Launch Pad

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Launch Pad
KSC building
Launch Pad
Level 3
Level 1
Level 2
Level 1 Level 2
Location TinyKerbin.png Kerbin
TinyKSC.png Kerbal Space Center
0° 6′ 9″ S
74° 34′ 31″ W
Altitude 68 m
Since version 0.7.3

The Launch Pad is a structure at the Kerbal Space Center whose primary use is to launch vehicles created in the Vehicle Assembly Building.

The launch pad is placed a short distance from the VAB. On its western side is a short ramp which allows wheeled vehicles to be driven down to the ground after launch. Its other sides are surrounded by equipment and blast deflectors and make for a much steeper and more hazardous descent. Several miscellaneous facilities are found nearby, and a wide track connects the base of the ramp to the VAB's main door.

Prior to version 0.19, the pad featured a launch tower; this was removed as it served no function while forming an obstacle to very wide vehicles. The TT18-A Launch Stability Enhancer is available instead of stabilization and support.

Game interface

The launch pad can be accessed in two ways. From the Space Center view and from inside the VAB.

From the Space Center

If a vehicle remains on the pad blocking it, like an un-launched rocket from an earlier session, a warning pop-up window opens: LaunchPad not clear vehiclename is already on the launchpad, where vehiclename is whatever rocket was previously loaded but not launched. The menu has the following choices:

  • Go to vehiclename on pad - Goes to the Launch pad with the previously loaded vehicle standing by.
  • Clear the LaunchPad and proceed (recover vehiclename) - Clears the pad, and opens the Launch new mission menu.
  • Abort the launch - Closes the window and stays on the Space Center view.

When the pad is clear, the Launch New Mission menu opens. This menu is broken into four panes.

Launch new mission

This window lists the currently available ships.

Ship name and description

This window is actually dynamically titled the currently highlighted ship and displays any saved vehicle description. It also provides an option to change the current mission flag.

Parts with crew capacity

The Parts with crew capacity pane will display each part with crew seating individually, such as command modules and lander cans, automatically adding crew to fill the first compartment on the list. Additional seats are initially empty. The available menu options are:

  • Fill - Fills all remaining seats from the available crew pane. If there are more seats than the crew, those seats remain empty.
  • Clear - Removes all crew and places them in the Available crew pane.
  • Reset - undoes any changes, and repopulates the initial crew compartment.

Available crew

The Available Crew pane simply shows the list of possible crew members available for a mission, by name and showing their Courage and Stupidity stats. The only available menu option is:

  • Go to Astronaut Complex - takes the user to the Astronaut Complex interface. Exiting the Astronaut Complex returns to the Load new mission menu.

Users can add crew to the vehicle from the Available crew pane by hovering the mouse over the crew member and clicking the green check mark that appears. The crew member moves to the next available seat. To move the crew member to another seat, click and drag the crew member to any of the other empty seats. To remove a crew member from the vehicle, hover over the crew member and click the red X that appears, returning the crew member to the Available crew pane. Clicking an empty seat has no action.

From the VAB

When accessed from the Launch icon in the VAB, the pad is automatically cleared of any remaining debris from a previous launch. Then the vehicle currently in the VAB is moved to the launch pad, and after a short pause to establish the game physics, is ready to launch the vehicle.

If a vehicle remains on the pad because it wasn't launched from a previous session, then a popup warning window opens: LaunchPad not clear vehiclename is already on the LaunchPad where vehiclename is whatever rocket was previously loaded but not launched. The menu has the following choices:

  • Clear the LaunchPad and proceed (recover vehiclename) - Clears the pad, and moves the vehicle in the VAB to the Launch pad.
  • Abort the launch - Closes the window and stays in the VAB.

This differs from the menu displayed when accessing the occupied Launch pad from the Space center in that going to the already positioned rocket is not possible.

Refer to the tutorials for information on how to launch, and control the vehicle in flight.


Crashing into the launch pad with enough momentum can destroy it since 0.25. Sometimes, very heavy ships can spontaneously destroy the launch pad upon being loaded, which generally also results in unplanned disassembly of the ship. When the launch pad is destroyed, it is no longer possible to launch vehicles built in the VAB, either directly from the launch pad or via the VAB. Conversely, if the VAB is destroyed, it is no longer possible to launch from the launch pad, as the ship cannot be built. Around the launch pad itself, there is a set of fuel tanks, a cooling tower, a water tower, and a Flagpole. Interestingly, if all of these are destroyed but the launch pad itself is intact, it is still not possible to launch. Also, all of these structures with the exception of the Flagpole are highly explosive, and can be blown up even with the impact of a falling kerbal.


  • When taking a surface sample from the Launch Pad, it says that traces of a green substance were found. This may imply that Kerbals have died in catastrophic failures, as many real-world test rockets in the 1940s - 60s did explode on launch.
  • At level 1, the Launch Pad has a bunker which can be entered by a Kerbal.


  • Level 1: Free
    • Maximum vessel size: 20.0 m, 21.2 m
    • Maximum vessel mass: 18.0 t
  • Level 2: Funds75,000
    • Maximum vessel size: 36.0 m, 39.6 m
    • Maximum vessel mass: 140.0 t
  • Level 3: Funds280,000
    • Unlimited vessel size
    • Unlimited vessel mass



  • Launchpad is now upgradeable.
  • Launchpad is now destructible
  • Launchpad was given rails for crawlers to match new VAB rails from 0.21.0
  • Launchpad was redesigned. The launch tower was removed.
  • Initial Release