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Flame Trench Refractory Brick

Location: Launch Complex 39A
Kennedy Space Center
 
Comment: The outward facing surface of this brick (at top as
pictured) was eroded by the chemical composition
and force of the plumes from launching rockets by
more than three-quarters of an inch.

This 13.5" long by 6.5" high by 3" wide refractory brick was once a part of the 490' long by 40' high by 58' wide "flame trench" that transected Pad A at Launch Complex 39. Laid into the trench in 1965, this brick endured 82 launches: 12 by Saturn V rockets, including the first and last missions to the Moon, and 70 by space shuttles, including the first and last missions for the Columbia orbiter. On May 31, 2008 as STS-124 launched, a swatch of about 3,500 of the tongue and groove interlocking 19-pound bricks were torn from the east wall and ejected from the flame trench as far as 1,800' away. This brick was removed from the trench during repair efforts that stripped bricks from the east and west walls.

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