Launch Pad

A launch pad is the area and facilities where rockets or spacecraft lift off. A spaceport (or rocket launch site) can contain one or many launch pads. A typical launch pad consists of the service and umbilical structures. The service structure provides an access platform to inspect the launch vehicle prior to launch. Most service structures can be moved or rotated to a safe distance. The umbilical structure has propellant loading, gas, power, and communication links to the launch vehicle. The launch vehicle sits atop of the launch platform, which has the flame deflection structure to withstand the intense heat and load generated by rocket engines during liftoff.

Most cryogenic launch vehicles need to be continuously topped off as scheduled liftoff approaches. This is particularly necessary as various holds are placed on the liftoff and then removed as support personnel correct problems or verify they are not serious. Without the ability to top off the launch vehicle, the launch would have to be scrubbed when problems slowed down the countdown. Gantries are commonly designed and constructed on launch pads to meet these types of servicing requirements both during launch and in the preparation period leading up to it.

Most rockets need stable support for a few seconds after ignition while the engines ramp up and stabilize at full thrust. This stability requirement is commonly met by the use of explosive bolts to connect the launch vehicle to the pad. When the vehicle is stable and ready to fly the bolts explode, severing the vehicle's ties to the launch pad and structures on the ground.

Read more about Launch PadTransport of Rockets To The Pad

Other articles related to "launch pad, launch, pad, pads":

STS-131 - Shuttle Processing
... Space shuttle Discovery began its trip, known as the rollout, to launch pad 39A at 2358 EST on 2 March 2010 ... The complete shuttle stack and mobile launch platform were secured to the launch pad 39A structure at 649 EST on 3 March 2010 ... rolls toward the Vehicle Assembly Building Space Shuttle Discovery at Launch Pad 39A International Space Station (bottom right) passes over the Cape 15 minutes prior to launch ...
Launch Pad - Transport of Rockets To The Pad
... There are several different types of launch site, determined by the means by which the rocket gets to the pad ... horizontally with its tail forward to the launch site at Peenemünde ... This is the most common method of transport to the pad and was used for all large Soviet rockets, even Buran ...
Space Shuttle Launch Commit Criteria - Falcon 9
... wind at the 162 feet (49 m) foot level of the launch pad in excess of 30 knots (56 km/h 35 mph) upper-level conditions containing wind shear that could lead to ... launch through a cloud layer greater than 4,500 feet (1,400 m) thick that extends into freezing temperatures launch within 10 nautical miles (19 km 12 mi) of cumulus clouds ... a smoke plume, The following should delay launch delay launch for 15 minutes if field mill instrument readings within 5 nautical miles (9.3 km 5.8 mi) of the launch pad exceed +/- 1,500 volts per meter, or +/- 1,000 ...
STS-135 - Shuttle Processing - Rollout
... Atlantis was rolled out to Launch Pad 39A on 1 June ... (5.5 km) journey, the shuttle was secured on the launch pad at 0329 EDT on 1 June 2011 ... While Atlantis was rolled out to the launch pad, Endeavour was landing a few miles away at the Shuttle Landing Facility, touching down on Kennedy Space Center's Runway 15 at 0234 EDT after completing its final mission ...
Baikonur Cosmodrome Site 45
... Site 45 A Zenit-2 rocket at Site 45/1 Launch site Baikonur Cosmodrome Location 45°56′35″N 63°39′11″E / 45.943°N 63.653°E / 45.943 63.653 ... It consists of two pads, one of which is still in use ... It has been the launch site for all Soviet and Russian government Zenit launches, along with a commercial launch conducted for Globalstar in 1998, and continuing commercial launches under the Land Launch programme ...

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