Questions tagged [launchpad]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
2 votes
0 answers
146 views

Is the rocket exhaust plume at liftoff of a liquid fuled rocket cold? Can it condense? [duplicate]

I try to understand what the exhaust cloud on the ground from the start of Starship consists of. Of course it was unusually mineral-rich, but I try to understand whether we saw much else, apart from ...
Volker Siegel's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
118 views

ROFI Temperature

Since hydrogen-fueled rockets usually require Radial Outward Firing Igniters (ROFI), what is the temperature of the sparks from this system? When seen at RS-25/RS-68 ignition, they don't melt but ...
TRK's user avatar
  • 199
5 votes
1 answer
366 views

Was the exhaust cloud at the Starship launch mostly pulverized launchpad?

The launch of Spacex Starship on April 20 2023 looked pretty normal on first sight, apart from some engines not running, and some concrete flying around. The huge exhaust cloud looked normal, because ...
Volker Siegel's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
161 views

Space Shuttle Hammerhead Cranes Status

From the beginning of the the shuttle program up until the mid 1990's, both LC-39 launchpads had a hammerhead crane atop of the Fixed Service Structure which was leftover from the Apollo program. What ...
TRK's user avatar
  • 199
3 votes
1 answer
212 views

After the Challenger disaster, the Fixed Service Structures on pads 39A & B had a new structure on the FSS. What is it?

After the space shuttle Challenger disaster, the Fixed Service Structure was modified with a panel next to the Centaur porch, what was its purpose on the launch tower?
TRK's user avatar
  • 199
5 votes
1 answer
182 views

SLS SRB sound suppression system

The Shuttle, in addition to the water deluge system, used a series of red nylon bags filled with water at the base of each SRB for additional sound suppression. Does the SLS, whose boosters produce ~...
Andykins 's user avatar
6 votes
0 answers
146 views

Why doesn’t the SLS have a service structure?

Both the Saturn V and the Shuttle had the Mobile Service Structure and the Rotating Service Structure respectively for work on the pad. Why doesn’t the SLS have such a thing?
BDA's user avatar
  • 61
7 votes
1 answer
575 views

Does the SLS mobile launch platform share any hardware with STS or even Saturn I/V MLP?

Following up on this question, does the SLS mobile launch platform reuse any hardware from the STS (Space Shuttle) or even Saturn mobile launch platforms? The launch tower looks very similar to the ...
Ludo's user avatar
  • 14.2k
-1 votes
1 answer
156 views

Could we launch from the moon to another planetary body? [closed]

Would it be possible with currently rocket technology or technology towards the end of its development (ex. SLS, Starship, New Glenn, etc.) to launch from the moon. Of course, we would send down a ...
Starship - On Strike's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
243 views

Can we launch from the moon?

Would it be possible with currently rocket technology or technology towards the end of its development (ex. SLS, Starship, New Glenn, etc.) to launch from the moon. Of course, we would send down a ...
Starship - On Strike's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
125 views

What is the current turnaround time for Vandenberg SLC-4E?

Is there public knowledge for the turnaround time for this Falcon 9 B5 pad?
RonaldObserves's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
199 views

How long does it take for Ariane 5 to roll to the launch pad?

The launchpad is 2800 m away from the building where Ariane 5 is assembled. Based on the Ariane 5 user manual, Section 7.5.5, Figure 7.5.5.4.b, the Ariane 5 transfer to launchpad happens one day ...
usernumber's user avatar
  • 5,048
5 votes
1 answer
436 views

Is the Ariane 5 rolled out or is the hangar moved away?

Ariane 5 rockets (like the one carrying the JWST) are assembled upright in a hangar, but during the launch (obviously) the hangar is no longer around the rocket. Does the Ariane 5 roll out of the ...
usernumber's user avatar
  • 5,048
7 votes
1 answer
614 views

Location of crawler/transporter during launch

Is the crawler-transporter still in place underneath the mobile launch platform during the launch?
Lee Fairbanks's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
246 views

How is the Mechazilla 'claw' on the Starship Launch Tower different from earlier launch tower connections?

Launch towers have various umbilicals, arms, and stabilizers connected to a rocket prior to launch. How is the Mechazilla 'claw' on the Starship Launch Tower different from the earlier launch tower ...
Dan Sorensen's user avatar
  • 3,561
3 votes
0 answers
88 views

How is a launch vehicle aligned to the hold down post when assembled and rolled out horizontally?

Launch vehicles like Falcon are rolled out in horizontal position, joined to hold down post and raised by the strongback. How are the misalignments between launch vehicle and hold down pins overcome? ...
suzi Venus's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
695 views

Tilt of Strongback

Roughly by how many degrees does the strongback tilt back during liftoff? does the angle have any significance other than avoiding collision?
suzi Venus's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
289 views

Trussed strongback or hollow shell strongback?

I noticed that rocket Lab has a hollow rectangular section strongback made of steel, while few strongbacks like that of Astra [similar size] has a trussed structure for a strongback. is there any ...
suzi Venus's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
140 views

Have any fluids been vented directly from a rocket on a launchpad, instead of through an umbilical?

Rockets on the launchpad often need to release liquids or gases before launch. For example, cryogenic liquids boil off; the vapors need to be released to prevent tanks from bursting. It seems that ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 47.9k
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

What controls hold-down clamp release: rocket... or ground control?

Curious where the signal to detonate the pyro bolts and release the hold-down clamps comes from... The rocket about to lift off? Or ground control?
user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
843 views

What do hold-down clamps... clamp exactly?

Dummy question. A launch vehicle is restrained during ignition by hold-down clamps. But exactly what part of the rocket do the clamps grab onto? The engine nozzles seem too fragile... but maybe some ...
user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
79 views

What ground systems are needed to support a launch?

What types of ground support equipment (GSE) go into supporting a launch? The few I can think of: the launch tower, the crawler erector, a fueling system, maybe a cooling system. What else? I would be ...
user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
660 views

Were all three Mobile Launch Platforms ever in use simultaneously?

With an optimistic view on the future, NASA built a Vertical Assembly Building with four bays and three Mobile Launch Platforms. They were later repurposed for the Space Shuttle and other launch ...
Ludo's user avatar
  • 14.2k
2 votes
0 answers
71 views

Coordinate axes of Falcon 9 on launchpad 39A

Can someone please correct me on the orientation of the Falcon 9 rocket as it sits on launchpad 39A at Kennedy? Looking at the image below, which way should X (red), Y (green), and Z (blue) face? I ...
user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
157 views

Purpose of Initial yaw Maneuver?

I've read the Saturn V began launch with a short yaw maneuver which lasted from t+1 through t+8.25. The purpose mentioned for the maneuver is to avoid contact with the launch tower. But now that I ...
user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
108 views

Is there possible engine damage without launch platform on Mars return flight?

When a Starship has landed on Mars, there is not going to be any kind of prepared platform initially. (That may be a task for early crews to resolve). Is there the possibility that Starship, sitting ...
Paul Steele's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
351 views

Could a tank of water under the launch pad be used instead of a flame trench?

A flame trench is a massive expensive thing that needs constant repair. After each launch, concrete and steel suffer cracks, chips, melting etc., and require expensive, time consuming repair. Would it ...
Johnny Robinson's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
55 views

Water Deluge and Flame Trenches [duplicate]

After years of seeing a water tower so close to the launch pad, I’m now just starting to realize it has a purpose. I was a fool to think the water tower had been there for years and they just could ...
Paul Hagstrom's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
161 views

How many maritime launch platforms were ever built?

How many maritime launch platforms has ever been built and used for orbital space launches?
Joe Jobs's user avatar
  • 2,610
4 votes
2 answers
808 views

Do the Russians use a water deluge system when launching their current rockets?

After a video by What About it discussing water deluge systems I got to thinking about it. I remember hearing that the Russians don't use water deluge systems. Not sure if these would be considered a ...
D_Bester's user avatar
  • 653
5 votes
1 answer
3k views

How tall is SpaceX's launch mount in Boca Chica, TX

SpaceX has a render of Starship launching from a tall launch mount. How tall is the launch mount not including the tower or launch hardware?
D_Bester's user avatar
  • 653
23 votes
3 answers
6k views

Why isn't SpaceX constructing the Super Heavy launch mount on top of the water?

With SpaceX creating their launch facility in Boca Chica Texas, right next to the water, why would they bother building a huge launch pad to withstand the blast, as opposed to building it on top of ...
David's user avatar
  • 1,001
4 votes
1 answer
618 views

What's the new hexagonal structure for in Boca Chica TX, SpaceX

At Boca Chica Texas at the SpaceX launch facility there is a new structure being built. RGV Aerial Photography shows a concrete base with six pillars being built in a hexagonal shape. What is this ...
D_Bester's user avatar
  • 653
6 votes
1 answer
1k views

Size of the new Starship Launch tower at Boca Chica?

What is the size of the new Starship Launch tower at Boca Chica? RGV Aerial estimates the size of the new Starship Launch tower at 55-60 feet. I don't think that's accurate. Is there a better estimate ...
D_Bester's user avatar
  • 653
17 votes
2 answers
693 views

What damage/repairs have to be done to the launch pad every time SpaceX launches?

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 ...
YuccaWorks's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
257 views

What prevents SpaceX from increasing the cadence of launches?

Many companies can afford and buy expensive launches (Ariane etc) so they prefer SpaceX to save money. Many other companies can't afford Ariane launches but they would afford Falcon 9 launches. Lower ...
Joe Jobs's user avatar
  • 2,610
29 votes
2 answers
5k views

Why do Crew Dragon astronauts need to climb up one level using the stairs before ingress?

While watching the launch of SpaceX Crew Dragon, I noticed that, once the astronauts came out of the elevator in the fixed service structure, they had to 'climb up' one level using the stairs, before ...
Vishnu's user avatar
  • 3,256
19 votes
2 answers
2k views

What kept crosswinds from pushing Apollo rockets into their own gantry?

Watching this unnamed Saturn V launch (Apollo 13?), I see the gantries pull away, and the rocket takes 13 seconds to clear the tower. That seems like enough time ...
Harper - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
241 views

How is the water from a launchpad recovered? (If it is)

Knowing that the water on a launch is used for both noise suppression and surface cooling, do they recover the water that isn’t evaporated by the launch to use again? And if they do, how so?
v15's user avatar
  • 1,189
11 votes
4 answers
4k views

Why would someone need vertical loading for a SpaceX rocket?

Was reading about the new vertical pad loading system SpaceX wants to build. Of interest was this quote Known as a mobile service tower (MST), SpaceX has managed to avoid the need for the expensive, ...
Machavity's user avatar
  • 7,840
7 votes
0 answers
190 views

Does the low gravity on Moon eliminate the need for a launch pad/flame trench for a reusable rocket launch?

I'm new to rocket science and I learned how the rockets do not reach full thrust immediately and isn't really stable for the initial couple of seconds - hence the need for "launch clamps" and a ...
Atakan Okan's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
880 views

How did the Rotating Service Structure achieve environment control?

The main purpose of the Rotating Service Structure on the Space Shuttle launchpads is to have a clean environment to transfer payloads into the orbiter payload bay: The major feature of the ...
Ludo's user avatar
  • 14.2k
2 votes
1 answer
160 views

Security during a NASA launch rehearsal test

Am I correct in assuming that security during a launch rehearsal test is very high? That all the people working in the service structure have been well vetted and it is highly improbable that someone ...
Bob516's user avatar
  • 6,917
5 votes
1 answer
653 views

Seeing the ground from the shuttle before launch?

With the side windows in space shuttle cockpit, as seen in this photograph, could the commander and pilot see the ground at all before launch or during the first 10-15 seconds of a shuttle ascent? ...
Bob516's user avatar
  • 6,917
2 votes
1 answer
172 views

Why use an air conditioning blanket instead of supplying air into the fairing?

This answer explains that some Atlas payloads were covered in an air coditioning blanket before launch. I can imagine that the payload has some thermal requirements, but a blanket looks lust plain ...
filo's user avatar
  • 1,432
12 votes
1 answer
580 views

What is the utility of this peanut-shaped ground facility?

The following image is from GSLV-F11 GSAT-7A Mission: Location: Second Launch Pad (SLP), Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, India. Please click here in case you want to see the image in ISRO's ...
Vishnu's user avatar
  • 3,256
8 votes
1 answer
358 views

Have any launch systems other than Saturn V used a controlled release?

I was quite surprised to read in this question one very interesting detail about the system used for Saturn V launch release. Saturn V employed a system of pins and dies such that when the hold-down ...
Anthony X's user avatar
  • 17.4k
4 votes
1 answer
261 views

What is a propellant burner trailer?

CNN and NPR have pointed out that the US president recently tweeted a surveillance photo of an explosion of a rocket on a launch pad. One of the items identified in the photo is labeled as a ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
-13 votes
4 answers
1k views

What pushes back on rockets? [closed]

Discussion: I have removed the parts of the question regarding landing and the conic nozzle. Adding in those issues makes the question too broad. No, it makes the question meaningful. It's an ...
curiousguy's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
326 views

Were launchpads at KSC built with pilings or footings?

Considering the importance of keeping a launchpad level, were pads 39A or 39B at Kennedy Space Center built with pilings or footings down to the bedrock? As seen in the quotes below, I have found ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 47.9k