Most every launch pad consists of three or four legs for stability on sometimes uneven ground, the launch rod to control the trajectory of the launch of the model rocket, and a blast deflector plate to protect the launch pad from being damaged by the model rocket engine. The angle of the launch pad is adjustable, which allows for control of the direction of liftoff. This adjustment is used to compensate for wind conditions during flight and model rocket recovery.
It is highly recommended to use the appropriate launch pad to launch a model rocket. Most every model rocket kit indicates which type of launch pad to use. This selection is based on the size of the launch lug for the rocket, the model rocket engine used, the weight of the rocket, and how long it takes for the rocket to reach a stable velocity.
The model rocket launch pads come in 4 basic variations:
- Mini - only used in mini model rocket launch set or starter set. Not intended to be used with anything but the tiniest of rockets.
- Standard - used for most model rockets. This is the default launch pad to use unless otherwise indicated. A model rocket starter set or launch set will include this style of launch pad.
- Strengthened - this is a Standard launch pad with an optional thicker launch rod attached. This is for larger size model rockets that require a sturdier launch rod.
- Mid-Size - this is used for E-class model rocket engine rockets. These come with a 1/4" launch rod which is longer than the standard launch rod.