Did you know that NASA had to use approximately half a million gallons of water in just 60 seconds to successfully launch a rocket? There are two reasons for this. Water is used in two ways: first, to aid in the rocket’s launch systems, and second, to aid in the launchpad’s sound and fire suppression systems.
Let’s start by explaining the first. Rockets are commonly powered by a combination of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. Therefore, some of the vapor present during a launch is caused by the supercooled liquid fuel turning into gas when the overpressure is bled off just before launch.
The second comes from ejecting massive amounts of water to mitigate the sheer amount of acoustic energy generated by a launch, which would be enough to damage the extremely expensive onboard electronic equipment.
But how does that work the water acts as a medium for the sound waves’ vibrations to travel through, resulting in the reduction of acoustical levels on launch sites to about 142 decibels, which is within an acceptable margin for a payload or spacecraft’s design requirements? Better yet, this water also helps prevent fires from starting on the launchpad.
It might seem like a lot of water to waste, but NASA is very careful about how its usage. The space agency even has a Water Resources program.
Have we piqued your curiosity? Do you want to know more about how exactly this water is used by the space agency? Do you want to see it live in action on the launch pad? Then, do not miss our video.