Saturn Illustrated Chronology - Part 2
January 1961 through December 1961
In January Convair Astronautics submitted a proposal for
an S-V upper stage for the Saturn vehicle; however, later in the month
Dr. von Braun proposed that the C-1 vehicle be changed from a three-stage
to a two-stage configuration in support of the Apollo program. NASA decided
to delete requirements for the S-V stage on C-1 vehicles.
On January 16 the booster stage for the SA-1 flight vehicle
was moved from assembly to checkout. During January also, wind tunnel testing
of a model Saturn booster began at the Arnold Engineering Development Center,
Tullahoma, Tennessee; the tests were designed to study base heating phenomena
of the clustered stage.
||30. Proposed Saturn C-1
31. SA-1 Checkout
Two additional studies began in January 1961. NASA awarded
North American and Ryan Aeronautical Company contracts to investigate feasibility
of recovering the S-I booster stage after the vehicle flight by using a
Rogallo paraglider. A design contract was awarded for equipment which would
be used at MSFC to check out the S-I stage automatically.
|On January 25 a meeting was held at MSFC
to study S-II stage requirements for the Saturn C-2 vehicle. S-II stage
trajectory, performance, and structural analysis calculations were completed
and made a part of the preliminary Saturn-Dyna Soar proposal.16
16. MSFC Saturn Systems Office, Saturn Quarterly Progress
Report (January-March 1961), May 8, 1961, p. 42. Hereafter cited as
MSFC SSO, Saturn QPR, Jan.-Mar. 61.
During January a dummy of the S-IV stage was completed at
MSFC and moved to checkout. On January 31 MSFC static fired all eight engines
of the SA-T1 test booster for 113 seconds.17
17. MSFC SSO, Saturn QPR, Jan.-Mar. 61, p. 37-38.
32. Saturn booster recovery
33. C-2 Second stage
||34. Movement of dummy S-IV
stage to checkout
A dummy S-V stage, built for use on SA-1, was received from
Convair on February 8 and mated to the dummy S-IV stage. The first horizontal
assembly of the complete C-1 vehicle was accomplished during February.
MSFC completed SA-T1 static tests on February 14. By February 27 Convair
had provided MSFC with a second dummy S-V stage.18 This stage
would first be used during dynamic tests of a complete dummy vehicle; later
the dummy S-V would be used on a flight vehicle.
18. MSFC SSO, Saturn QPR, Jan.-Mar. 61, p. 32
||35. First horizontal mating
of the Saturn vehicle
Liquid hydrogen engine development problems led to studies
early in March to determine the possibility of using the first-generation
LR-115 type Centaur engine on the Saturn S-IV stage, rather than second-generation
Centaur engine, the LR-119.
Meanwhile, the booster was removed from the test stand
on March 2 and loaded aboard the Palaemon for river trials. Also
on March 2, 1961, as a part of the booster recovery studies, tests began
at Cape Canaveral to determine the feasibility of reusing H-1 engines after
exposure to salt water.
||36. Removal of the booster
from the static test stand
37. Salt water test of H-1
Construction work at Launch Complex 34 continued to progress
satisfactorily, with the service structure, blockhouse, and gas facilities
On March 7 the SA-1 booster was moved to the MSFC static
test stand for preflight checkout. On March 14 the Palaemon, carrying
the SA-T1, left the MSFC dock on its first training trip. Following its
return the test booster went to MSFC shops for modification to the SA-T2
configuration. Looking beyond the booster, MSFC began construction in March
of a facility to be used in familiarizing personnel with the handling of
liquid hydrogen. MSFC presented plans on March 23 to accelerate the C-2
program and recommended that a prime contractor be selected to develop
the S-II stage. MSFC also recommended use of six LR-115 engines in the
S-IV stage instead of four LR-119 engines. Pratt & Whitney would still
be the supplying contractor. MSFC then proposed certain design changes
in the S-I stage including an increase in propellant capacity, the addition
of fins, and increased structural support for later versions of the booster.
||38. Facilities construction
at Launch Complex 34
39. The barge Palaemon
40. Redesigned tail of the
On March 29, 1961, MSFC received NASA Headquarters approval
for the six-engine configuration of the S-IV.19 On March 31
NASA approved acceleration of the C-2 program and development of the C-2
vehicle for a three-stage escape mission. MSFC was authorized to begin
a two-phase procurement of an S-II stage.20
19. MSFC SSO, C-1 Development Plan, p. 139.
20. MSFC SSO, Saturn QPR, Jan.-Mar. 61, p. 42.
During March further decisions were made concerning engines
for the S-IV stage. MSFC decided to redirect effort from development of
the LR-119 to the RL10-A-1, an engine that could be used in common by both
the Centaur and the S-IV stage.
41. Six-engine configuration
of the S-IV stage
On April 10 NASA announced the Project Apollo objectives
of developing an orbiting laboratory for the study of effects of radiation
and prolonged weightlessness, first with animals and later with a three-man
crew. During April Douglas reported that air transport for the S-IV stage
was feasible. Douglas had been authorized in 1960 to study air transportation
for S-IV stages. This would greatly reduce the time which would be required
if the stages were moved by water from California to MSFC at Huntsville,
and thence to Cape Canaveral, Florida. The use of gliders, blimps, and
aircraft to carry the stages was also considered.
||42. Artist's concept of
43. Air transport of S-IV
44. Booster simulator being
loaded aboard Palaemon
45. Unloading simulator at
On April 17 the Palaemon began its first trial
run to Cape Canaveral. The barge carried a water-ballasted tank simulating
the size and weight of the S-I booster, plus a dummy S-V stage for the
SA-1. The barge reached Cape Canaveral on April 30. After rehearsing movement
of the booster along roads at the Cape, the simulator was reloaded aboard
the Palaemon. The dummy S-V stage remained at the Cape. On May 3
the barge began its return trip, arriving at the Redstone Arsenal dock
21. MSFC Test Division, Test Division's Contributions
to Saturn Semiannual Technical Report (January 1 through June 30, 1961),
unpub. rpt., pp. 16-17.
MSFC completed construction of the dynamic test tower on
April 17, the same day that the Palaemon left for Florida. The dynamic
tower permits checkout of the mechanical mating of the C-1 vehicle, and
aids in determining the vehicle's natural bending characteristics and the
effect of simulated flight vibrations.
MSFC held a Saturn S-II preproposal conference April 18;
the first phase of S-II procurement was expected to begin during May. On
April 21 Douglas reported to MSFC that the major problem in S-IV stage
development was disposal of hydrogen gas generated during engine chilldown.
46. Route of the Palaemon
to Cape Canaveral
47. Installing dummy S-V in
Dynamic Test Tower
|On April 29, 1961, the first flight qualification
test (SA-01) of the SA-1 booster was successfully accomplished in an eight-engine,
30-second test. A second static firing of the SA-1 booster, May 5, 1961,
was terminated prematurely because of a problem which caused a shutdown
signal through the fire detection system.22 A third eight-engine
static firing test of the SA-1 booster, performed May 11, lasted 111 seconds
and was satisfactory. Meanwhile, assembly of the SA-2 flight vehicle continued,
and fabrication of the LOX and fuel tanks for the SA-3 vehicle was begun.23
22. MSFC SSO, Saturn QPR, Apr.-June 61, p. 25.
23. MSFC SSO, Saturn QPR, Apr.-June 61, p. 25.
In May 1961 NASA Headquarters accepted MSFC's March proposal
to incorporate design changes into the S-I stage of the C-1 vehicle. The
changes would permit the C-1 to be used as a two- or three-stage vehicle
possessing satisfactory safety requirements for the two-stage manned mission.
This change eliminated the immediate need for an S-V stage with the C-1
except for possible special missions. Also during May 1961 MSFC began re-examination
of the capabilities of the Saturn C-2 configuration to support lunar circumnavigation
missions. Results of this examination indicated that a Saturn vehicle of
even greater performance would be desirable.
||48. Positioning flight booster
in test stand
49. Configurations of Saturn
50. Separation of upper
stages from booster
51. Model of the RL10-A-3
On May 18 the first phase of S-II procurement began when
MSFC requested industry to prepare capability proposals for the design
and development of the stage. Also during May Pratt & Whitney shipped
a mockup of the RL10-A-3 engine to Douglas and Convair for checks to assure
that the engine was physically compatible with both the S-IV stage and
the Centaur vehicle. Among other activities in May the Martin Company was
awarded a contract to study launch vehicle systems which could be used
in lunar exploration beyond the initial Project Apollo flights. These studies
included transportation systems for a lunar landing and immediate return
for three men, a thirty-day stay on the moon for three men, and a permanent
moon base to accommodate 10 to 12 men.
MSFC tested the S-IV dummy stage for the SA-1 flight vehicle
May 20-25, 1961. After successful testing the Center began to ready the
stage for shipment to Cape Canaveral.
||52. Testing of dummy S-IV
53. Sacramento test facility
54. Dummy Saturn vehicle in
dynamic test stand
Engine gimbal tests performed at MSFC during April and May
had indicated the advisability of increasing the stiffness of the engine
control support structure in the booster. To investigate this matter further,
the control engine support structure of the S-I stage of the dynamic test
vehicle was modified and a series of single-engine gimbal tests begun on
May 29, 1961. As test results were of marginal satisfaction, a new type
of actuator servo valve was installed. Further test results were satisfactory.
The dummy booster was moved to the dynamic test stand early in June and,
for the first time, vertically mated with dummy S-IV and S-V stages. The
assembled vehicle was then readied for dynamic testing.24
24. MSFC SSO, Saturn QPR, Apr.-June 61, p. 26.
During May and June 1961 Douglas Aircraft had continued fabrication
of full-scale mockups of S-IV stage sections. These mockups were used to
check the mating of different sections of the stage and to determine equipment
||55. Tail Area mockup
56. Forward interstage mockup
During June construction of the liquid hydrogen test site
neared completion at Douglas Aircraft's Sacramento Test Facility (SACTO).
Utilizing LOX facilities existing from earlier programs, the site includes
two 90,000-gallon liquid hydrogen storage tanks and test stands capable
of testing S-IV hardware under a variety of conditions.
On June 2 a lock collapsed at the Wheeler Dam on the Tennessee
River. All movement of river traffic was halted. Because the Palaemon
was trapped in the upper river, MSFC decided to transport the booster in
it overland to a point below the dam. There the stage would be reloaded
on barge to continue the trip to Cape Canaveral. To support this plan MSFC
obtained a Navy barge which had been mothballed at Pensacola, Florida.
Necessary modifications began so that the new barge, renamed Compromise,
could carry the S-I and dummy S-IV stages and dummy payload.
|57. The barge Compromise
|On June 5, 1961, Launch Complex 34 at Cape
Canaveral was dedicated in a brief ceremony and turned over to NASA.25
In Huntsville final acceptance testing of the S-I stage for the first flight
booster began on June 12, 1961. The first operation accomplished was the
mechanical mating of the S-IV dummy stage. Design work for later Saturn
vehicles also continued at MSFC. On June 15, 1961, a mockup of the new
instrument unit portion of the vehicle was completed; this unit, containing
guidance and instrumentation, would fly above the upper stages of the last
five Saturn C-1 vehicles.
25. MSFC SSO, Saturn QPR, Apr.-June 61, p. 63.
||58. Launch Complex 34
59. Launch Complex 34,
60. Instrument unit mockup
On June 21 Phase II procurement of the S-II stage began.
Four companies were invited to attend the Phase II meeting at MSFC and
After a meeting held in June with Douglas, MSFC directed
that the S-IV stage be redesigned to incorporate chilldown venting through
which accumulated hydrogen gas could be disposed.
Dr. von Braun announced on June 23 that further engineering
design work on the C-2 configuration would be discontinued; effort would
instead be redirected toward clarification of the Saturn C-3 and Nova concepts.
Capabilities of the proposed C-3 configuration in supporting the Apollo
mission would be determined.
||61. Comparison of Saturn
62. Possible Nova configurations
63. Proposed C-3/Apollo
64. Installation of SA-T2
in static test stand
On June 27 the first static test of the SA-T2 booster
(the SA-T1 booster modified to the configuration of the SA-2 booster stage)
was successfully accomplished at MSFC. This was an eight-engine, 30-second
test to confirm effectiveness of the new actuator servo valve and the stiffening
of the control engine support structure.26
26. MSFC SSO, Saturn QPR, Apr.-June 61, p. 38.
During the last week in June a contract was awarded to Chrysler
Corporation for performance of qualification and reliability testing on
various engine, hydraulic, mechanical, and structural components of the
Saturn booster. Another contract was awarded in the same month for preliminary
design of a facility to static test the J-2 engine.
To commemorate the first anniversary of the Marshall Space
Flight Center, an open house was held at the Center on July 1, 1961. Attending
were such national figures as the NASA Administrator, James Webb; the Director
of NASA Launch Vehicle Programs, Major General Don Ostrander; and numerous
other national, state, and local dignitaries.
|A few days later dynamic testing of SA-D1
began for the purpose of investigating the bending modes of the vehicle
and also to continue studies into tank resonances initiated by Langley
Research Center during June. While dynamic testing proceeded at MSFC, Rocketdyne
in California began static firing tests of a complete F-1 engine. The engine
would build up to 1.5 million pounds of thrust when perfected.
Early in July MSFC awarded a contract to Minneapolis-Honeywell
for necessary engineering and manufacturing services to adapt the Centaur
guidance set to Saturn requirements. Also in July, MSFC awarded a six-month
contract to the Boeing Company to study the feasibility of creating huge
vehicles by joining solid-propellant "super-boosters" with liquid-propellant
||65. Dr. von Braun, James
E. Webb, and Maj. Gen.
66. H-1 and F-1 engine comparison
(H-1 at left)
67. Static firing of F-1
68. Proposed solid propellant
boosters for large space
During July MSFC successfully completed the second and
third static firings of the SA-T2 test booster.27 These tests
evaluated modifications to reduce engine structure vibration, evaluated
flame curtain materials, and checked out a LOX depletion system similar
to that used on SA-1. During the third test MSFC simulated for the first
time the inflight engine cutoff sequence, that is, shutdown of the inboard
engines six seconds before shutdown of the outboard engines.
27. MSFC Historical Office, History of the George
C. Marshall Space Flight Center, July-December 31, 1961, p. 29. Hereafter
cited as MSFC Hist. Office, Hist. of Geo. C. Marshall Space Flight Center,
July 1-Dec. 31, 1961.
MSFC awarded a contract to the Space Technology Laboratories,
Inc., Los Angeles, California, during July, to investigate the relative
merits and potential problems of assembling the giant Saturn boosters in
horizontal and vertical positions. Other contracts awarded by the Center
in July included qualification and reliability testing of Saturn ground
support equipment, subsystems, and components, construction of a special
assembly building at Cape Canaveral, and site development for the Center's
new static test facility in Huntsville.
||69. Static firing of SA-T2
70. Concept of new static
test facility, MSFC
71. Artist's concept of
Apollo separation from
Also in July NASA's Space Task Group invited 12 companies
to submit proposals for the manned lunar Apollo spacecraft. Meanwhile,
the Center contemplated a nuclear-powered Saturn upper stage and awarded
contracts for a six-month RIFT (reactor-in-flight test) design analysis
to General Dynamics/Astronautics, Douglas Aircraft Company, Lockheed Aircraft
Corporation, and the Martin Company.
Assembly of the booster stage for the SA-3 vehicle began
on July 31, 1961.28 The following day the SA-2 booster was transferred
from the assembly area to checkout. On August 3 a planned 114-second static
test of the SA-T2 booster was terminated after 1.2 seconds when instrumentation
indicated an unacceptably high temperature of the LOX pump inlet on engine
No. 1. The test was rescheduled for the following week. On August 7 the
SA-T2 booster was successfully fired in a 124-second test.
28. MSFC SSO, Saturn QPR, July-Sept. 61, p. 11.
Checkout of the SA-1 flight booster, started in June, was
completed early in August.29 The booster stage, the dummy S-IV
stage, and the dummy payload body were shielded with protective covers
and loaded on their respective transporters. The stages and payload body
were then moved from the MSFC shops to the docking facilities on the Tennessee
River and loaded aboard the Palaemon. On August 5 the barge began
the first leg of the trip to Cape Canaveral. At Wheeler Dam the units were
unloaded, transported to a dock below the dam, and placed on the second
barge, the Compromise, to continue the 2,200-mile trip to Florida.
On August 15 the Compromise arrived at the Cape and unloaded her
cargo; MSFC began assembling the first flight vehicle on the launch pedestal.30
29. MSFC SSO, Saturn QPR, July-Sept. 61, p. 9.
30. MSFC SSO, Saturn QPR, July-Sept. 61, p. 2.
72. Concept of Saturn with
nuclear powered stage
73. Booster movement to
74. Payload movement
around Wheeler Dam
75. Booster movement
around Wheeler Dam
76. S-I and S-IV stages
aboard the Compromise
77. Unloading Compromise
Early in August MSFC invited bids for the construction
of a new Saturn launch complex (Launch Complex 37) at Cape Canaveral. Scheduled
for completion in late 1962, the new complex would support the high launch
rate planned for the Saturn vehicle.31
31. MSFC SSO, Saturn QPR, July-Sept. 61, pp. 94-96.
An F-1 engine was fired on August 16 at Edwards Air Force
Base; although the test was terminated after one and one-half seconds,
the engine had built up one million pounds of thrust.
On August 24 NASA designated Cape Canaveral as the base
for all manned lunar flights and other space missions requiring advanced
launch vehicles. NASA would secure an 80,000-acre tract of land, increasing
its total area in the vicinity to 97,000 acres. The additional land was
needed because of the tremendous vibration and noise expected with later
78. First Saturn booster
erection at Cape Canaveral
79. S-IV erection at Cape
80. Payload body erection
into service structure
81. First Saturn assembled
on launch pedestal
On September 7 NASA selected the Government owned Michoud
Ordnance Plant near New Orleans as the site for industrial production of
the S-I stage. The plant would be operated by industry under the technical
direction of MSFC. MSFC continued preparations for a conference to secure
estimates from industry on production of the S-I stage.32
32. MSFC SSO, Saturn QPR, July-Sept. 61, p. 49.
On September 11 NASA selected North American Aviation to
develop and build the S-II stage for an advanced Saturn launch vehicle.
The stage will be used in both manned and unmanned missions.
Army Engineers awarded a contract on September 13 for
the construction of Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral. The complex would
include a mobile steel tower, a blockhouse, and a cable tower on a 120-acre
site at the north end of the Cape.
||82. Saturn launch complex
83. Artist's concept of
launch pedestal for Launch
||84. Michoud plant at New
85. Saturn SA-1 flight
vehicle on launch pedestal
By September 15, 1961, the SA-1 vehicle was completely
assembled on the launch pedestal at Launch Complex 34. The service structure
was moved back, leaving the Saturn standing as it would at launch.
On September 26 a preproposal conference was held at New
Orleans to secure bids for industrial production of the S-I stage. Four
days later, on September 30, a ground-breaking ceremony was held to begin
construction of the Marshall Center's Central Laboratory and Office Building.
Testing continued in September and October at the Marshall
liquid hydrogen test facility, where problems in the handling and use of
liquid hydrogen are studied. The SA-2 flight booster was installed in the
MSFC static test tower early in October. On October 10 a successful eight-engine,
33-second test (SA-04) was performed to check reliability and performance
of booster and gimbal systems. Test SA-05 was successfully conducted on
October 24 for a duration of 112 seconds. Test objectives included evaluation
of the flight cutoff sequence.33
33. MSFC Test Division, "Test Division's Historical Report:
July 1, 1961-December 31, 1961," p. 1, in Volume Two of this report (Supporting
Documents). Hereafter cited as MSFC Test Div., "Test Division Hist.
Report, July 1-Dec. 31, 1961.
Late in October NASA selected a 13,550-acre site in Mississippi
on which to build a facility for static testing advanced Saturn and Nova
first stages. This location of the Mississippi Test Facility is only 35
miles from the Michoud Plant where industry would manufacture the S-I and
34. NASA News Release 61-236, Oct. 25, 1961.
The first launch of the Saturn vehicle took place on October
27, 1961. The vehicle, 162 feet high and weighing 460 tons at liftoff,
rose to a height of 85 miles during its journey. The inboard engines shut
down after 109 seconds of burning; the outboard engines cut off six seconds
later. The booster stage produced the 1,300,000 pounds of thrust intended
for the first four flight tests. (On subsequent tests, the thrust would
be increased to 1,500,000 pounds.) At a speed of approximately 3,600 miles
per hour the Saturn followed a precalculated flight path to land within
13 miles of predicted impact, over 214 miles from Cape Canaveral. The launch
was considered almost flawless.35
35. NASA News Release 61-242, Oct. 31, 1961.
On November 6, 1961, MSFC directed North American to redesign
the S-II stage to incorporate five J-2 engines, providing a total of 1,000,000
pounds stage thrust.36
36. Propulsion Project Office, P&VE Division, MSFC,
to Chief, Engine Mgmt. Off., P&VE Div., MSFC, memo, subj: "Weekly Report
of Significant Events," Nov. 11, 1961.
Work at the new large-booster static test stand at MSFC was
interrupted in November for redesign of the stand to accept thrust levels
of more than 7.5 million pounds.
On November 10, 1961, NASA received proposals from five
firms for the development and production of the advanced Saturn booster.
NASA announced selection of Chrysler Corporation on November
17 to negotiate a contract to build, checkout, and test 20 S-I boosters.
These boosters would be manufactured at the Michoud plant. The contract
was signed in mid-January 1962.37
37. Interview with Joe M. Jones, PIO, MSFC, Feb. 8, 1962.
|86. Launch of Saturn SA-1
87. S-II stage cutaway
|On November 19 the nation's first liquid
hydrogen engine, the RL10, successfully completed its preliminary flight
rating test. Producing 15,000 pounds thrust, the engine, designed and developed
by Pratt & Whitney, performed about 30 percent better than engines
using hydrocarbon fuels. Six such engines would power the Saturn S-IV stage.
NASA, on November 29, 1961, awarded North American Aviation
a contract for the design and construction of its payload, a three-man
Marshall Space Flight Center and Manned Spacecraft Center
planned to use the C-1 research and development vehicles for vehicle-payload
compatibility tests and early systems tests of the spacecraft. The spacecraft
was designated Apollo, also the name of the Saturn vehicle missions project.
The Apollo project would be divided into three basic missions:
earth orbital flights, circumlunar flights, and manned landings on the
moon. The two-stage Saturn C-1 was to support earth-orbital flights of
prototype Apollo command modules during the 1964-1965 period. The advanced
Saturn C-5 would support reentry and circumlunar Apollo flights.
Meanwhile, the SA-T3 test stage was installed in the test
stand. On November 30, 1961, MSFC conducted a test to investigate flight
cutoff sequencing, perform an "engine out" test, and study fuel and LOX
tank levels. The test was prematurely cut off at 95 seconds by the automatic
fire detection system. No hardware damage occurred. This was the first
of a series of tests to verify SA-3 design improvements.38
38. MSFC Test Div., "Test Division's Hist. Report, July
1-Dec. 31, 1961." in Volume Two of this report (Supporting Documents),
The last of the Saturn 70-inch tanks to be manufactured by
MSFC was completed the week of December 4. Future 70-inch tanks would be
built by Chance-Vought in Dallas, Texas, and shipped initially to MSFC
and later to Michoud for the Chrysler assembled stages.
On December 5, 1961, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)-NASA
Space Nuclear Propulsion Office selected the Aetron Division of Aerojet-General
Corporation's proposal as the basis for a Nerva engine test stand contract.
The Nerva would be used in nuclear stages with a reactor derived from the
Kiwi-B test series. Two days later a preproposal conference was held at
Huntsville, Alabama, to select a prime contractor for the reactor-in-flight
test (RIFT) stage launch vehicle. The RIFT vehicle, planned for use as
an upper stage of a Saturn vehicle, would be powered by the Nerva nuclear
39. Col. W. Scott Fellows, Chief, Nuclear Vehicle Proj.
Off., MSFC, "The RIFT Program" (Draft), Jan. 25, 1962, p. 1.
Marshall awarded a design contract on December 6 for modification
to the west side of the Center's existing static test tower. The tower,
scheduled for completion by the summer of 1963, would be used for acceptance
testing of Chrysler S-I stages.
At the Douglas Sacramento Test Facility (SACTO), prototype
S-IV stage tankage was installed and propellant loading tests begun on
December 11, 1961.
|Marshall completed modifications to the Saturn
barge Compromise on December 14, 1961. The barge, renamed Promise,
was readied for movement to Wheeler Dam where it would receive stages of
the SA-2 flight vehicle. On the same day another F-1 engine test was performed
at the Rocketdyne test facility. The engine reached its rated 1.5 million
pounds thrust in a short mainstage firing.
88. S-IV tankage at SACTO
89. Barge Promise
90. F-1 engine and test
NASA selected the Boeing Company on December 15 as a
possible prime contractor for the first stage (S-IC) of the advanced Saturn
vehicle.40 The S-IC, powered by five F-1 engines, would be 33
feet in diameter and about 140 feet high. The manufacturing program at
Michoud was to produce 24 flight stages and one ground test stage.41
In December MSFC awarded a contract to the Mason-Rust Company to perform
housekeeping and other administrative services at the New Orleans Michoud
40. MSFC Press Release, Dec. 15, 1961.
41. MSFC Press Release, Dec. 15, 1961.
NASA selected Douglas Aircraft on December 21, 1961, to negotiate
a contract to modify the Saturn S-IV stage by installing a single J-2 Rocketdyne
engine of 200,000 pounds thrust. The modified stage, identified as the
S-IVB, would be used as a third stage of the advanced Saturn C-5 configuration.42
42. NASA News Release 62-4, Jan. 10, 1962.
On December 28, the Mississippi Test Facility was officially
named Mississippi Test Operations by Dr. Robert C. Seamans of NASA Headquarters.
91. S-IC stage
92. S-IVB stage cutaway