly less than those of the Saturn V. It would be great if SpaceX has figured out something new, like exactly where and when to spray a lot of water on the pad and tower, but I haven't heard of such. $\endgroup$ – Tom Spilker Aug 15 '20 at 18:18
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SpaceX talks about having rebuilt two launch pads in an article on https://spacenews.com/new-and-improved-florida-pad-ready-to-resume-falcon-9-launches/. During the rebuild of the SLC-40 launch pad, after the 2017 explosion of a Falcon 9 rocket, they optimized the launch pad to make it more durable. Much of the launch equipment, which was previously exposed to the launch, is now underground. They also reported that they made serious augmentation to the water system which prevents damage to the pad, as well as upgrades to the flame trench which helps prevent erosion of the pad. He is not specific with exactly what the upgrades were, but they are confident that these launch pads will support rapid launch rates. SLC-40 is not upgraded to support the falcon heavy, but will launch rapid Falcon 9 missions. The Falcon Heavy will launch from SLC-39 which was also restored. What I understand of SpaceX from articles such as this one, https://www.airspacemag.com/space/is-spacex-changing-the-rocket-equation-132285884/#:~:text=All%20very%20impressive.,%242%2C500%20per%20pound%20to%20orbit., is that they focus on simplicity. For example, they run on only two types of fuel which requires only one kind of engine. His ability to make his plans work with the system they depend on is what allows him to maximize optimization. He is a genius when it comes to understanding the system. He doesn't calculate things the same way that the system does in terms of his company. Musk is very secretive with his methods and plans because people keep stealing them (China, in particular); however, he does give general insight into his method, and the general idea is optimization at its highest standard. That is not the standard of our global economy, and Musk has capitalized on this. He makes the system work for him.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to the SE! Unfortunately, your answer reads like an advertisement. While it does mention damage and repairs to the pad due to catastrophe, it does not discuss routine repairs to the pad. Please consider editing it :) $\endgroup$ – Anton Hengst Dec 21 '20 at 20:43
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According to NASA (potentially outdated) they have to do a postlaunch check on the launchpad for safety. The water stream ejected during launch will greatly reduce launchpad damage, but I am unsure how much damage is caused. In the case of Starship, it would probably melt the launchpad without additional modifications to the pad, which is one of the reasons Sea Dragon would have launched from the sea due to the ridiculous amount of heat produced by the engine. You could possibly have a launchpad made out of Inconel (superalloy) which can withstand temperatures of 1300 degrees celsius.

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  • $\begingroup$ The link is for Shuttle, there is no information here about SpaceX. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Dec 18 '20 at 15:08
  • $\begingroup$ Please post specific information for SpaceX launches and not for those of NASA Space Shuttles. $\endgroup$ – Ashvin Dec 18 '20 at 17:04

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