How to Build a Space Shuttle Model Launch Pad

Written by justine james
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How to Build a Space Shuttle Model Launch Pad
The launch pad (Space Shuttle on the Launch Pad image by William Wheatley from

The space program of the United States has been centred on the reusable space shuttles for over 30 years. While the shuttles themselves are significant pieces of technology, the launch pads used to get them into orbit are also complex, significant pieces of engineering technology.

Models of the launch pads used by the shuttles area available for sale or can be made from scratch

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Photos of shuttle launch pads
  • Space Shuttle model launch pad kit or set
  • Building materials such as paper, blocks, wood, or clay if building from scratch
  • Glue or tape
  • Paint

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  1. 1

    Research the site. The space shuttle is launched from one of two launch pads at Launch Complex 39 at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Locate and examine photographs of the two launch pads to get an idea of their size, complexity, the general shapes of the parts, and the colours of various components of the launch pads.

  2. 2

    Decide whether you will use a model kit to build your model launch pad or if you want to try building from scratch.

  3. 3

    Buy a model kit. Follow the directions included with the kit to assemble your model launch pad. Refer back to the photographs you studied to be sure your model is accurate.

  4. 4

    Build from scratch. Begin by deciding how detailed you want your model to be. Do you want it to show a general overview of the parts of the launch pad? Or do you want a highly detailed model?

  5. 5

    Build your model by starting with a foundation for the launch pad. Work on small sections at a time. Allow glue or paint to dry thoroughly before moving on to additional parts of your model. You may want to make large individual components, such as the gantry arm that holds the shuttle in place before launch, separately and assemble them near the end of the project.

Tips and warnings

  • Be sure to be familiar with the basic parts of the launch pad and complex before you begin your model. This will make it easier to assemble.

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