A factor in the rapid repair of the old IRBM and ICBM pads in the 60s was that these were top-priority national programs with unlimited funding, so spare pad hardware was stockpiled. Pad explosions were expected and planned for. Note how launch support equipment was well separated from the pads and protected by concrete blast walls (or the long-vanished 'Blockhouses"). Also, the RP-1 usually burned off quickly, so there usually was not thermal damage to the underlying concrete structure.
Will Space X have to pay the bill for the repairs or is that the responsibility of the CCAFB?
SpaceX clearly thought pad explosions were a thing of the past, since the fueling and other support equipment was located close to the pad
video of pad explosion of Atlas-Centuar AC-5 (video of explosion starts at 2:13)
The final Titan I R&D launch was that of Missile V-4 from VABF's 395-A1 on the evening of May 1, 1963. In an ominous prediction of Atlas 45F five months later, the missile experienced a stuck engine valve that prevented the LR-87 engines from achieving sufficient thrust to lift the 110 ton missile, which then tipped over and exploded on impact with the ground. 395-A1 was repaired in two months and hosted Titan SM-7 on August 15.
Quote from: Chrup4 on 09/03/2016 07:07 AMSamos 3 exploded on LC 1-1 at PALC on September 9, 1961. A pad umbilical did not detach at liftoff, which caused the Atlas-Agena B to switch from internal to external power. The engines shut down and the Atlas dropped back onto the pad and exploded in a huge fireball, resulting in the total loss of the photoreconnaissance satellite.Pad damage was evidently not that bad as Samos 4 flew from LC 1-1 only nine weeks later.Thanks for adding this one! This was Atlas 106 D and Agena B A2201. I have to date found no photos of the failure or its aftermath. This could have been a more powerful explosion than Atlas-Able, the previous U.S. largest. At the time, Atlas Agena B was the largest, most-powerful U.S. launch vehicle. The next launch from Point Arguello LC 1-1 (later renamed VAFB SLC 3 West) took place on November 22, 1961. It also failed, but not on the pad. - Ed Kyle
Samos 3 exploded on LC 1-1 at PALC on September 9, 1961. A pad umbilical did not detach at liftoff, which caused the Atlas-Agena B to switch from internal to external power. The engines shut down and the Atlas dropped back onto the pad and exploded in a huge fireball, resulting in the total loss of the photoreconnaissance satellite.Pad damage was evidently not that bad as Samos 4 flew from LC 1-1 only nine weeks later.
Atlas 48D suffered a failure very similar to Atlas 51D. It flew just a few feet from LC 11 on April 8, 1960 before falling back on its pad after a booster engine suffered combustion instability. This failure did less damage to the launch pad this time. LC 11 hosted its next launch only three months later.
Thanks much, WallE -- that's a very interesting account. Was there any particular reason for removing the turbine duct in the first place?
I think that a few years ago Joel Powell did an article on Atlas pad crumples. Not all of them went boom. In fact, I think he was more interested in the ones that crumpled but did not explode, because they were not recorded regularly.
An ISDS malfunction caused the loss of the very first Atlas-Agena flown, and you may recall that they had to destroy Mariner 1's booster just before staging occurred since the Range Safety charges on the Agena would then be disabled.
Staging does not disable the upper stage FTS
1. The details on Centaur are less clear. The mission reports for AC-6 indicate that it had an ISDS, but it doesn't seem that it was carried on all launches (certainly not on AC-43 anyway). All Centaurs did have a separate FTS, which was used several times over the years.2. I probably should have phrased that earlier post better since it makes it sound as if the Agena had a separate FTS, which it didn't.