Startup plans to launch small satellites from Virginia coast

A California-based startup said Wednesday that it will rocket small satellites into orbit from Virginia, an endeavor that reflects increasing demand from companies and governments alike to monitor ships, crops and the weather ...

Video: Aeolus timelapse

This timelapse video shows ESA's Aeolus satellite being prepared for liftoff. It includes shots from the cleanroom in France, its arrival by ship in French Guiana, preparations at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, roll out to ...

Video: Aeolus launch highlights

Lifted into orbit on a Vega rocket from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana on 22 August 2018, ESA's Aeolus satellite will measure winds around the globe and play a key role in our quest to better understand the workings ...

Image: Prepping to launch for the sun

NASA's Parker Solar Probe has cleared the final procedures in the clean room before its move to the launch pad, where it will be integrated onto its launch vehicle, a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy. This is an historic ...

Video: Galileo's road to space

Galileo satellites 23–26 were launched into orbit on Wednesday 25 July 2018 atop Ariane 5 Flight VA244 from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. This marked Europe's 99th Ariane 5 launch.

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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