Launch Equipment Test Facility (LETF)

Launch Equipment Test Facility (LETF)

Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is home to the Launch Equipment Test Facility (LETF), a versatile test and development area that supports the entire spectrum of operational programs.  The LETF was originally established in the 1970s to accommodate full-scale qualification of Space Shuttle umbilicals and T-0 release mechanisms.  It has been upgraded and refurbished to support NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) program, and is used to test a wide variety of large-scale hardware and ground support equipment components.  Equipment at the facility can recreate lift-off and operational conditions to test component performance, and can supply cryogenics, hydraulics, electrical, ECS and other commodities to enable “Test-as-you-fly”.


The LETF’s unique facilities/services include:

  • 600-ton test fixture for multipurpose proof loading of large testing articles in either the vertical or horizontal orientation, and in either tension or compression
  • Two independent Vehicle Motion Simulators recreate all of the motions that a launch vehicle (6 Degrees of Freedoms) will experience from rollout to the launch pad through the first second of launch
  • Qualification testing of umbilical systems in both pre-launch and launch environments and launch vehicle access arms in pre-launch environment
  • Verification of operational procedures, clearances, disconnect systems performance and margins, and vehicle loads throughout the vehicle processing flow
  • Ability to create LN2 and LH2 flows to subject test articles to cryogenic temperatures and pressure
  • Ability to perform component testing using LN2, LH2, GN2, GHE, water or hydraulic fluid
  • Vehicle Stabilizer Test Fixture — motion control system capable of simulating large biaxial load profiles
  • Data Monitoring and Acquisition – Data acquisition system/software and video system available in fully equipped control room with test team communication system
  • Mobile Instrumentation Support – mobile, self-contained control room with National Instruments PXI-based Data Acquisition System, operates off facility or generator power


  • Began qualification testing of newly designed and fabricated SLS mobile launcher umbilicals in March 2015 (Aft Skirt Electrical Umbilical program is complete)
  • Provided instrumentation support for the SLS Mobile Launcher during its move to Pad B
  • Provided support for Orion Launch Abort System Pyro Shock Testing.
  • Provided support to Lockheed Martin Targeting Missile Systems Division