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NASA Swamps Launch Pad With Water In Awesome 450,000-Gallon Deluge Test

That big, tipping bucket at the water park has nothing on NASA.
Last week, the space agency performed two tests of the water-deluge system at Launch Complex 39B at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, and they were a sight to behold.

Huge columns of water jetted 100 feet (30 meters) into the sky, then came crashing down on the pad with tremendous and reverberating roars. Recently released video of one of the tests, conducted on Oct. 15, shows the dramatic action.

Such tests of the “Ignition Overpressure Protection and Sound Suppression” system are part of the work NASA is doing to prep for liftoffs of the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket. That booster is scheduled to fly for the first time in mid-2020.

The maiden launch will send NASA’s Orion capsule on a three-week trek around the moon — an uncrewed test flight known as Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1).

“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.

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