SpaceX recently executed its second trial of the newly installed Starship inundation mechanism. This particular test exhibited significantly more potency compared to the initial one conducted on July 17th.
The event took place at SpaceX’s Starbase center in Boca Chica, Texas, commencing precisely at 2:10 p.m. ET.
A forceful surge of water gushed upwards from beneath the orbital launch mount (OLM) for a duration of about 40 seconds, accompanied by an immense cacophony. This trial did not involve any booster.
NASASpaceflight managed to capture this captivating and thoroughly soaked moment (to promptly witness the test, navigate to 1:10 p.m. CT, as indicated in the top left corner of the video).
Although the demonstration was presumed to be a full-pressure test, an official confirmation is yet to be provided.
The company, led by Elon Musk, has not divulged the precise volume of water propelled through the system; however, SpaceX aims to discharge up to 350,000 gallons of water during Starship launches.
The system evidently performed its intended function, vigorously spraying copious amounts of water in an upward trajectory.
When employed during actual launch scenarios, the deluge system will operate in unison with the ignition of the 33 Raptor engines on the Starship, absorbing the generated power.
The next logical step would be for SpaceX to assess the deluge system during a static fire test of the Starship Super Heavy booster.
A fully functional water inundation system will prove advantageous for SpaceX as it safeguards the launch pad during Starship liftoffs and bolsters the company’s case to obtain another Starship launch license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
In pursuit of this objective, SpaceX has also constructed a metal diverter beneath the OLM. During the inaugural Starship launch on April 20th, this infrastructure (both the water inundation system and the large metal plate) was absent, leading to significant damage to the OLM and the dispersal of dust and debris into the surrounding vicinity.
Consequently, the FAA is facing a lawsuit for granting authorization for that launch, and Starship remains grounded pending an investigation.
During its maiden flight, Starship managed to endure for approximately four minutes before succumbing to a fatal tumble, prompting controllers to initiate a self-destruct command.
Currently, SpaceX is diligently working towards the second launch, making thousands of tweaks to the 394-foot Starship, which stands as the most formidable rocket ever constructed.