Why doesn’t the sound of a rocket launch kill you?


This is the sound of the Falcon Heavy, lifting
off from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space centre. With 27 Merlin engines firing to produce 5
and a half million pounds of thrust, it’s fair to say, it’s pretty loud. For rockets with this much power, the sound
energy produced by the engines can actually be very damaging to the rocket itself as well
as the surrounding buildings. In this video we’re going to look at the
method that NASA uses to reduce some of the reduce some of the sound damage. We’re also going to look at the unique way
that the Russian’s deal with this problem. When a rocket lifts off from the launch pad,
the engine exhausts fire hot gas into the flame trench. Along with the incredible heat energy coming
from the engines, there is also a lot of sound energy. According to NASA, the Saturn 5 produced a sound level of around 220 decibels during lift-off. If you were in close proximity to the engines,
it wouldn’t just rupture your eardrums, it would kill you. During the launch of the first Space Shuttle
flight STS-1, the sound energy produced by the engines was powerful enough to damage some of the protective thermal tiles on the Shuttle’s hull. Although NASA used sound suppression systems
in the past, the risk of damaging the rocket or putting the crew in danger was higher for the shuttle due to its unique shape and sensitive heat shield. To avoid damaging the vehicle or putting the
crew in danger, NASA solved this problem by implementing a more effective sound suppression
system. This consists of a large water tower at the
launch site which dumps over 1 million lbs of water onto the launch pad in just 40 seconds. As the sound waves meet the water, they are
absorbed by bubbles of air which contract and heat up, turning the sound energy into
heat energy. Along with this enormous spray of water, NASA
also used “water bags” at the base of the SRB’s to further dampen the shock waves. These were large nylon bags – each about one
foot wide and one foot deep – filled with water and stretched across the SRB flame holes. Together, these two systems were able to reduce
the sound level of the Space Shuttle from 195 decibels to a more respectable 142, the
equivalent of a jet taking off. Although it can be difficult to see the water
deluge system in action, it’s during a sound suppression test that we really get a sense
of just how much water is used. Dumping this much water onto the launch pad
not only protects the rocket and nearby buildings from intense shock waves, it also stops any fires that might be caused by the rockets exhaust. To this day, NASA still uses a very similar
water deluge system at all of their main launch sites. The Russians on the other hand, have a different
approach. Since a lot of the Russian Soyuz rockets launch
from Baikanour in Kazakhstan, where the temperatures can be as low as -40 degrees in the winter,
a water deluge system would freeze up instantly, making it completely useless. Their solution is to simply suspend the rocket
over a much larger flame trench. This means that there is very little in the
way for the shock waves to damage or reflect back onto the rocket. So although rocket science deals with some
of the most complex engineering challenges, it’s interesting to see that some problems
can be solved with very simple solutions. If you have any questions be sure to leave
them in the comments below. If you enjoyed this video and would like to
contribute to Primal Space, please visit Patreon.com/PrimalSpace, where we will be doing a giveaway of a Saturn V Lego set, once we reach 50 Patrons. So make sure you’re subscribed so you can
join the discussion as we continue to learn more about all things space. Thank you very much for watching and I’ll
see you in the next video.

100 thoughts on “Why doesn’t the sound of a rocket launch kill you?

  1. "Why doesn't the sound of a rocket launch kill you?"
    Because people are kept far enough away from the source. That, and ONLY that.

  2. Good video. Interesting way to suppress all that sound. Lot of stupid comments though

  3. USA: builds multi million dollar complex sound suppression system

    Russia: digs a hole

  4. YouTube: “why doesn’t the sound of a rocket launch kill you”
    Me, nowhere near the rocket: “go on then”

  5. Judging from the last clips it seems like the water should be turned on earlier?

    And what was the last little rocket?!

  6. Yes but……what does “sound damage” actually do? How would it feel? Is it a violent shaking that rips your organs free inside? Does it tear into skin? What does this sound do to metal or concrete? It is hard to imagine a sound being physically destructive…except to ears of course.

  7. NASA: provides solution to a problem – uses it ever single time.
    RUSSIA: prevention

  8. Being 50yrs old I was born just after Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.
    So I grew up learning about nasa is school but I've never seen the water suppression like this except on the engine test stand !
    Thanks!

  9. Rocket : my sound will kill you

    Deaf people : ima bout to end this rockets whole carreer

  10. That’s so interesting to know lmao. I mean who else knows that you could use water to muffle sound waves 🌊 besides a chemistry nerd?? 😂😂😂

  11. I've long assumed that the sound of a 🚀 rocket launch doesn't kill me because I have super powers aquired from the bite of a radioactive 🕷️ spider.

  12. If possible show us how the rocket propelent get burn and run the rocket machine in 3d animated!

  13. "If you have any questions please be sure to leave them in the comments below"…I haven't seen a single one yet. Lol 😀

  14. its astonishing how all of that thrust and displaced air all together just isnt enough to phaze those plumes of vapor and what not thats kicked up during initial launch phase sequence

  15. Right bare with me

    We have sound cancelling technology…. that sends out a wave to CANCLE incoming sound

    can we reverse the technology? ……. sent a wave at the sound source to CANCLE that sound wave out ?

  16. That's a good question and there's a reasonable answer… I would dare to say that 99.999% the human race doesn't live within ears reach of rockets taking off

  17. Before I watch the video I will answer… easy question…
    Because you're either too close and you'll burn to death or you're too far away to be injured. The only thing that will kill you is the heat. You can't be close enough for the sound to kill you without being burned to death.

  18. Not as loud as the fart you cant stop when your deucing it up at the GFs house.

  19. USA: complex water spray

    Russia: bigger hole

    Here's a fun bit of trivia. While NASA spent a lot of money to develope a technologically advanced ink pen that could write upside down or in the weightless environment of space, the Russians simply used…a pencil.

  20. WHAT are y'all even talking about ?!! They ALWAYS launch a safe distance away FROM PEOPLE !! THIS is NOT even a SERIOUS topic for discussion !!!🤔🤷🤦🚀🛰️

  21. If I had managed the design of those rockets with my ADHD brain, I would’ve just designed the rockets and launched them…and watched them explode after ignition because I didn’t even think about the acoustical energy. Obviously, those rocket scientists were a bit more comprehensive in their thinking.

  22. -40°F is NOT = -40°C u fucking idiot xD HAHAHA are u dumb???? Seems like it.. LMAO pleb

  23. NASA spent 100 million dollars trying to develop a pen 🖊 that would write in zero gravity.

    The Russians just used a pencil ✏️.

  24. Better question: why does the general population have to worry about our own carbon footprint but it's cool to burn millions of dollars in rocket fuel for one launch?

  25. "The Russians"?
    Does that include all Russians?
    Or only the ones who work at Roscosmos?

  26. Wow, as soon as you post anything to do with cl1kba1t, your comment is deleted. Great going, hacks…

    Fwy, this video is full of excrement and dumbness in order to lure views.

  27. I think I'm not the only who thought after seeing the title: "It's supposed to kill?"

  28. It would if you were close enough. The blast shockwave from a nuclear bomb is essentially just sound destroying everything.

  29. I have a question….nasa's rocket use o-rings to seal the casings on their rockets and cant launch them if the temperature is 40 degrees or below because the o-rings harden and dont seal up. What do the russians use on their rockets?

  30. Still not as loud as that one teaspoon falling into the sink at 3am

  31. Can't we talk in SI units for science sake.
    Stop this US non-sense of billion and pound.

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