Mock crew straps into space capsule, exits before liftoff

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin company strapped two employees into a fueled rocketship for practice, but pulled them out shortly before sending the capsule to the edge of space Wednesday with only a test dummy.

Early combined tests mimic Ariane 6 liftoff

Ariane 6 early combined tests at Latesys in Fos-sur-Mer, in France, have simulated the moment of liftoff when the umbilicals separate from the launch vehicle.

Image: Engine of Atlantis

The second European Service Module that will power the Orion spacecraft on a crewed flyby of the moon is fitted with a special engine at Airbus facilities in Germany.

SEOSAT-Ingenio sealed from view

As preparations for the launch of SEOSAT-Ingenio continue on schedule, the team at Europe's spaceport in Kourou have bid farewell to the satellite as it was sealed inside the rocket fairing. The spacecraft is currently scheduled ...

Japan rocket carrying UAE Mars probe ready for Monday launch

A Japanese H-IIA rocket carrying a United Arab Emirates Mars spacecraft has been placed on the launch pad for Monday's scheduled liftoff for the Arab world's first interplanetary mission, officials said Sunday.

NASA's Perseverance rover attached to Atlas V rocket

NASA's Perseverance Mars rover has been attached to the top of the rocket that will send it toward the Red Planet this summer. Encased in the nose cone that will protect it during launch, the rover and the rest of the Mars ...

page 1 from 23

Launch pad

A launch pad is the area and facilities where rockets or spacecrafts liftoff. 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 propellent 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.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA