SpaceX’s New Pad
By now there have been two separate Booster 9 Static fires within the month of August as SpaceX prepares to launch Starship a second time. Both of which used the new water-cooled steel plate to dampen and deflect the heat, power, and sound waves that 33 Raptor engines produce. While only partial thrust and for a few seconds, they still give a great insight into how these pad upgrades have performed and what it will look like on launch day. Before Starship’s first launch back in April, the static fire certainly didn’t destroy the pad, but it didn’t necessarily provide a lot of confidence in its integrity. Even using partial thrust small pieces of debris could still be seen flying during and after the test. This eventually led to the launch day and complete destruction of the Fondag concrete. This time around SpaceX is paying a lot more attention to the pad and its surrounding structures. Even launch day timelines have changed which will no doubt have an effect on the pad and what forces it’s exposed to during the launch. Here I will go more in-depth into the state of Starship’s new pad protection, how it held up against two different static fires, the difference on launch day, and more.