MadSci Network: Engineering

Re: are the launch pads for rockets ever destroyed?

Date: Mon Feb 12 11:40:03 2007
Posted By: David Ellis, Researcher, NASA Glenn Research Center
Area of science: Engineering
ID: 1170727883.Eg

Launch pads are designed to take the abuse of a rocket launch. Some minor damage is common, e.g., paint being burned away by the rocket exhaust. However, for a normal launch the launch pad will not be destroyed or even functionally damaged.

There are times when a launch does not go as planned. For example, a Sea Launch launch attempt recently resulted in the rocket blowing up on the pad. Some damage was done to the launch pad as a result though it did not affect many of the other systems such as the engines and hull integrity. Launch failures for other rockets over the years have resulted in a wide range of damage from minor to complete destruction of the launch pad.

The goal is to have the major systems of the launch pad such as the electronics in hardened sites as far away from the rocket as possible so that a catastrophic launch failure will not destroy them. In general these measures work well, and the amount of serious damage to a launch pad during a rocket explosion is normally quite limited now.

Current Queue | Current Queue for Engineering | Engineering archives

Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Engineering.

MadSci Home | Information | Search | Random Knowledge Generator | MadSci Archives | Mad Library | MAD Labs | MAD FAQs | Ask a ? | Join Us! | Help Support MadSci

MadSci Network,
© 1995-2006. All rights reserved.