Lightning protection for spaceport launch pads

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23.06.14                       , 

Lightning protection for launching areas at spaceports as illustrated by  NASA and Ares I launch vehicle. Lightning is a genuine risk in central Florida, that's why NASA and contractor team are already working to design and build a new lightning protection system, larger than at any other spaceport. New lightning protection system involves cables of a big cross-section placed between three 594m towers of steel and fiberglass. This system is called "the contact (catenary) wire system" and will be over the launch pad.

This sketch-concept depicts lightning system ready on Launch Pad No. 39 of Kennedy Space Center

This sketch-concept depicts lightning system ready on Launch Pad No. 39 of Kennedy Space Center.

This system is expected to provide better protection against lightning, and help avoid delays in the launch schedule, providing more information on lightning for the analysis carried by the launch control center. Launch Pads No. 40 and 41 are located to the south of Launch Pad No. 39 and have lightning protection systems, similar to the new version. A fiberglass mast with  a variety of down conductors is installed on top of each tower, this is designed to divert lightning away both from the rocket vehicle and launch facilities of the pad itself. This configuration helps to keep the launch vehicle isolated from hazardous currents.

Lightning protection system has been constantly evolving, while the space program has progressed well. Technology made significant progress in comparison with the first stage of space exploration. Now, lightning is detected easier and faster, while computer simulation has become more accurate. In Apollo time, the majority of lightning protection systems were designed and assembled manually. But with the advent of high-precision and powerful computers, our capabilities in lightning detection and protection against them increased considerably. There is also a variety of other systems to determine a launch vehicle state after close lightning strikes. All of these systems can reduce launch delay time.

GALMAR Lightning Protection are versatile and suitable for any task, whether it is a private home, a football stadium or an airport.

GALMAR Lightning Protection

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