Author Topic: First rocket launch pad water deluge system?  (Read 3789 times)

Offline whitelancer64

Does anyone know what the first use of a water deluge system was?

I've done some light googling and discovered that the Titan II ICBM rocket silos (first built in 1962) used a water deluge system, but I'm not finding anything on if the Gemini launches used water deluge. From pictures and video, it doesn't look like it.

"Since the Titan II was designed to be launched from within its silo without first being lifted to the surface, unlike all previous liquid-fueled ICBM and IRBM missiles, the silo design required several unique engineering solutions. Among these problems was the dissipation of the 5000 degree F engine exhaust gases, and the reduction of the tremendous acoustical energy generated by rocket engine operation within an enclosed space. Huge ducts and a water deluge sound suppression system prevented the missile from self-destruction due to accoustical energy."

https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/GetAsset/NHLS/92001234_text


The earliest reference I have found is to LC-34 (built in 1960), used for Saturn I and IB launches.

"A torus ring of large water nozzles, designed by Edwin Davis, encircled the 8-meter-wide exhaust opening. During launch and for some seconds thereafter, the nozzles would spray water on the pedestal, across the exhaust opening, and down the opening's walls, cooling the deflector and pedestal."

https://www.hq.nasa.gov/pao/History/SP-4204/ch2-4.html

This ring is visible in pictures of the remains of LC-34.

The Saturn V launch pads had a "water suppression system" that sprayed water on the pad to prevent damage that was effectively a pad deluge system.
« Last Edit: 09/20/2023 05:41 am by whitelancer64 »
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Offline darkenfast

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Re: First water deluge system?
« Reply #1 on: 09/20/2023 03:15 am »
The Vanguard program launched both Viking and Vanguard launchers using a pad water system during 1956-7. I don't know if that was the first.
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Offline whitelancer64

Re: First water deluge system?
« Reply #2 on: 09/20/2023 05:09 am »
The Vanguard program launched both Viking and Vanguard launchers using a pad water system during 1956-7. I don't know if that was the first.

Bold mine:

"The made-to-order pad was one of several concessions Vanguard succeeded in obtaining from the Air Force. NRL and Martin insisted also on a "wet pad," one equipped with a plumbing system capable of supplying water for cooling the flame duct of the launch structure and for other purposes connected with static and flight firing tests. For Yates this request posed problems. It meant piping off the main line water intended for the Thor project. It also called for the emplacement of a spilloff basin for catching the water poured through the flame duct, and Yates feared that a basin in the Vanguard launch area would create later difficulties for the Air Force's IRBM program. He agreed to the wet pad only after receiving assurances from NRL and Martin that no interference with the Thor schedule would ensue."

https://history.nasa.gov/SP-4202/chapter8.html

This refers to LC-18A. It was built in 1956 and in use from December 1956 to 1959. It was the site of the famous Vanguard rocket explosion.

Picture (black and white) below of a Vanguard rocket during a test fire in January 1958. This photograph was released by the U.S. Navy on January 23, 1958.

Another picture (color) of Vanguard SLV-3 (Satellite Launch Vehicle) prior to its launch in September 1958.
« Last Edit: 09/20/2023 02:58 pm by whitelancer64 »
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

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Re: First water deluge system?
« Reply #3 on: 09/20/2023 05:20 am »
With the generic title to this thread, Wasn't the first Water Deluge system the biblical "Great Flood".
« Last Edit: 09/20/2023 05:28 am by catdlr »
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Offline whitelancer64

Re: First rocket launch pad water deluge system?
« Reply #4 on: 09/20/2023 05:41 am »
With the generic title to this thread, Wasn't the first Water Deluge system the biblical "Great Flood".

That'd be Gilgamesh's flood.

There's also the Missoula Ice Age floods, but I will modify the thread title to say "rocket launch pad water deluge system" lol
« Last Edit: 09/20/2023 05:42 am by whitelancer64 »
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: First rocket launch pad water deluge system?
« Reply #5 on: 09/20/2023 06:58 am »
With the generic title to this thread, Wasn't the first Water Deluge system the biblical "Great Flood".

That'd be Gilgamesh's flood.

There's also the Missoula Ice Age floods, but I will modify the thread title to say "rocket launch pad water deluge system" lol

Don't forget the breaking of the Gibraltar Dam in the Messinian!
Apologies in advance for any lack of civility - it's unintended

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Re: First rocket launch pad water deluge system?
« Reply #6 on: 09/20/2023 07:09 am »
With the generic title to this thread, Wasn't the first Water Deluge system the biblical "Great Flood".

That'd be Gilgamesh's flood.

There's also the Missoula Ice Age floods, but I will modify the thread title to say "rocket launch pad water deluge system" lol

Don't forget the breaking of the Gibraltar Dam in the Messinian!

Maybe not as old as the Missoula Ice Age floods or the Gibraltar Dam in the Messinian, how about a German V2 that fell over on the launch pad, and what could be a water deluge system??
« Last Edit: 09/20/2023 07:10 am by catdlr »
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Offline edzieba

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Re: First rocket launch pad water deluge system?
« Reply #7 on: 09/20/2023 09:51 am »
There's also the distinction between water spray/deluge for sound/shock suppression, for thermal control, or for both. e.g. Saturn V's deluge was for sound suppression but not for thermal control, Starship's is for thermal control but not sound suppression, and STS used it for both (with some nozzles being for thermal control only, some being sound suppression only, and some pulling double-duty.

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Re: First rocket launch pad water deluge system?
« Reply #8 on: 09/20/2023 09:57 am »
There's also the distinction between water spray/deluge for sound/shock suppression, for thermal control, or for both. e.g. Saturn V's deluge was for sound suppression but not for thermal control, Starship's is for thermal control but not sound suppression, and STS used it for both (with some nozzles being for thermal control only, some being sound suppression only, and some pulling double-duty.

And probably some nozzle designs specific for fire suppression.
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Offline whitelancer64

Re: First rocket launch pad water deluge system?
« Reply #9 on: 09/20/2023 02:41 pm »
There's also the distinction between water spray/deluge for sound/shock suppression, for thermal control, or for both. e.g. Saturn V's deluge was for sound suppression but not for thermal control, Starship's is for thermal control but not sound suppression, and STS used it for both (with some nozzles being for thermal control only, some being sound suppression only, and some pulling double-duty.

And probably some nozzle designs specific for fire suppression.

I think the weird yellow bendy pipes on the top of the pad are for fire suppression, you can see them blasting what looks like water after the fireball clears away in the Vanguard explosion video. Of course, "water poured through the flame duct" means the water was also used for cooling, and "for other purposes" is pretty vague xD
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline leovinus

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Re: First rocket launch pad water deluge system?
« Reply #10 on: 09/20/2023 04:13 pm »
With the generic title to this thread, Wasn't the first Water Deluge system the biblical "Great Flood".

That'd be Gilgamesh's flood.

There's also the Missoula Ice Age floods, but I will modify the thread title to say "rocket launch pad water deluge system" lol

Don't forget the breaking of the Gibraltar Dam in the Messinian!

Maybe not as old as the Missoula Ice Age floods or the Gibraltar Dam in the Messinian, how about a German V2 that fell over on the launch pad, and what could be a water deluge system??
The wiki description of one of the V-2 launch pads "Pruefstand VII" says it did include water cooling.
Quote
. Beside the flame pit was a long underground room where 4 feet (1.2 m) diameter delivery pipes were housed to route cooling water at 120 gallon per second from three huge pumps in the pumphouse to the flame deflector in the pit.

Offline whitelancer64

Re: First rocket launch pad water deluge system?
« Reply #11 on: 09/20/2023 04:59 pm »
With the generic title to this thread, Wasn't the first Water Deluge system the biblical "Great Flood".

That'd be Gilgamesh's flood.

There's also the Missoula Ice Age floods, but I will modify the thread title to say "rocket launch pad water deluge system" lol

Don't forget the breaking of the Gibraltar Dam in the Messinian!

Maybe not as old as the Missoula Ice Age floods or the Gibraltar Dam in the Messinian, how about a German V2 that fell over on the launch pad, and what could be a water deluge system??
The wiki description of one of the V-2 launch pads "Pruefstand VII" says it did include water cooling.
Quote
. Beside the flame pit was a long underground room where 4 feet (1.2 m) diameter delivery pipes were housed to route cooling water at 120 gallon per second from three huge pumps in the pumphouse to the flame deflector in the pit.

A little later it says:

"A different gradually rising tunnel led from the long flame pit room to the exterior of the arena near the pumphouse (German: Pumpenhaus). Near the pumphouse were high wooden towers to cool the water, and 25 feet (7.6 m) high tanks for the recooling water were integrated into the ellipse wall."

So I think that means the flame deflector was actively cooled, but it wasn't a deluge system that soaks the surface of the pad or flame deflector, or is injected into the exhaust. It sounds like the water was pumped through the flame deflector, then went to the cooling towers, and then back into a storage tank to further cool and be reused.

But, as with so many concepts and techniques in rocketry, it seems that the general idea goes back to the V2.

Thanks for finding that!

Test Stand VII, the site of the first successful A4 launch in October 1942. Wow.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline leovinus

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Re: First rocket launch pad water deluge system?
« Reply #12 on: 09/20/2023 08:34 pm »
With the generic title to this thread, Wasn't the first Water Deluge system the biblical "Great Flood".

That'd be Gilgamesh's flood.

There's also the Missoula Ice Age floods, but I will modify the thread title to say "rocket launch pad water deluge system" lol

Don't forget the breaking of the Gibraltar Dam in the Messinian!

Maybe not as old as the Missoula Ice Age floods or the Gibraltar Dam in the Messinian, how about a German V2 that fell over on the launch pad, and what could be a water deluge system??
The wiki description of one of the V-2 launch pads "Pruefstand VII" says it did include water cooling.
Quote
. Beside the flame pit was a long underground room where 4 feet (1.2 m) diameter delivery pipes were housed to route cooling water at 120 gallon per second from three huge pumps in the pumphouse to the flame deflector in the pit.

A little later it says:

"A different gradually rising tunnel led from the long flame pit room to the exterior of the arena near the pumphouse (German: Pumpenhaus). Near the pumphouse were high wooden towers to cool the water, and 25 feet (7.6 m) high tanks for the recooling water were integrated into the ellipse wall."

So I think that means the flame deflector was actively cooled, but it wasn't a deluge system that soaks the surface of the pad or flame deflector, or is injected into the exhaust. It sounds like the water was pumped through the flame deflector, then went to the cooling towers, and then back into a storage tank to further cool and be reused.

But, as with so many concepts and techniques in rocketry, it seems that the general idea goes back to the V2.

Thanks for finding that!

Test Stand VII, the site of the first successful A4 launch in October 1942. Wow.
And to add to the V-2 info, there is a German teststand description about the V-2 tests (incl stand number 7) and the description seems like a "deluge" system to me. I marked the salient sentence below in the English translation. Whether the cooling was different on other V-2 stands, and whether the "launch" stands were different from the "testing" stands,  I do not know.
 
Quote
Um die hohen Abgastemperatur und die Gas Geschwindigkeit ( Errechnet in der Brennkammer: 2000C° und Ausströmgeschwindigkeit der Feuergase 2000 m/s ) zu kühlen , war im unteren Bereich des Prüfstandes ein Ring der die Flamme umschloss. Von diesem Ring wurde direkt in die Flamme Wasser gespritzt. Neben dieser Kühlung besaß die Umlenkschuhreh Wasserdüsen. Während des Prüfvorganges wurde über einen Zeitraum von 2 Minuten rund 400 cbm Wasser eingespritzt, der dabei aufsteigende Wasserdampf bildete dann Pilzförmige Nebelnseulen die noch von der Schweiz aus ( ca. 25 Km ) noch gesehen werden konnten . Alle Drei Prüfstände waren über ca. 1,5 m durchmessenden Stahlrohre an einem Zentralen Wasserspeicher auf der Südseite des Mittelberges angeschlossen das alle 1 bis 1,5 Stunden die erforderliche Wassermenge liefern konnte.

Quote
In order to cool the high exhaust gas temperature and the gas velocity (calculated in the combustion chamber: 2000C° and outflow velocity of the fire gases 2000 m/s), there was a ring in the lower area of the test bench that surrounded the flame. Water was sprayed from this ring directly into the flame. In addition to this cooling, the deflection shoe?? had water nozzles. During the test process, around 400 cubic meters of water was injected over a period of 2 minutes, the rising water vapor then formed mushroom-shaped clouds of fog that could still be seen from Switzerland (approx. 25 km). All three test stands were connected to a central water storage tank on the south side of the Mittelberg via steel pipes measuring approx. 1.5 m in diameter, which could supply the required amount of water every 1 to 1.5 hours.

https://web.archive.org/web/20160304115650/http://www.v2werk-oberraderach.de/Inhaltsverzeichnis.htm
https://web.archive.org/web/20160304191907/http://www.v2werk-oberraderach.de/Pruefstaende_2_1.html
« Last Edit: 09/20/2023 08:35 pm by leovinus »

Offline whitelancer64

Re: First rocket launch pad water deluge system?
« Reply #13 on: 09/20/2023 09:22 pm »

And to add to the V-2 info, there is a German teststand description about the V-2 tests (incl stand number 7) and the description seems like a "deluge" system to me. I marked the salient sentence below in the English translation. Whether the cooling was different on other V-2 stands, and whether the "launch" stands were different from the "testing" stands,  I do not know.
 
Quote
Um die hohen Abgastemperatur und die Gas Geschwindigkeit ( Errechnet in der Brennkammer: 2000C° und Ausströmgeschwindigkeit der Feuergase 2000 m/s ) zu kühlen , war im unteren Bereich des Prüfstandes ein Ring der die Flamme umschloss. Von diesem Ring wurde direkt in die Flamme Wasser gespritzt. Neben dieser Kühlung besaß die Umlenkschuhreh Wasserdüsen. Während des Prüfvorganges wurde über einen Zeitraum von 2 Minuten rund 400 cbm Wasser eingespritzt, der dabei aufsteigende Wasserdampf bildete dann Pilzförmige Nebelnseulen die noch von der Schweiz aus ( ca. 25 Km ) noch gesehen werden konnten . Alle Drei Prüfstände waren über ca. 1,5 m durchmessenden Stahlrohre an einem Zentralen Wasserspeicher auf der Südseite des Mittelberges angeschlossen das alle 1 bis 1,5 Stunden die erforderliche Wassermenge liefern konnte.

Quote
In order to cool the high exhaust gas temperature and the gas velocity (calculated in the combustion chamber: 2000C° and outflow velocity of the fire gases 2000 m/s), there was a ring in the lower area of the test bench that surrounded the flame. Water was sprayed from this ring directly into the flame. In addition to this cooling, the deflection shoe?? had water nozzles. During the test process, around 400 cubic meters of water was injected over a period of 2 minutes, the rising water vapor then formed mushroom-shaped clouds of fog that could still be seen from Switzerland (approx. 25 km). All three test stands were connected to a central water storage tank on the south side of the Mittelberg via steel pipes measuring approx. 1.5 m in diameter, which could supply the required amount of water every 1 to 1.5 hours.

https://web.archive.org/web/20160304115650/http://www.v2werk-oberraderach.de/Inhaltsverzeichnis.htm
https://web.archive.org/web/20160304191907/http://www.v2werk-oberraderach.de/Pruefstaende_2_1.html

The section describes the exhaust clouds as visible from Switzerland 25 km away, so this isn't about the test stands at Peenemunde (which includes Test Stand VII). It also mentions getting water piped in from Lake Constance, which is very near the German boder with Switzerland.

Aha. The clue is in the page title lol. The page is about V2 engine test stands that were near Ober-Raderach, about 70 miles south of Stuttgart. The test facility was code named "Porcelain Factory."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oberraderach

The test stands were completed in mid 1943, and were only in operation for about half a year before they were mostly dismantled due to Allied military closing in on the area. The nearby Zeppelin company factory (which had built the test stands) and engine testing areas were destroyed by aerial bombardment in August 1944. The French military later blew up the remains of the test stands, scattering large chunks of concrete throughout the nearby forests.

But anyway, this is exactly the kind of thing I've been wondering about.

Thank you again!
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

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Re: First rocket launch pad water deluge system?
« Reply #14 on: 09/20/2023 10:56 pm »
Any earlier history of a water deluge would take us back to possibly Wan Hu.  ;)
« Last Edit: 09/21/2023 04:34 am by catdlr »
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Offline Vahe231991

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Re: First rocket launch pad water deluge system?
« Reply #15 on: 09/21/2023 03:11 am »
Any earlier history of a water deluge would take us back to possibly Wan Hu.
Wan Hu is virtually an unhistorical character because the legend about him being lifted into space by rockets attached to his chair is pure fantasy.

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Re: First rocket launch pad water deluge system?
« Reply #16 on: 09/21/2023 04:33 am »
Any earlier history of a water deluge would take us back to possibly Wan Hu.
Wan Hu is virtually an unhistorical character because the legend about him being lifted into space by rockets attached to his chair is pure fantasy.

it was intended to be a joke.  Lighten up.
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Offline laszlo

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Re: First rocket launch pad water deluge system?
« Reply #17 on: 09/21/2023 10:47 am »
I've done some light googling and discovered that the Titan II ICBM rocket silos (first built in 1962) used a water deluge system, but I'm not finding anything on if the Gemini launches used water deluge. From pictures and video, it doesn't look like it.

Gemini III liftoff. Note the steam clouds. Obviously not the first time deluge was used at a launch pad, but definitely in place for Gemini flights.

Offline Jim

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Re: First rocket launch pad water deluge system?
« Reply #18 on: 09/29/2023 12:37 am »
There's also the distinction between water spray/deluge for sound/shock suppression, for thermal control, or for both. e.g. Saturn V's deluge was for sound suppression but not for thermal control, Starship's is for thermal control but not sound suppression, and STS used it for both (with some nozzles being for thermal control only, some being sound suppression only, and some pulling double-duty.

wrong, it is the other way around.

The Saturn V system was for pad cooling and fire suppression.  Shuttle was the first for sound suppression.
On the shuttle, the primary flow was sound suppression (the Rainbirds on the MLP deck).  Secondary was SSME curtain and flame deflector.  After STS-1, SRB ignition overpressure suppression was added.
« Last Edit: 09/29/2023 12:43 am by Jim »

 

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