OCT 22, 2018 4:24 PM PDT

Watch NASA's IOP/SS Deluge System Spew 450,000 Gallons of Water in Just 60 Seconds

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

NASA’s upcoming Space Launch System (SLS) rocket received a ton of hype in recent memory, and for a good reason; it’s set to surpass the legendary Saturn V rocket in sheer thrust, making it the most powerful rocket ever built for space travel.

An artist's rendition of NASA's SLS rocket.

Image Credit: NASA

The SLS rocket’s powerful engine array will be capable of generating up to 8.4 million pounds of pure thrust, which should help in our quest to send humankind and other life-supporting necessities to other worlds in our solar system, such as Mars and Earth’s very own Moon.

As you can probably imagine, a rocket that manufactures this kind of raw horsepower will generate ungodly amounts of heat and noise. To combat these unwanted byproducts, NASA cleverly devised the Ignition Overpressure Protection and Sound Suppression (IOP/SS) deluge system, which spews vast amounts of water into the air in a short period.

A still frame of NASA's IOP/SS water deluge system during testing.

Image Credit: NASA/YouTube

NASA’s IOP/SS system resides at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39B, and like all new contraptions, it needed to be tested for validation purposes. Just last week, NASA pressed the big red button, sending more than 450,000 gallons of water into the air. The water plumes then landed on the space agency’s mobile launcher and Flame Deflector.

Camera footage depicting the IOP/SS system test has been published on NASA’s official YouTube channel; anyone interested in watching the test can watch the video embedded below:

Pretty awesome, eh? According to NASA, all that water was hurled approximately 100 feet in the air before falling back down.

So why all the water? Water is well-known for its thermal cooling properties, and this means it can remove excess heat energy from the surrounding air and the surfaces it touches when the SLS rocket officially ignites its engines and lifts off from the ground.

Related: Watch SpaceX's powerful new Falcon Heavy rocket lift a Tesla Roadster into space

But cooling isn’t the only reason for all the water. As you might recall, the name IOP/SS contains the words “Sound Suppression,” and that’s because the SLS rocket will be one heck of a noisy rocket. Think of all the high-pressure water spewing from those large geysers as a type of noise cancellation system that doubles as a cooling system after the water escapes.

But don’t worry, the IOP/SS system won’t cause any flooding to nearby areas. NASA engineers built some of the largest water drains you’ve ever seen into the Flame Deflector, which carries all that water away safely.

As it would seem from the tests, the IOP/SS system worked precisely as NASA had intended it. It should be interesting, however, to see how well it performs when NASA officially launches the SLS rocket for the first time within the next couple of years.

Source: Popular Science, NASA/YouTube

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
AUG 16, 2020
Space & Astronomy
A Very Distant Galaxy From the Early Universe Is a Lot Like the Milky Way
AUG 16, 2020
A Very Distant Galaxy From the Early Universe Is a Lot Like the Milky Way
With the power of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), astronomers have identified a very young gala ...
AUG 16, 2020
Space & Astronomy
What Will the End of the Universe Look Like?
AUG 16, 2020
What Will the End of the Universe Look Like?
Matt Caplan, a theoretical physicist at Illinois State University, has calculated when the last supernova will happen in ...
SEP 17, 2020
Space & Astronomy
What the Sun's New Weather Cycle Means for Earth
SEP 17, 2020
What the Sun's New Weather Cycle Means for Earth
Scientists have confirmed that the sun is nine months into a new solar cycle, and that this 11-year cycle will resemble ...
NOV 20, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
The Passing of a Neutrino Hunting Pioneer
NOV 20, 2020
The Passing of a Neutrino Hunting Pioneer
Masatoshi Koshiba, a revered Japanese physicist known for his groundbreaking work on cosmic neutrino detection, passed a ...
NOV 20, 2020
Space & Astronomy
The Universe is Getting Hotter, not Cooler, as it Expands
NOV 20, 2020
The Universe is Getting Hotter, not Cooler, as it Expands
Up until now, scientists have theorized that as the Universe expands, its temperature has gradually declined. New resear ...
NOV 27, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
Gravity Affects Gene Expression
NOV 27, 2020
Gravity Affects Gene Expression
If people are going to explore deep space, we should learn more about the effects that such an environment would potenti ...
Loading Comments...