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Questions tagged [launchpad]

Questions regarding vertical rocket launch platforms and facilities in their immediate vicinity supporting final preparations for a rocket launch.

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What are the four vertical structures surrounding Falcon launch? [duplicate]

This image is on the first page of the Falcon 9 Launch Vehicle PAYLOAD USER’S GUIDE which features Falcon blasting off and four masts with cables attached to their tops. What are they?
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Loading the LOX into Falcon 9 V1.1 and Falcon 9 Full Thrust

It is clear from the spaceflight101.com that there is difference in Launch sequences of Falcon 9 FT and Falcon 9 V1.1. Clearly, Spacex has found a way to load the tank in 30 minutes (falcon 9 FT) as ...
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How are the liquid propellant umbilical cord protected from the exhaust?

The launch pad umbilical cords supply propellant to the rocket, and will definitely have some remaining at the time of liftoff. I remember the Saturn V footage wherein a heavy protection door slams ...
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How soon will LC-39A be at significant risk to storm-surge damage?

Rising sea levels due to thermal expansion due to global warming due to farting cattle and unicorns and of course also due to CO2 emissions caused by people has certainly caught the eye of the US ...
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1answer
121 views

What's the geometry of Ignition Overpressure Protection system protecting rocket launches?

During a rocket launch, both the rocket as well as the launch pad have to be protected. This is usually done by shooting enormous amounts of water somewhere 'at' the rocket engines. The then ...
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2k views

What happens to the acoustic energy removed by a sound suppression system?

I was just watching this video of a launchpad sound suppression system, and realized if it removes acoustic energy from the air, the energy has to go somewhere. Does the water heat up? Will any of it ...
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Parker Solar Probe Launch - Burning Flame [duplicate]

When watching the live launch of the NASA Parker Solar Probe, I noticed that there was a burning flame near the launch site (bottom left in the image) My intuition tells me that it's hydrogen that's ...
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285 views

What holds the Space Shuttle orbiter itself stable on the launch pad?

From a structural point of view, what is holding up the orbiter on the launch pad prior to a launch? Are the tail service masts more than just a collection of conduits and plumbing? Or, are the solid ...
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1answer
3k views

How can a rocket go straight up after ignition? [duplicate]

We have seen during rocket launches that the rocket goes straight up after the launch clamps have disconnected. What ensures that it doesn't tilt because of the uneven mass distribution? How does a ...
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21 views

Spacex rocket supporting mechanism on the launch pad [duplicate]

From the video on youtube, it was not clear that how Spacex is supporting their rockets on launch pad. What is the supporting mechanism they are using?
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76 views

Launch pad design considerations

What are the things to be considered while designing a launch pad? What are the subsystems of launch pad design? (Please provide briefly what needs to be done in each of the subsystem to do the ...
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199 views

How were the propellant pipes on the Saturn V LUT routed to the service arms?

I'm trying to design a model of the Saturn V Launch Umbilical Tower. I can find pictures showing how the propellant piping runs along the service arms, and from pictures showing the pipes running up ...
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Launch corridors

I was wondering where I could find a list of the launch azimuth ranges - i.e. the corridors - for the main launchpads worldwide (Baikonur, Kourou, KSC, ... as many as possible). Thank you in advance!
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Why does the launchpad strongback outgas 60 secs before launch?

I was watching the live stream of the Iridium-5 / Space-X launch and they mentioned that the strongback would outgas a minute before launch. I assume it was to prevent the strongback from exploding ...
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3answers
5k views

Will the Falcon Heavy be far enough in 12 seconds to not cause damage?

Elon Musk has stated that he will consider it a success if the Falcon Heavy gets far enough away from the launch pad to not cause damage if it blows up. The Falcon Heavy underwent a 12 second static ...
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238 views

What are the components of a rocket launch complex?

What components are needed for a rocket launch pad besides the following? Tanks for Fuel and Water Lightning protection rods Hangar Launch Pad Duct Tracking Facility Is there a good resource to ...
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196 views

Launchpad platform structural design

I am a civil engineer and would like to do a study on the design and construction of launching platforms for large lift vehicles, one example of which is the ELA 3 (Ariane Launch Area 3) in French ...
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598 views

Was 39A built with a rocket much larger than the Saturn V in mind?

The interesting question What are the most difficult challenges SpaceX will face getting astronauts to Mars by about 2025? links to Elon Musk's position paper Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species ...
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238 views

Lunar launch pad cooling

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 ...
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1answer
131 views

What type of work goes into refurbishing a launch pad?

I read that launch pads need to be refurbished after every launch. What stuff on the pad takes damage? What is stopping them from covering the "stuff" in some sort of flame-retardant, explosion-proof ...
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1answer
2k views

Why does the CRS-8 Falcon 9 rocket appear to be swaying before launch?

I just saw the video from the YouTube channel SpaceX Edits titled SpaceX B1021: The First Rocket to Fly Twice (a supercut of highlights mentioned in the Pod Bay, and noticed the Falcon 9 for the CRS-8 ...
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1answer
243 views

How much water to the east is needed?

The ESA has its launchpad in French Guiana. It's not only close to the equator but also has a lot of water to the east, meaning that boosters can fall down without hurting people (probably). But in ...
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1k views

Does SpaceX plan to repair SLC-40?

SpaceX just used 39A for CRS-10. Do they have any plans to repair SLC-40 from the September anomaly? The Boca Chica launch center should be ready in 2018, so will they solely use 39A and Boca Chica?
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What is this tunnel with white vertical structures on LC-39A?

This picture was shown the CRS-10 launch webcast: (red frame added by me) What is the marked tunnel-like opening with the white vertical bars? And what is/was its purpose? The same structure can ...
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1answer
518 views

What is happening to the rocket in this ISRO photo - what are these huge platforms?

The News Nation (India) article ISRO PSLV-C37 launch: Why it is crucial for India? Everything you should know about the 104 satellites mission includes this photo, with the caption "ISRO's biggest ...
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1answer
198 views

Fire pit at Tanegashima space center

During the HTV-6 launch I saw a large, enclosed fire pit next to the launch pad. (On the left of the picture below). What is its purpose? Video of the fire pit (@ 24:54):
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What was the cause of the second explosion in SpaceX's pad “Fast Fire”?

This is well after the first and second stage were gone, so I suspect it was something about the pad itself that resulted in the second explosion event. Any ideas?
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1answer
443 views

What dangers are on a launch pad after a successful launch?

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 ...
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1answer
196 views

Do different generations of Soyuz use different launchpad infrastructure?

The Soyuz family has many variants. Do any of them require different launchpad infrastructure? If multiple active variants require different infrastructure, how are the logistics of that handled? Do ...
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1answer
594 views

How long to repair the pad/tower after the SpaceX disaster?

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 ...
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1answer
341 views

What are the advantages of water-based sound suppression vs. cliff-based launching?

In this Q and A, it is explained that at Baikanour rocket launches are suspended over a cliff and vented instead of using a water-based sound suppression system as is commonly used. It would seem ...
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2answers
344 views

Deluge system refresh rates

SpaceX has said they will take the recovered CRS-8 Falcon 9 first stage and test fire it 10 times at LC-39A. There is lots of discussion as to what that means. 10 full 2+ minute duration fires? 10 3 ...
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Were composite materials used on Soyuz and on Atlas launchers?

I would like to know if composite materials were used on Soyuz and Atlas launchers but I can't find a lot on the web. I also would like to know which components of other launchers are made of ...
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3answers
535 views

What's required to construct a space port on the Moon or Mars?

It is sometimes suggested that space ports, or at least launch pads, should be constructed on the Moon to support water exports and on Mars to support large scale exploration and settlement. I get the ...
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183 views

LV Telemetry links on the launch pad

Are electronic telemetry and control links (of TT&C - telemetry, tracking and control) to the launch vehicle incorporated into the launch pad umbilical lines and handed off at launch, or is it all ...
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1answer
1k views

Strongbacks vs Launch towers: Difference and definition?

What's the difference between a launch tower and a strongback?
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572 views

Do strongbacks/launch towers have to be repainted or refurbished after a launch?

Videos of rocket launches often show exhaust flames engulfing at least the upper parts of a launch tower or strongback. Do these towers need to be reconstructed or at least repainted after a launch? ...
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2answers
798 views

Are sirens (etc.) sounded before launches to warn wildlife?

This question is moderately inspired by this one, or at least the speculative answer "birds" that is ruled out on a second review of the video. Various animals have learned signals of severe ...
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2answers
357 views

What is all the stuff that goes flying during a launch?

In today's SpaceX launch, at 41:25-41:28 there are a lot of dark objects which appear to be flying debris, almost like they might be parts of the light poles etc. which are visible on/near the launch ...
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How does static test firing before launch affect design of rocket mass and structure?

Some launchers, like Falcon 9 recently as in a video clip linked to below, and I think some other launchers since long ago in the space race history, test their engines before launch by firing them ...
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143 views

Space elevator/tower trough magnetic repulsion? What are the technical problems?

As more material weight leads to higher stress for a space elevator I have been asking myself if a kind of tower thats based on magnetic repulsion would not be an alternative. While I know that ...
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4answers
2k views

Why are rocket mass on the launch pad and payload mass to LEO not strongly correlated?

What explains the relation between how much a launcher weights on the launch pad, and how much mass it can lift to orbit? I had expected that more payload requires more fuel to be launched and that a ...
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585 views

Why do KSC crawler-transporters use caterpillar treads instead of rail tracks?

The two Kennedy Space Center crawler-transporters, used to transport Saturn V, Shuttle and SLS rockets to the launchpad, move on caterpillar treads: Here's a SpaceFlight Insider video clip about ...
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2answers
481 views

Why does the New Shepard vehicle not have an exhaust trench?

Watching the video of the first Blue Origin New Shepard vehicle launch, it takes off from ground level, and does not seem to have an exhaust trench: Most launchers ...
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2answers
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What are the main steps in the lead-up to a rocket launch?

I know that rocket launches are extremely complex. From watching a few, I get the sense that there are some things that happen in a standard way in all rocket launches, maybe depending on propellants, ...
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4answers
14k views

How close can I get to a rocket launch and not get killed?

There was a question regarding the closest distance regular people are allowed to be near a rocket. At that distance (Baikonur I, 1.1 miles), even if a rocket explodes, there is a small chance someone ...
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1answer
3k views

How close can I get to a rocket launch?

At NASA Wallops the visitor center is 4 miles from the pad. Families of shuttle crews could watch from 3 miles away as their loved ones where hurled into orbit. At Biakonur I can apparently get to ...
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970 views

What are/were the rails leading into the flame trench of pad 39A used for?

In this Google Street View you can see what appear to be rails leading down into the flame trench under launch pad 39A. What was/is the purpose of those rails?
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Who has built the largest number of Transport/Erector/Launch (TEL)?

I was looking at some SpaceX pictures and realized that with the last ten years, and the coming two years, SpaceX will have built a TEL for: Falcon 1 - Kwajelin Atol Falcon 1 - SLC-4 (before they ...
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1answer
2k views

What is sprayed at a rocket launch? And why? [duplicate]

Looking at recent SpaceX launches there is some, probably water, sprayed to the flames. Why?