Louisiana State University mechanical engineering students Kevin Schenker, from left, and Jacob Koch join Luz Marina Calle, a scientist at NASA's Kennedy Space in Florida, as they examine a portion of the wall of the flame trench at Launch Pad 39B. Designers are looking for new, flame and vibration-resistant materials to line the trench. To help in the search, a team of mechanical engineering students at Louisiana State University are to build a scaled-down version of the flame trench that Kennedy's scientists can use to try out sample materials for the trench. If the samples work in the lab, they can be tried out in the real flame trenches at Launch Pad 39A and 39B.
The launch pad has been refurbished extensively and work is continuing to modify the pad to support a variety of launch vehicles in the future. Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann