Whenever there is a horizontal NASA mission on the horizon, you can expect to hear about the various tests leading to a possible launch. Smoking huge rocket engines is cool, and testing new tools on the rover is also quite exciting, but getting a bunch of water through the launch pad? Well, it's a little less glamorous, but it still needs to be done.
The mobile launch pad for the forthcoming Artemis I mission, called Pad 39B, will be the last piece of solid ground that astronauts will stand on before embarking on a mission to the moon's surface. In this way, NASA must ensure that all its systems are in perfect working order well in advance of the big day, and a recent water flow test shows things are going well.
The test, which lasted only 30 seconds, resulted in the ejection of 450,000 gallons of water onto the parts of the launch pad that will experience the most extreme voltages, including the blast deck and the flame deflector. The water debit system has a peak flow rate of over 1
The SLS – or Space Launch System – will be incredibly powerful, but not yet ready to display. NASA has been forced to return the ready date many times, and these repeated delays significantly threaten Artemis' mission.
NASA still plans to have a crew on the moon ready to go by 2024. Tests like this show that some aspects of this forecast are reasonable, but NASA's compliance with the term of office allowed by this term administration, is anything but sure.