Author Topic: Pad SLC-40 - SpaceX Modifications and Operations  (Read 7905 times)

Offline su27k

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Pad SLC-40 - SpaceX Modifications and Operations
« on: 10/27/2021 03:08 am »
Thread for Pad SLC-40 in its SpaceX role.

Previous SLC-40 thread: Rebuilding SLC-40 (After Amos-6)

Starting this new thread because of this interesting article from spaceexplored: Scoop: Improvements coming to SpaceX launch pad hint at ‘big’ things coming to SLC-40

Quote from: spaceexplored.com
A recent permit filed for water drainage at SLC-40 supports rumors that SpaceX’s Starship rocket could be coming to SpaceX’s launch pad on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

<snip>

Until recently, when a rumor began to crop back up about work starting on a Starship launchpad, not at LC-39A, but rather at SLC-40, which sits on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station rather than Kennedy Space Center.

A source familiar with the matter previously recommended Space Explored keep an eye on SLC-40 permits related to Starship, for possible developments coming to the area. Space Explored’s Jared Locke located the permit today.
« Last Edit: 02/03/2022 03:42 pm by zubenelgenubi »

Offline Hamish.Student

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Re: Pad SLC-40 - SpaceX Modifications and Operations
« Reply #1 on: 10/27/2021 09:38 am »
Quote
To be clear, nothing in this permit directly mentioned Starship, only “proposed and future improvements” coming to the pad. It is possible that these upgrades could be linked to Falcon Heavy support, other general environmental concerns, or… well… maybe even crew support.
 
 
From the website linked in the OP.

Offline gongora

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Re: Pad SLC-40 - SpaceX Modifications and Operations
« Reply #2 on: 10/27/2021 02:27 pm »
That article is ridiculous

Offline edzieba

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Re: Pad SLC-40 - SpaceX Modifications and Operations
« Reply #3 on: 10/27/2021 04:19 pm »
I agree. Their major claim seems to be:
Quote
This permit request essentially would see all light areas around the ponds (the grassy areas) made impervious (concrete). This is a rather major change that will really change the look of the pad.
Despite the areas shown in the map already being covered in concrete. That concrete is just covered with accumulated dirt that vegetation has then grown on.
It's old concrete (60s), so making it impermeable may be no more than filling the cracks that have developed over the years rather than any sort of major site rework.

::EDIT:: Came up empty on finding Titan-era pad construciton photos, but here's a F9 V1.0 era photo showing the exposed concrete where foot and vehicle traffic have scraped the dirt off.
« Last Edit: 10/27/2021 04:24 pm by edzieba »

Offline gongora

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Offline su27k

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Re: Pad SLC-40 - SpaceX Modifications and Operations
« Reply #5 on: 03/29/2022 02:52 am »
https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/1508538009796456464

Quote
Fun fact I discovered while doing some research.

Amount NRO spent to build a new payload processing center at the Cape a decade ago: $2 billion

Amount SpaceX spent to refurbish SLC-40, build a hangar for rockets, and payload processing center about a decade ago: $20 million.

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: Pad SLC-40 - SpaceX Modifications and Operations
« Reply #6 on: 03/29/2022 04:44 am »
Quote
Fun fact...
Somewhat of an apples 🍎 and oranges 🍊 comparison.

How much of the $2 billion stemmed from the unique requirements of a facility handling unique classified and classification compartmentalized payloads?

Which Cape or Vandenberg facility is he referring to?

My member opinion:
I don't justify blank checks, even for national security, but Eric B should provide caveats, or perhaps keep it to himself until and unless he writes ✍️ an article.
« Last Edit: 03/29/2022 04:47 am by zubenelgenubi »
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Offline Jim

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Re: Pad SLC-40 - SpaceX Modifications and Operations
« Reply #7 on: 03/29/2022 01:56 pm »
Quote
Fun fact...
Somewhat of an apples 🍎 and oranges 🍊 comparison.

How much of the $2 billion stemmed from the unique requirements of a facility handling unique classified and classification compartmentalized payloads?

Which Cape or Vandenberg facility is he referring to?

My member opinion:
I don't justify blank checks, even for national security, but Eric B should provide caveats, or perhaps keep it to himself until and unless he writes ✍️ an article.

NRO EPF.   Which can support 4 simultaneous payloads.

Also, if the  "new payload processing center" is one that was part of the hangar (it is no longer used), it was barely ISO class 8 and could only support one payload serially.  And it would impact Falcon processing.

If the "new payload processing center" is what is currently call the SpaceX PPF.  That is the former Titan SMAB, which use to house IUS processing on the east side and NRO payloads on the west side.  It was already built and SpaceX just took it over.

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: Pad SLC-40 - SpaceX Modifications and Operations
« Reply #8 on: 03/29/2022 02:08 pm »
Quote
Fun fact...
Somewhat of an apples 🍎 and oranges 🍊 comparison.

How much of the $2 billion stemmed from the unique requirements of a facility handling unique classified and classification compartmentalized payloads?

Which Cape or Vandenberg facility is he referring to?

My member opinion:
I don't justify blank checks, even for national security, but Eric B should provide caveats, or perhaps keep it to himself until and unless he writes ✍️ an article.

I know several people from multiple sides of the EPF project.  It was a KBR style boondoggle.  Yes NRO and DOD have a lot of special requirements, and a level of complication much more complex than commercial or what most people would imagine.

But KBR and many of their contractors made the most of it.

When I was working at SLC41 I heard a definition for NRO that sticks with me, 'You can buy better, but you can't pay more.'

National security is critically important and the inefficiency, sometimes gross inefficiency seems to be acceptable if it projects the nation.
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Offline edzieba

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Re: Pad SLC-40 - SpaceX Modifications and Operations
« Reply #9 on: 03/30/2022 10:54 am »
It's the same 'critical importance' trap that human spaceflight falls into:
- It is critically important that X works, because the consequences of failure are unacceptable (e.g. preventable loss of human life)
- Therefore we put the utmost extreme effort and expense into ensuring X works the first time
- We need to keep doing X
- We know one way to do X that is known to work
- The known way to do X requires the utmost extreme effort and expense
- We could change how we do X to be faster/cheaper...
- But that would mean increased risk of failure vs. a known working solution
- So we keep doing X as we've always done because at least we know it works

It's what happens when what you're doing is barely affordable, but changing what you are doing is unaffordable.

Offline su27k

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Re: Pad SLC-40 - SpaceX Modifications and Operations
« Reply #10 on: 11/24/2022 03:46 am »
https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/1595258456319172608

Quote
SpaceX launched its 185th Falcon 9 from SLC-40 in Florida tonight. It's been 15 years since the company took control of the pad. The woman in the center of this photo, next to Elon, is Gen. Susan Helms. She signed the lease despite great pressure from the usual suspects not to.

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