Mechanical engineering students from Louisiana State University joined engineers and scientists at Launch Pad 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida as the students toured the facility to have a look at the flame trench. The students, taking pictures of the flame deflector that divides the trench, signed up to help designers looking for new, flame and vibration-resistant materials to line the trench. The students 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