How Will SpaceX Stop Starship From Destroying Its Launch Pad?

Published 2022-11-22
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In this flyover, we discuss the damage to Pad 39B from SLS's first launch, how SpaceX might prevent a similar situation at 39A, and all the recent developments at Blue Origin, Roberts Road and elsewhere around the Cape.

Video and Pictures from Stephen (@spacecoast_stve), Julia (@julia_bergeron), Thomas (@TGMetsFan98), Michael (@nextspaceflight), Jack (@theJackBeyer), and Nic (@NicAnsuini). Additional video from NASA and SpaceX.

Narrated by Sawyer (@thenasaman). Script by Alex (@Alexphysics13), Harry (@Harry__Stranger), Jack, and Sawyer. Edited by Sawyer.

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All Comments (21)
  • I like the Idea of a taller tower. Would make sense if they were gonna extend the fueling Starships.
  • Max Headroom
    The very first shot of this video is the best example of the propogating sound waves from SLS I've seen yet
  • Wesley Ashley
    It would have been good to launch once from Starbase before building the same launch pad and tower in Florida in case big changes needed to be made.
  • Mo Khera
    I think they should modify the base to channel the exhaust down through a short tunnel that guides the blast away from the tower into a single channel. The base of the tunnel should be pumped full of water at ignition. This makes perfect sense as the amount of debris kicked up at every static fire currently has a high possibility of causing so much damage to the tank farm and the OLM. There is so much room behind OLM and this is where the exhaust should be channeled.
  • Carlos Otero
    My guess is that they are pre-asembling the second tower immediately after the first because is cheaper making two in the same run instead of halting production and then resuming operations. They probably made the aditional fundations to pre-assemble the full tower on Roberts Road and then move it when they have the permitting and foundations necessary wherever it ends up being assembled.
  • Kurt Mailloux
    Maybe the new tower parts are for a tower to built at the start ship manufacturing site so they can do some stack testing etc without having to use a crane or move all the way to the launch site that is being used for launches.
  • Joshua Olsen
    I still like the idea of a test OLIT at Robert’s Road. They could iterate designs and push to limits without slowing the launch sites. Imagine it as an NPD tower.
  • Nandi Saand
    I actually thought the next tower would be shorter since they seemed to only be building 6 sections. I figured a landing-tower wouldn't need an OLM or even need to be tall enough for full stack. Guess I'm terribly wrong
  • Ron Heath
    This may sound dumb but I really liked that last shot showing those cruise ships my first thought was how did they move around that's a pretty tight space thanks guys for a great video
  • Chris S.
    An idea for the second tower: How about a backup tower in the even a test booster catch goes wrong?
  • Nicolas Theus
    Maybe SpaceX is building the third Starship tower for the cape for one of their rig platforms "Deimos" or" Phobos" 🤷‍♂
    BTW you forgot to mention the return of the Boeing X-37b
  • Jim Meeker
    Next tower will probably be in the landing zone. That way they can land boosters and ships without endangering the human rated Falcon 9 pad. It may be that the tower at 39A has shorter arms because they don't intend to catch with it and will use a different tower, away from 39A for that, at least initially.
  • PRODIGY5369
    I'm more concerned about the problem with the heat shield tiles shattering / falling off when the engines send a massive shockwave through the cylinder of the vehicle.
  • pebmets
    SLS had almost 1/2 million gallons of water on the pad. The damage was the elevator doors on the 0 level, some of the area around at the edge of the flame trench for the SRBs, and discoloration on part of the tower as the vehicle ascended. The MLP passed all post launch inspections. It appears the fan sites are translating what they see vs what NASA said at the Artemis update.
  • Ryan N
    These updates are amazing! Thank you!
  • The Devil Riser
    I think the new tower will be larger and being built and stored for future use when the tankers are running and the booster has been stretched
  • CyFr's Corner
    Thanks to SGI Starbase for letting us know that some of those ponds could be used for GOX (gas oxygen)
  • Corrie
    Just came back from kpc and have to say thanks again for what you all do.. makes it so much more accessible to understand what is going on
  • Owen Wilson
    Raising the launch mount by one or two tower segment heights would help protect the concrete below but so would use of a water cooled fire pit/pound.
  • Armastat
    One observation which no one has mentioned, but would change a lot of the conversation is that if u watch the takeoff and the movement of the exhaust gases, you will notice that the rocket caused acoustic waves were completely un-dampened. By that i mean the full force of the exhaust was allowed to wash across the North side of the pad completely unchecked by the water. in the video above you can see the multiple repeating supersonic shock-waves as they appear at @00.01 on the right of the pad. This is likely a source of heavy damage, why this happened i am unsure, but no one seems to commented on it that I have noticed. Nvm on the last part he commented it in passing.