Watch NASA Flood Their Kennedy Space Center Launch Pad In Florida With Half A Million Gallons Of Water (On Purpose)

Tuesday, 23 October 2018 - 10:28AM
Tuesday, 23 October 2018 - 10:28AM
Watch NASA Flood Their Kennedy Space Center Launch Pad In Florida With Half A Million Gallons Of Water (On Purpose)
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NASA
There was an explosion at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida last week - but it was only water, and it wasn't an accident. The space agency tested its Ignition Overpressure Protection and Sound Suppression water deluge system at Launch Pad 39B on October 15, sending thunderous geysers of water 100 feet in the air for a full minute. The system uses 450,000 gallons of water and is designed to reduce the heat and noise caused by a rocket launch but – even without the rocket – it is impressive to watch.

During a launch, the water that does not evaporate from the heat of the rocket will be directed through channels to holding ponds. In a statement to Digital Trends, NASA's pad deputy project manager Nick Moss explained that the massive fountains of water seen in the footage below won't happen when there is actually a rocket there to be launched.

"When the mobile launcher is sitting on its pad surface mount mechanisms, the rest of the Ignition Over-Pressure/Sound Suppression System is connected to the pad supply headers and the water will flow through supply piping and exit through the nozzles," Moss said. NASA plans to have the system fully tested and ready for the upcoming launch of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket in 2020 for the Orion Spacecraft's Exploration Mission-1 test flight to the moon.



Space Launch System is the most powerful rocket NASA has ever built. According to Popular Science, its engines and boosters will produce 8.4 million pounds of thrust. That's a lot, and if you've seen the footage from the booster tests then you know that's a lot of heat and a lot of noise – enough to potentially damage the rocket and everything around it. The Ignition Over-Pressure/Sound Suppression System obviously won't make the launch silent (it would be super weird if it did), but the idea is that it will help significantly.
Science
NASA