In a spectacular rush of light and sound, the space shuttle
Columbia began its journey from the Kennedy Space
Center (KSC). Learn more about the KSC Launch Site, where
its resources and facilities are devoted toward taking
care of the space shuttles and their launches.
Kennedy Space Center Press Site
The Press Site is the center for all news activities at
Kennedy Space Center (KSC). in 2002, it included a 350-seat, covered
grandstand with electrical and telephone service, a 90-seat
auditorium for press conferences and briefings, and an audiovisual
laboratory. The major television networks and other media
have permanent facilities at the Press Site on land leased
from NASA. Located just 3 miles (3.22 kilometers) from the
Shuttle pads, it is an excellent location for viewing a
The Shuttle Launch Pads
The twin space shuttle launch pads, formally known as Pad
39-A and Pad 39-B, are just three miles from the Press Site.
They were originally designed to support the Apollo program
and later modified for Space Shuttle launch operations.
Major changes included the erection of a new Fixed Service
Structure (FSS), the addition of a Rotating Service Structure
(RSS), and the replacement of the Saturn flame deflectors
with three new flame deflectors. The two pads are virtually
identical and roughly octagonal in shape.
For this mission, the Hubble payload was stowed into
the shuttle while in its upright position. This occurs through
the launch pad's payload changeout room.
More Pad Facts:
The distance between the pads is 2,657 meters
The Sound Suppression Water System is used to protect the
launch structure from the intense sound pressure of liftoff.
Its water tank is 88.9 meters (290 ft) high and has a capacity
of 1,135,000 liters (300,000 gallons).
The height of the Fixed Service Structure (FSS) is 105.7 meters
(347ft) to the top of the lightning mast (referenced to the
pad base) and the Rotating Service Structure (RSS) is 57.6
meters (189ft) high.
The Fixed Service Structure (FSS) and Rotating Service Structure
(RSS) on Pad 39-A underwent a renovation between June and
September 1993. Workers applied 13,773 gallons (52,130.805
liters) of paint in two coats, and the sandblasting operation
used 1866 tons of sand.
The Weather Protection System protects Shuttle tiles from
wind-blown debris, rain and hail. Between the Shuttle's belly
and the external tank, wheeled metal doors slide to within
3 inches (7.62 centimeters) of each other, providing protection
for the lower part of the Shuttle.
Approximately 1.25 million feet (381,000 meters) of tubing
and piping reside at Launch Complex 39. They vary in size
from .25 inches (.635 centimeters) to 114 inches (289.6 centimeters)
in diameter. This is enough pipe to reach from Orlando to
Launch Control Center (LCC)
The Launch Control Center is a four-story building that
is the electronic "brain" of Launch Complex 39.
Attached to the southeast corner of the Vehicle Assembly
Building (VAB), it is 5,535 meters (18,159 ft) from Pad
39A. At the time it was constructed, advances in electronics
had made it unnecessary to continue locating blockhouses
adjacent to launch pads. The LCC houses the four firing
rooms from which the launches are controlled. CONTINUE...
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