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Meet The Launch Pad Supervisors (LPS)

(Light Blue Vest)

Image Prerequisites: The LPS is a great job for our younger members. The LPS must have some experience setting up rockets on our launch pads and using our launch equipment.

The Launch Pad Supervisor (affectionately known as a "Pad Mother") is a good position for our experienced junior members. There are two LPSs, one for each of the two low power racks. One person can handle both racks, but there is a lot of walking involved as you must walk around the outside of the barrier string to get from one rack to the other. You must not climb over the barrier string and walk across the high power extension cords to get between the racks. Only the LCO may authorize anyone to walk inside the barrier strings.

The LPS basically hangs out around the pads looking cool in his light blue vest. He communicates with the LCO and other LPS using the club-supplied FRS radio (which is issued with the vest and is turned back at the end of shift). Whenever someone needs help or appears to be having problems, the LPS steps in and helps them out. The most common problems are not knowing how to change a launch rod and how to connect the igniter clips to an igniter.

When helping with an igniter, this is a good time to show new rocketeers how to bend the igniters into two rabbit-ears so the clip can grab across two pieces of wire instead of just one.

One thing to keep in mind as an LPS; show the new rocketeers how to do it but then let them do it. For example, clip one igniter clip on but let them do the other.

When all rockets are ready to go on a rack, the LPS should make a quick check of each rocket to insure that the igniter clips are connected correctly, that the rocket is not sitting flat on the blast deflector and that the rockets do not appear to be ready to hang up on anything. Check the rack control box to insure all the continuity lights are lit. He then lets the LCO know that the Rack is ready to be closed and launched.

During a night launch, the LPS job becomes more important as the LCO cannot see the pad area in the dark. It is the job of the LPS to make sure people stay out of the pad area when it is closed and to let the LCO know about any problems or special cases, such as a rocketeer needing to turn on his lights prior to a launch (this is where the FRS radio really comes in handy). The LPS gets one of the lanterns during the night launch and uses it to give the rocketeers more light while they are attaching their igniter clips. They are very appreciated when they do this as it is very difficult to hold a flashlight and connect an igniter clip at the same time. LPSs should not forget to turn off the lantern when the Rack is closed and the rockets are being launched.

The LPS job can be done by any rocketeer who has launched a few rockets at LUNAR. He needs to know how to change the launch rod and igniter clips on the LUNAR pads and how to put a rocket on a pad and attach the clips to the igniter. While not being a particularly difficult job, the LPS job saves us a lot of time by helping new rocketeers get their rockets on the pad more quickly and by decreasing the number of igniter failures. Also, while specifically intended as a helper to low power fliers, the LPS can also help out at the high power pads as well. While the HP fliers are not, by definition, beginners, they may be new to LUNAR, and unfamiliar with the equipment.