Flame Deflector, Launch Complex 39, Kennedy Space Center, October 2015
Rocket launches are hot - up to about 5,800 F hot.
A Flame Deflector System protects space vehicles and the launch pad structures from the extreme heat of a space launch. The flame deflectors (sometimes called blast shields) are located in the launch pad's flame trench. They are constructed from concrete and refractory brick. During a launch, flames travel down twin troughs that correspond with openings in the Mobile Launch Platform. Flames run horizontally down the flame trench, instead of bouncing back and surrounding the space vehicle. The flame trench about 150 yards long.