Why NASA Uses Half a Million Gallons of Water to Launch a Rocket

It has to do with acoustics and more.

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Water! It’s one of our most precious and valued resources and experts are saying we might be running out of it in the coming years. That’s why it seems really important to preserve it. It might sound surprising then to hear that NASA has to use approximately half a million gallons of water in just 60 seconds to successfully launch a rocket.

Why is so much water necessary? The answer to that question is complex. First, NASA uses the water to aid in the rocket’s launch systems, and second, to aid in the launchpad’s sound and fire suppression systems.

How can water be useful to so many systems? This all has to do with how rockets work. A launch generates a large amount of acoustic energy which would be enough to damage the extremely expensive onboard electronic equipment. The water then acts as a medium for the sound waves’ vibrations to travel through, reducing the acoustical levels on launch sites to about 142 decibels.  At the same time, the water also helps prevent fires from starting on the launchpad.

But that’s just one of two things the water accomplishes. What is the third and why is it so essential to the successful launch of a rocket? Watch our video to find out.

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