Testing The Ignition Overpressure Protection and Sound Suppression Water Deluge System

26 October, 2018, 20:40 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • The Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft is seen in this false-color infrared image as it launched with Expedition 57 Flight Engineer Nick Hague of NASA and Flight Engineer Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos on Thursday

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 water was pushed around 100 feet in the air before spilling back into a large trench where it travels back to holding ponds.

Who knew rocket launches might require so much water?

The SLS system is "a powerful, advanced launch vehicle for a new era of human exploration beyond Earth's orbit", a NASA Fact Sheet explains.

"During the launch of Exploration Mission-1 and subsequent missions, this water-deluge system will release approximately 450,000 gallons [1.7 million liters] of water across the mobile launcher and flame deflector to reduce the extreme heat and energy generated by the rocket during ignition and liftoff", NASA officials wrote in a description of the recent flow test at Pad 39B.


A little more than a minute, this system is able to spend about two million liters of water.

'When the mobile launcher is sitting on its pad surface mount mechanisms, the rest of the IOP/SS system is connected to the pad supply headers and the water will flow through supply piping and exit through the nozzles'.

Ahead of this latest IOP/SS test, the launch pad underwent a series of modifications created to increase the system's performance after a previous water flow verification.

NASA says that this latest test is yet another big step towards the eventual launch of the Space Launch System on its first major test, Exploration Mission-1, which is expected to take place sometime around mid-2020.

The deluge water system will be fired up again next summer, after the mobile launcher is once again rolled out on the pad for integrated testing.

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