Water flowed during a test at Launch Complex 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. About 450,000 gallons of water flowed at high speed from a holding tank through new and modified piping and valves, the flame trench, flame deflector nozzles and mobile launcher interface risers during a wet flow test at Launch Complex 39B. At peak flow, the water reached about 100 feet in the air above the pad surface. The test was a milestone to confirm and baseline the performance of the Ignition Overpressure/Sound Suppression system. During launch of NASA’s Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, the high-speed water flow will help protect the vehicle from the extreme acoustic and temperature environment during ignition and liftoff. Although not commonly known, rather than flame, it is actually the sound of a rocket launch that poses the greater risk to the rocket. The immense acoustic pressures, as well as heat, encountered when the SLS’ four RS-25 rocket engines and two five-segment solid rocket boosters are activated at liftoff will require huge quantities of water to suppress.
Emergency Fire Extinguisher and Sound Suppression at Kennedy Space Center