Author Topic: Rebuilding SLC-40  (Read 176262 times)

Offline Beittil

Rebuilding SLC-40
« on: 09/01/2016 07:20 PM »
So, at first people thought the T/E got away relatively unscratched, but since the US Launch Report video came it the opposite became quite obvious. Not only is all the plumbing totally fried, the payload+fairing almost darn near ripped off the entire top section, seems fairly obvious that it may well be scrapped.

My thought since... could they take the T/E frame from 39A and fit that to the SLC-40 pad? It would save a good deal of time as opposed to building a completely new T/E for SLC-40 right away?

Offline Jim

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Re: Rebuilding SLC-40
« Reply #1 on: 09/01/2016 07:22 PM »

My thought since... could they take the T/E frame from 39A and fit that to the SLC-40 pad? It would save a good deal of time as opposed to building a completely new T/E for SLC-40 right away?

No, too big for SLC-40 hangar and pad
« Last Edit: 09/01/2016 07:22 PM by Jim »

Offline Beittil

Re: Rebuilding SLC-40
« Reply #2 on: 09/01/2016 07:47 PM »
Hypothetical: How soon could 39A be ready for launching in case the root cause turned out to be something on the T/E? If it turns out Falcon 9 isn't to blame then obviously operations at Vandy could resume as scheduled, but how soon could 39A take over east coast ops?

Offline whitelancer64

Re: Rebuilding SLC-40
« Reply #3 on: 09/01/2016 07:55 PM »
LC-39A was supposed to have been ready for launches within the next couple months (Jim probably knows more exactly). Depending on whether or not TEL or GSE equipment will have to be modified or redesigned, it could be ready fairly soon. If the problem was with the rocket, it may be a moot point.
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Online yokem55

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Re: Rebuilding SLC-40
« Reply #4 on: 09/01/2016 07:59 PM »
Hypothetical: How soon could 39A be ready for launching in case the root cause turned out to be something on the T/E? If it turns out Falcon 9 isn't to blame then obviously operations at Vandy could resume as scheduled, but how soon could 39A take over east coast ops?
A few months? But they are going to want to make darn sure that the issue is fixed first.

Offline WindnWar

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Re: Rebuilding SLC-40
« Reply #5 on: 09/01/2016 08:06 PM »
LC-39A was supposed to have been ready for launches within the next couple months (Jim probably knows more exactly). Depending on whether or not TEL or GSE equipment will have to be modified or redesigned, it could be ready fairly soon. If the problem was with the rocket, it may be a moot point.

39A was designed to be able to launch both the Falcon 9 and the Falcon Heavy from the beginning. Remember they initially planned on doing test firings of the returned stages on 39A at one point but decided to do that at McGregor instead.

Given that, other than need to complete wet dress rehearsals whenever the pad is ready, there is nothing to modify or change. The only mods needed might be if something that caused today to happen is part of the GSE or the vehicle umbilical design. If so that would need the change.

Offline whitelancer64

Re: Rebuilding SLC-40
« Reply #6 on: 09/01/2016 08:14 PM »
LC-39A was supposed to have been ready for launches within the next couple months (Jim probably knows more exactly). Depending on whether or not TEL or GSE equipment will have to be modified or redesigned, it could be ready fairly soon. If the problem was with the rocket, it may be a moot point.

39A was designed to be able to launch both the Falcon 9 and the Falcon Heavy from the beginning. Remember they initially planned on doing test firings of the returned stages on 39A at one point but decided to do that at McGregor instead.

Given that, other than need to complete wet dress rehearsals whenever the pad is ready, there is nothing to modify or change. The only mods needed might be if something that caused today to happen is part of the GSE or the vehicle umbilical design. If so that would need the change.
LC-39A was originally designed to launch Saturn rockets. Then modified for Shuttle operations, now SpaceX is modifying it for Falcon 9 and Heavy. Modifications for SpaceX use are still not complete.

Other than that probable misunderstanding, I think we're in agreement.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline WindnWar

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Re: Rebuilding SLC-40
« Reply #7 on: 09/01/2016 09:16 PM »
By designed for I didn't mean the original design of 39A, I meant the design of the modifications SpaceX is making.


Offline Chris Bergin

Re: Rebuilding SLC-40
« Reply #8 on: 09/01/2016 09:49 PM »
Good idea for a thread. I'm thinking some photos, such as overheads, would be helpful. Certainly won't be as bad as Pad OA after Antares fell back into it.

New or repaired TE. Lightning Towers look OK. Ground elements will be of most interest as there we some big secondaries on the floor.

Offline TomH

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Re: Rebuilding SLC-40
« Reply #9 on: 09/01/2016 09:51 PM »
By designed for I didn't mean the original design of 39A, I meant the design of the modifications SpaceX is making.

I completely understood it that way.

Offline intrepidpursuit

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Re: Rebuilding SLC-40
« Reply #10 on: 09/01/2016 10:05 PM »
Good idea for a thread. I'm thinking some photos, such as overheads, would be helpful. Certainly won't be as bad as Pad OA after Antares fell back into it.

New or repaired TE. Lightning Towers look OK. Ground elements will be of most interest as there we some big secondaries on the floor.

The 0A pad got away almost unscathed! The lightning rods melted because they were mush smaller for the smaller pad with much less lightning. The rocket impacted near but not on the launch platform and most of their fueling system was intact.

LC-40 appears to have the TEL destroyed, the pad based fuel cooling/storage seems likely destroyed based on the later explosion, any plumbing or electronics anywhere near the launch platform is destroyed. It seems to me like basically all the GSE will have to be rebuilt. They have the concrete structure, the lightning towers and their pre-owned O2 tank left.

I think this is going to be closer to $40 million rather than O-ATKs $15 million.

Offline rcoppola

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Re: Rebuilding SLC-40
« Reply #11 on: 09/01/2016 10:17 PM »
So my basic question will be: (There is no way to answer without understanding full damage report and what the root cause/fix will be)

Can they finish and fully activate LC39A before they could rebuild and re-actvate LC40?
« Last Edit: 09/01/2016 10:19 PM by rcoppola »
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Online Herb Schaltegger

Re: Rebuilding SLC-40
« Reply #12 on: 09/01/2016 10:26 PM »
New or repaired TE. Lightning Towers look OK. Ground elements will be of most interest as there we some big secondaries on the floor.

I wonder what the pad-end of the HIF looks like. Shrapnel or heat damage? I also believe any exposed GSE within a few hundred feet of the base of the pad is likely to have serious heat damage, if it wasn't consumed entirely in the subsequent extended fire.
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Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: Rebuilding SLC-40
« Reply #13 on: 09/02/2016 02:12 AM »
So my basic question will be: (There is no way to answer without understanding full damage report and what the root cause/fix will be)

Can they finish and fully activate LC39A before they could rebuild and re-actvate LC40?

That's what I've been wondering.  I'd have to think the answer is yes -- it may take the better part of a year to rebuild Pad 40.  Heck, it may make more sense, and be done faster, just to speed up building at Boca Chica, and use 39A for the ETR launches until then.
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Offline edkyle99

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Re: Rebuilding SLC-40
« Reply #14 on: 09/02/2016 03:35 AM »
A big question for me is how much damage the flame trench (exhaust duct) suffered.  Much of SLC 40 is (or was) underground.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline Beittil

Re: Rebuilding SLC-40
« Reply #15 on: 09/02/2016 07:19 AM »
Good idea for a thread. I'm thinking some photos, such as overheads, would be helpful. Certainly won't be as bad as Pad OA after Antares fell back into it.

New or repaired TE. Lightning Towers look OK. Ground elements will be of most interest as there we some big secondaries on the floor.

The 0A pad got away almost unscathed! The lightning rods melted because they were mush smaller for the smaller pad with much less lightning. The rocket impacted near but not on the launch platform and most of their fueling system was intact.

Lets also not forget that 0A's lightning masts were also pretty built onto the launch pad itself, MUCH closer to the rocket than the giant towers at SLC-40 are. In the video you can clearly see the SLC-40 masts getting baked a bit from the heat, but it seems as of none of them were actually impacted.

Offline woods170

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Re: Rebuilding SLC-40
« Reply #16 on: 09/02/2016 10:37 AM »
Good idea for a thread. I'm thinking some photos, such as overheads, would be helpful. Certainly won't be as bad as Pad OA after Antares fell back into it.

New or repaired TE. Lightning Towers look OK. Ground elements will be of most interest as there we some big secondaries on the floor.

Emphasis mine.
That's exactly why I think the damage at LC-40 is probably worse than what was seen at pad OA. Most of OA's ground elements were protected from the Antares blast behind a lot of concrete. No such thing on LC-40. Apart from the flame trench elements and a wall protecting the LOX storage, the pad is mostly flat and 'open'. Given the close proximity of the HIF, I can only imagine that it will be holed pretty good with substantial damage to indoors systems and hardware due to ballistics and heat. Same goes for other nearby 'soft' structures.
The only reason why the TEL is still standing is because it is 80 percent open structure and hardened for the launch environment.
« Last Edit: 09/02/2016 10:40 AM by woods170 »

Offline vanoord

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Re: Rebuilding SLC-40
« Reply #17 on: 09/02/2016 11:44 AM »
I'd imagine that commissioning a new TEL would be quicker (and simpler) than trying to recover some parts from the damaged one, testing them - and then having to replace most of it anyway.

Offline Hywel1995

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Re: Rebuilding SLC-40
« Reply #18 on: 09/02/2016 11:50 AM »
Weren't SpaceX holding the old NASA radars systems by LC-40 ready for Boca?

Any status on those?

Edit: I derped on my sentence.
« Last Edit: 09/02/2016 11:52 AM by Hywel1995 »

Online envy887

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Re: Rebuilding SLC-40
« Reply #19 on: 09/02/2016 01:06 PM »
Good idea for a thread. I'm thinking some photos, such as overheads, would be helpful. Certainly won't be as bad as Pad OA after Antares fell back into it.

New or repaired TE. Lightning Towers look OK. Ground elements will be of most interest as there we some big secondaries on the floor.

Emphasis mine.
That's exactly why I think the damage at LC-40 is probably worse than what was seen at pad OA. Most of OA's ground elements were protected from the Antares blast behind a lot of concrete. No such thing on LC-40. Apart from the flame trench elements and a wall protecting the LOX storage, the pad is mostly flat and 'open'. Given the close proximity of the HIF, I can only imagine that it will be holed pretty good with substantial damage to indoors systems and hardware due to ballistics and heat. Same goes for other nearby 'soft' structures.
The only reason why the TEL is still standing is because it is 80 percent open structure and hardened for the launch environment.

Here are some aerials looking at the complex. The USLaunchReport footage was shot from the west-south-west direction, and I don't see any large debris flying past the lightening towers. As you can see from the WNW view, that end of the HIF is composed almost entirely of a large folding door, and it's 550 feet away from the pad, compared to the lightening towers 250 feet away.

I wouldn't expect any HIF damage other than superficial scorching and maybe some dents from smaller flying debris.
« Last Edit: 09/02/2016 01:10 PM by envy887 »

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