Fuel, oxidizer, high pressure gas, electrical, and pneumatic lines connect the Shuttle vehicle with ground support equipment and are routed through the FSS, RSS and Mobile Launch Platform.
Space Shuttle access and servicing at the pad are provided by:
The FSS is topped by a 24.4 meter (80ft) tall fiberglass lightning mast grounded by 335 meter (1,100ft) cables that are anchored north and south of the pad. The Mast provides lightning protection for pad structures and the Space Shuttle.
The RSS accommodates the loading of payloads vertically at the pad. It is mounted on a semi-circular track which allows it to rotate through an arc of 120 degrees on a radius of 36.6 meters (120 ft). The RSS pivots from a hinge on the FSS until the RSS spacecraft changeout room fits flush with the Orbiters's cargo bay. This room allows payloads to be installed or serviced under contamination-free or "clean room" conditions. Click here for a better view of the RSS
Blast-protected hypergolic storage and supply systems are provided at each pad, and the Launch Processing System (LPS) is used to monitor all aspects of vehicle and payload operations. The LPS system interconnects to the MLP through Hardware Interface Modules (HIM's) located in Pad Terminal Connection Rooms beneath the pads.
Pads 39-A and 39-B are virtually identical and roughly octagonal in shape. The distance between pads is 2,657 meters (8,715 ft). The pad base contains 52,000 cubic meters (68,000 cubic yards) of concrete. The ramp leading up to the pad is inclined at a 5% grade. The flame trench is 13 meters (42 ft) deep, 137 meters (450ft) long and 18 meters (58 ft) wide. The orbiter flame deflector is 11.6 meters (38ft) high, 22 meters (72 ft) long and 17.5 meters (57.6 ft) wide. It weights 590,000 kg (1.3 million lbs). The SRB deflector is 12.95 meters (42.5 ft) high, 12.8 meters (42 ft) long and 17.4 meters (57 ft) wide. It weights 499,000 kg (1.1 million lbs). 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 (290ft) high and has a capacity of 1,135,000 liters (300,000 gallons).
There are 6 permanent and 4 extensible pedestals that are used to support the MLP at the pad. Dynamic loads at rebound are 3,175,200 kg (7,000,000 lbs) to 4,762,800 kg (10,500,000lb) at liftoff. The pad is lit with 5 clusters of Xenon high-intensity searchlights (total searchlights: 40) around the pad perimeter.
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 39A underwent a renovation between June and September 1993. Some 13,773 gallons of paint were used on two coats and 1,866 tons of sand were used in the sandblasting operation.
The LC-39 Launch complex also contains large liquid oxygen (LOX) and Liquid Hydrogen (LH2) storage tanks. These are large ball-shaped vacuum jacketed dewar bottles used to store supercold cryogenic propellants for the shuttle external tank. The LOX tank, located at the northwest corner of the pad stores 3,406,500 liters (900,000 gallons) of liquid oxygen at a temperature of minus 183 degress C (-298 F). The LH2 tank is located at the northeast corner of the pad and stores 3,218,250 liters (850,000 gallons) of liquid hydrogen at a temperature of minus 253 degrees C (-423 degrees F).
The Weather Protection System protects orbiter tiles from wind blown debris, rain and hail. Wheeled metal doors that ride on steel beams are attached to the Rotating Service Structure and the Fixed Service Structure. Doors slide together (to within 3 inches of each other) between the orbiter's belly and the external tank, providing protection for the lower portion of the orbiter.
The top of the orbiter is shielded by an inflatable seal extending from the Payload Changeout Room forming a semi-circle covering 90 degrees of arc between the orbiter and its external tank. The sides of the orbiter, between the vehicle and the external tank, are protected by a series of 20 metal bi-fold doors that fold out from the Payload Changeout Room. The doors measure 24.4 meters by 1.2 meters (80ft x 4ft).
There is approximately 1.25 million feet of tubing and piping at Launch Complex 39, varying in sizes from .25 inches to 114 inches in diameter. This is enough pipe to reach from Orlando to Miami.
Detailed map of Launch Complex 39-A or Launch Complex 39-B (internal only)