Saturn Illustrated Chronology - Part 4

January 1963 through December 1963



During early January 1963 construction began at the Huntington Beach Assembly Facility where Douglas Aircraft Company will assemble S-IVB stages.

In January MSFC began dynamics test of the SA-5D vehicle configuration.85 The Center finished expansion of its static test tower for Saturn C-1 Block II first stages.

    85. MSFC Test Div., Test Division MPR, Dec. 12, 1962-Jan. 12, 1963, p. 2.
Douglas completed checkout of the S-IV dynamic/facilities vehicle at Santa Monica and, during January, sent this vehicle to Cape Canaveral for use in checkout of Launch Complex 37B facilities.86
    86. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Jan. 17-Feb. 15, 1963, p. 7.
SA-D5 booster120
S-IV facilities stage121
120. SA-D5 booster
121. S-IV Dynamic/Facilities
stage at Cape Canaveral
122. SA-4 on Launch
Complex 34


MSFC shipped by barge the complete SA-4 vehicle from Huntsville to Cape Canaveral. The complete vehicle was erected on Launch Complex 34 by February 5.87
    87. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Jan. 17-Feb. 15, 1963, p. 3.
On January 26 at SACTO, Douglas static fired the RL10-A-3 powered S-IV battleship vehicle. Test duration was 468 seconds.88 On February 1 Douglas shipped the S-IV all-systems vehicle from Santa Monica to SACTO for testing.89 At Launch Complex 37B the launch control center, automatic ground control station, and umbilical tower were completed on January 30.
    88. MSFC Test Div., Test Division MPR, Jan. 12-Feb. 12, 1963, p. 3; MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Jan. 17-Feb. 15, 1963, p. 6.
    89. MSFC Test Div., Test Division MPR, Feb. 12-Mar. 12, 1963, p. 6.


During the first week of February NASA Headquarters announced a change in Saturn vehicle nomenclature. Saturn C-1 became Saturn I, Saturn C-IB became Saturn IB, and Saturn C-5 became Saturn V.90
    90. MSFC Press Release, Feb. 8, 1963.
SA-4 on pad 34122
Saturn vehicles123 123. Saturn Vehicles

Saturn V hardware development was underway. In early February Boeing began S-IC bulkhead gore-forming operations at Wichita, Kansas.91
    91. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Jan. 17-Feb. 15, 1963, p. 10.
S-IC bulkhead manufacture124 124. S-IC bulkhead gore
125. F-1 test stand
126. S-II Seal Beach facility

On February 4 MSFC decided to modify the west side of the MSFC static test tower for F-1 engine testing. The modification would allow single F-1 engine tests to begin several months earlier than scheduled. The stand would later be reconverted for S-I static testing. On February 8 MSFC awarded a contract for construction of a single F-1 engine test stand superstructure at MSFC.

Early in February S&ID began occupancy of the Seal Beach Assembly and Test Facility where Saturn V second stages would be assembled and tested. Also in February S&ID successfully completed S-IC/S-II stage dual plane separation impingement tests.92

    92. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Jan. 17-Feb. 15, 1963, p. 10.
The first live Saturn I second stage would be powered by liquid hydrogen, still not flight proven. The S-IV battleship stage permitted tests of this new technology. On February 18 and 19 S-IV battleship turbine spinup tests were unsuccessful due to inadequate purge procedures; however, on February 23 a successful spinup test was accomplished. Two days later the second battleship firing testing RL10-A-3 engines was terminated after 6.5 seconds when a hydrogen leak caused a fire at engine No. 4. No damage resulted.93
    93. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Jan. 17-Feb. 15, 1963, p. 6; Feb. 16-Mar. 18, 1963, p. 6; MSFC Test Div., Test Division MPR, Feb. 12-Mar. 12 1963, p. 3.
On February 29 NASA began contract negotiations for design, fabrication, erection, and testing of the crawler-transporter which would transport the Saturn V vehicle to the launch pad of Launch Complex 39. The contract was signed on March 29, 1963.
F-1 test stand125

S-II Seal Beach facility126

Crawler transporter127 127. Crawler transporter

NASA Headquarters on February 20 approved the plan for modification of the basic Chrysler contract. The plan provides for redesign of the S-I stages.94
    94. John Chambers, Saturn I/IB Stage Manager, MSFC Saturn Systems (Sat.) Office, interviewed on Sept. 19, 1963; and MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Feb. 16-Mar. 18, 1963, p. 8. 
For Saturn V, NASA Headquarters approved the Boeing S-IC definitive contract on February 21. Boeing will design, develop, and manufacture one ground test stage and nine flight stages at the Michoud Plant in New Orleans.95 On February 27 the Corps of Engineers awarded a design contract for the Saturn V test facilities at the Mississippi Test Operations.
    95. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Feb. 16-Mar. 18, 1963, p. 9.
MSFC awarded a contract in February for construction of three micrometeoroid satellites, two for flight and one for backup.96 The satellites, secondary payloads for Saturn I vehicles SA-8 and SA-9, would be used to obtain data on frequency and penetration of micrometeoroids in low earth orbits and to relay the information back to earth. On February 27 the first S-I-5 flight qualification static test (SA-11) was successfully conducted at MSFC for a planned duration of 32 seconds.
    96. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Feb. 16-Mar. 18, 1963, p. 3.
Pegasus satellite128 128. Micrometeoroid satellite
129. Static firing of S-I-5

S-I-5 static firing129

On February 19 at the Michoud Plant, Boeing completed the first Y-ring for the S-IC test fuel tank; on March 4 the Y-ring was delivered to MSFC where the fuel tank would be assembled.97 Also at Michoud during February a contract was awarded for design and construction of the engineering building.
    97. MSFC P&VE Division, Engine Management Office Monthly Progress Report, February 16-March 15, 1963, p. 1. Hereafter cited as MSFC P&VE Division, Engine Management Office MPR, Feb 16-Mar. 15, 1963, p. 1.
Completed Y-ring130 130. Completed Y-ring at
131. Explosive forming dies

During February, construction of test stand 2B at SACTO was completed and the propellant pneumatic systems were installed and checked out.


On March 1 Rocketdyne successfully gimballed an F-1 engine during a hot firing test in California.98 On the same day qualification of explosive forming dies for S-II gore segments began at North American's El Toro Facility.
    98. MSFC P&VE Division, Engine Management Office MPR, Feb 16-Mar. 15, 1963, p. 1.
Explosive forming dies131
S&ID awarded a construction contract for the electro-mechanical mockup at Downey, California, on March 1; the mockup will be used for design and engineering verification of various S-II systems. On March 8 MSFC awarded a one-year contract to industry for operation of the Slidell Computer Facility at Slidell, Louisiana.

Dynamic testing of the SA-5D vehicle was completed on March 7.99 On March 13 a second flight qualification static firing of S-I-5 was conducted for a planned period of 143 seconds. Subsequent analysis revealed propulsion system irregularities, and a third static firing was conducted on March 27 to confirm corrections. This test, successfully conducted for a duration of 144 seconds, concluded S-I-5 flight qualification testing.100

    99. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Feb. 16-Mar. 18, 1963.
    100. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Feb. 16-Mar. 18, 1963, p. 4; Mar. 19-Apr. 15, 1963, p. 3.
NASA Headquarters approved MSFC procurement plan for four additional S-IVB stages on March 22.101 On the same day, at MSFC, checkout of the SA-5 instrument unit was begun.
    101. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Feb. 16-Mar. 18, 1963, p. 8; Mar. 19-Apr. 15, 1963, p. 8.
Saturn SA-4, the fourth and last of the single-powered-stage, Block I vehicles, was successfully launched on March 28 from Launch Complex 34. The vehicle, carrying several Block II components for test, reached an altitude of 80 statute miles. Range was 218 statute miles and peak velocity 3,660 miles per hour. As a secondary mission the No. 5 inboard engine was cut off at 100 seconds to test the vehicle engine-out capability. Overall performance of the flight was very satisfactory.102
    102. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Mar. 19-Apr. 15, 1963, pp. 2-3.


As the Saturn I project entered its final phase, work on the larger Saturns proceeded. On March 12 Douglas, S-IVB stage contractor, invited bids for a construction contract for the Beta Complex at SACTO; the contract was awarded in late March.103 Also in March S&ID placed a contract for the S-II battleship tank structure; fabrication of components began early in April. The first S-IC cylindrical skin segment was completed by Boeing at Wichita during April.
    103. MSFC Test Div., Test Division MPR, Mar. 12-Apr. 12, 1963, p. 6.
The S-I-5D stage was removed from the dynamic test tower at MSFC on March 18. The booster was shipped to Cape Canaveral on April 5 for use in facilities checkout of Launch Complex 37B. The stage arrived at the Cape on April 15 and was erected three days later. On April 19 the S-IV dynamics/facilities vehicle was erected. Calibration and mechanical checks were begun the week of April 24, followed by propellant loading tests early in May.
SA-5 instrument unit132

SA-4 launch133

Launch complex 37B facilities checkout134 132. SA-5 Instrument unit
133. SA-4 launch
134. Facility checkout of
Launch Complex 37B


During early April Douglas finished checkout of S-IV-5 at Santa Monica. On April 19 the stage arrived at SACTO and was installed on test stand 2B on May 22. Static testing followed modifications and engineering changes.104
    104. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Apr. 16-May. 17, 1963, p. 2; May 18-June 17, 1963, p. 3.
S-IV-5 checkout135

135. Checkout of S-IV-5

On April 22 MSFC installed S-I-6 in its static test tower. The first short-duration static firing was successfully conducted on May 15 for a duration of 33.75 seconds.105
    105. MSFC Test Div., Test Division MPR, May 12-June 12, 1963, p. 2.
Douglas initiated S-IV all-systems propellant loading tests at SACTO on April 1. Tank bending and insulation cracking halted testing for field repair of the tank. On May 14 another test was performed and a hydrogen leak was detected in the common bulkhead. The vehicle was removed from test stand 2B for inspection repair on May 18.106
    106. MSFC Test Div., Test Division MPR, May 12-June 12, 1963, pp. 5-7; MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Mar. 19-Apr. 15, 1963, p. 6; MSFC P&VE Div., MPR for May 12-June 11, 1963, pp. 63-64; MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Apr. 16-May. 17, 1963, p. 5.


At SACTO Douglas completed the S-IV battleship test program with a final LOX depletion firing of 444 seconds on May 4. Sixteen tests totaling 4,302.5 seconds were accomplished using the RL10-A-3 engines. The complete battleship test program (including both A-1 and A-3 engines) had a total firing time of 5,440.1 seconds. On May 13 a one-engine gimbal test was conducted. On May 21 the battleship tank was shipped from SACTO to MSFC. It was used by the Center for a liquid hydrogen slosh test. Five of the six engines were shipped to MSFC and used on the dynamic vehicle for gimballing tests.107
    107. MSFC Test Div., Test Division MPR, Apr. 12-May 12, 1963, pp. 4-5; May 12-June 12, 1963, p. 5.
During May the S-IVB Huntington Beach fabrication and assembly building was completed and construction of the assembly tower begun. Also during May MSFC received the S-IVB forward area mockup from Douglas to be used to determine interface requirements between the S-IVB and instrument unit.
S-IV battleship test136

136. Completion of S-IV
battleship test program

Huntington Beach137 137. Douglas Huntington
Beach Facility
138. S-IVB forward mockup

S-IVB forward mockup138

On May 18 at Michoud Chrysler finished clustering of propellant containers for S-I-8, the first booster fabricated by industry rather than by federal personnel at MSFC.108
    108. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Mar. 19-Apr. 15, 1963, p. 4; Apr. 16-May 17, 1963, p. 4.
Barrel assemblyaLower thrust ringb
Spider beameLOX tanksh

LOX and fuel tanksfClustering fuel tanksi

Center LOX tankgFinal assemblyj

Tail unitcThrust structured

139. Fabrication and assembly
of S-I-8 at Michoud;
a. barrel assembly,
b. lower thrust ring,
c. tail unit,
d. thrust structure,
e. spider beam,
f. LOX and fuel tanks ready for
g. installation of center LOX tank,
h. clustering 70-inch LOX tanks,
i. clustering 70-inch fuel tanks,
j. final assembly

During early May the J-2 engine, used on S-IVB and S-II stages, was successfully fired for the first time at a simulated space altitude in excess of 60,000 feet. The engine developed 200,000 pounds thrust; after 20 seconds the test was terminated as programmed.109
    109. MSFC P&VE Div., Engine Management Office MPR, June 16-July 15, 1963, pp. 15-16.
On May 13 NASA negotiated a firm cost proposal for incorporation of dual plane separation for S-IC/S-II stages with S&ID.110 During mid-May land clearing at Mississippi Test Operations began in preparation for the dredging of a barge harbor and access channel; a 10.5-mile track of railroad was completed into the site.
    110. NASA, NASA Administrator's Progress Report, June 1963, p. E-12.2, and July 1963, p. E-12.2.
Dynamic testing of the S-IV stage, instrument unit, and Jupiter-type payload was completed at MSFC during mid-May. On May 23 the Apollo boilerplate and associated units were installed and testing resumed; this phase of testing was completed on June 16. Also during May MSFC engineers completed the design of the S-IC stage transporter.

On May 28 MSFC awarded a contract for Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) certification flights of a modified B-377 aircraft. The aircraft would be used for transportation of the S-IV stage and other cargoes. Formal FAA certification was received on July 10.111

    111. Wilbur S. Davis, Chief, Procurement and Contracts Office, MSFC, to Harry H. Gorman, Deputy Director for Administration, MSFC, memo, subj: "Report of Activities for Week Ending May 31, 1963," May 31, 1963; MSFC Test Div., Test Division MPR, June 12-July 12, 1963, p. 22.
Pregnant Guppy140 140. Pregnant Guppy aircraft
141. Saturn V Dynamic tower
142. S-IC facility


During the first of June MSFC personnel began occupancy of the new Central Laboratory and Office Building. Also at MSFC construction of the Saturn V dynamic test tower foundation began in early June. A full-duration, S-I-6 flight qualification static test was successfully conducted on June 6 for 142.37 seconds. The inboard engines were cut off by LOX low-level sensors at 136 seconds and the outboard engines six seconds later. On June 17 the stage was removed from the stand for post-static checkout.112
    112. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, May 18-June 17, 1963, p. 3.
On June 5 limited beneficial occupancy was granted on the S-IC stage Vertical Assembly and Hydrostatic Test Facility at MSFC.113 Clustering of tanks for S-I-9, the last Saturn I booster to be fabricated at MSFC, began on June 4 and was completed on June 19; inboard engine installation was completed on July 17.114
    113. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, May 18-June 17, 1963, p. 7.
    114. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, May 18-June 17, 1963, p. 3; June 18-July 17, 1963, p. 4.
Saturn V dynamic test tower construction141

S-IC facility142

S-I-9 assembly143 143. Assembly of S-I-9 stage
144. Dredging at Mississippi
Test Facility

On June 17 the Corps of Engineers awarded contracts for excavation for lock and bascule bridge, emergency service building, dredging of East Pearl River and clearing of Saturn V complex at the Mississippi Test Operations. At MSFC gimballing tests on engine No. 1 of the S-IV stage were completed in pitch and yaw directions on June 28. Three days later dynamic tests of the S-IV stage with Apollo boilerplate and launch escape system were completed.

Pre-static checkout of the S-IV-5 stage at SACTO began on June 18.115 During late June repair of the all-systems common bulkhead was completed. On July 6 the vehicle was installed on test stand 1 at SACTO. At Santa Monica, Douglas completed checkout of the S-IV-6 stage on July 19.116

    115. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, June 18-July 17, 1963, p. 3.
    116. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, July 18-Aug. 14, 1963, p. 3.
During June MSFC welded the upper bulkhead for the S-IC test fuel tank to the Y-ring. Also during June facility checkout of Launch Complex 37 Pad B was completed at Cape Canaveral. The S-IV dynamics/facilities vehicle was flown to the West Coast for flight performance test of the Pregnant Guppy aircraft.
Engineering works at MTF144
Mating bulkhead to Y-ring145 145. Mating bulkhead to Y-ring


The S-I-5D stage departed Cape Canaveral on July 1 aboard the barge Palaemon, arriving at MSFC on July 14; the stage was used for additional dynamic testing. On July 9 MSFC directed Chrysler to proceed with fin redesign as part of the S-IB stage redesign effort.117
    117. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, June 18-July 17, 1963, p. 7.
S-IB stage146 146. S-IB stage
147. S-IC static test tower

On July 25 the Corps of Engineers awarded a contract for construction of S-IC and S-II stage test stand foundations at Mississippi Test Operations. At MSFC during late July the concrete towers for the S-IC static test stand were completed and steel erection begun. The Center successfully welded the S-IC upper cylindrical skin section to the Y-ring.

During July construction of foundations was completed for test stand 1 and 3 at SACTO Beta Complex. Also at SACTO, Douglas initiated hydrostatic test and calibration of the S-IVB battleship tank on August 2.


On August 5 NASA completed S-IB contract negotiations with Chrysler Corporation at Michoud.118 The following day S-IVB/Saturn IB contract negotiations were completed with Douglas Aircraft Corporation at Santa Monica.
    118. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, July 18-Aug. 14, 1963, p. 5.
On August 6 the Corps of Engineers awarded a construction contract for the Mississippi Test Operations Laboratory and Engineering Building. During August hydraulic dredging and fill operations were completed for the Vertical Assembly Building at Cape Canaveral. MSFC awarded a contract on August 6 for assembly of two S-IC transporters; assembly began two days later.
S-IC test tower147
Construction at Launch Complex 39148 148. Construction at Launch
Complex 39
149. S-IC stage aft area
150. S-IV-5 acceptance

On August 11 MSFC started the S-I-5, S-IU-5, and payload toward Cape Canaveral.119 MSFC installed from the barge Promise a complete dynamics test vehicle of the SA-6 configuration in the dynamic test tower.120
    119. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, July 18-Aug. 14, 1963, pp. 2-3.
    120. MSFC Test Lab., Test MPR, July 12-Aug. 12, 1963, p. 2.
Also at MSFC during early August the S-IC aft area mockup was completed, with two F-1 engine mockups attached.121
    121. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, July 18-Aug. 14, 1963, p. 8.
Mockup of S-IC aft area149
On August 5 the first attempt to acceptance fire the S-IV-5 stage at SACTO was aborted at 63.6 seconds due to an indication of fire in the engine area; however, inspection revealed an instrumentation malfunction in ground support equipment. On August 12 a successful 477-second, full-duration S-IV-5 flight qualification firing was conducted.122 During August the S-I-5 stage, booster for the fifth Saturn flight vehicle, was erected at Cape Canaveral.
    122. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, July 18-Aug. 14, 1963, pp. 2-3.


On September 1 Dr. Wernher von Braun, MSFC Director, announced a major reorganization of the Center. Progress in the Saturn program, and a rise in industrial participation to approximately 90 percent of the budget, necessitated the changes. The Center created two major subdivisions - Research and Development Operations and Industrial Operations. Research and Development Operations, composed of the nine technical divisions redesignated as laboratories, was strengthened for its Huntsville-based operations and for specialized contractor assistance. Industrial Operations was created to direct the portion of the Center's work performed by prime contractors, mainly the development of stages and engines for the Saturn I, Saturn IB, and Saturn V multi-stage rockets.123
    123. Dr. Wernher von Braun, Director, MSFC, to Distribution "B," memo, subj: "Reorganization Study - Announcement No. 2," Aug. 12, 1963; Dr. Wernher von Braun, Director, MSFC to all MSFC employees, memo, subj: "Reorganization Study - Announcement No. 3," Aug. 30, 1963.
S-IV-5 acceptance firing150
MSFC reorganization151 151. MSFC reorganization
152. Loading of S-IV stage

In mid-September Douglas flew the S-IV-5 from SACTO to the Cape via the Pregnant Guppy aircraft.124 Other Saturn I progress in September included MSFC's final assembly of the S-I-9 and Douglas' beginning of pre-static checkout of the S-IV-6 stage.
    124. MSFC Test Lab., Test MPR, Sept. 12-Oct. 12, 1963, p. 23.
The Saturn IB second stage contract modification was signed by Douglas and submitted to NASA on September 10. In the same month a joint MSFC/Manned Spacecraft Center ad hoc safety meeting considered Saturn IB crew safety and developed a "Preliminary Emergency Detection System" specification. Douglas began installing insulation on the S-IVB battleship stage, a heavier version for ground tests of the S-IVB flight stage.125
    125. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Aug. 15-Sept. 18, 1963, p. 7.
Loading S-IV into Pregnant Guppy152
S-IC-T intertank153 Sound suppressor test firing154

153. Intertank for S-IC-T
154. Experimental firing in
sound suppressor development

During September MSFC completed Saturn V's S-IC forward area mockup and completed the S-IC-T (all-systems) intertank assembly.126 Numerous research activities were under way: MSFC's Test Laboratory studied sound suppression problems, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Lewis Research Center began S-IC base heating tests. The contractor for the Saturn V second stage, S&ID of North American Aviation, began PERT reporting at Seal Beach on the S-II program with eleven networks reflecting about 8,500 activities. On September 23 S&ID sent MSFC the S-II and forward interface mating mockups for use in mating tests of the S-IC forward skirt.127
    126. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Aug. 15-Sept. 18, 1963, p. 9; Sept. 19-Oct. 20, 1963, p. 8.
    127. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Dec. 16, 1963-Jan. 16, 1964, p. 9; Sept. 19-Oct. 20, 1963, p. 11.
155. S-II stage activities;
a. S-II aft interstage mockup,
b. S-II forward interstage mockup,
c. S-II bulkhead fabrication building
at Seal Beach,
d. S-II structural test tower at
Seal Beach,
e. bulkhead fabrication area
at Seal Beach,
f. gore forming facility at El Toro,
g. S-II skate bulkhead welders at
Seal Beach,
h. explosive forming die at El Toro
S-II aft interstage mockupa S-II forward interstage mockupb S-II bulkhead fabrication buildingc
S-II bulkhead fabricatione Gore forming facilityf S-II bulkhead weldersg
S-II structural test tower155d
Explosive forming die155h


In October technicians at Launch Complex 37B joined the S-IV-5 stage, payload, and instrument unit to the S-I stage. Pre-launch checkout of the SA-5 vehicle continued.128 In Huntsville MSFC completed the SA-5 flight operational sequence plan, providing for nine-hour completion of launch day tasks.
    128. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Sept. 19-Oct. 20, 1963, p. 2.
SA-5 instrument unita S-IV-5 stageb Stacking of SA-5 instrument unitc
SA-5 payload adapterd SA-5 payloade Stacking of SA-5 payloadf
SA-5 on pad 37B156g
Progress on the other Saturn I vehicles continued during October. Chrysler completed assembly of the S-I-8 stage at Michoud.129 MSFC personnel discovered and corrected minor problems in the instrument unit network of the SA-6 vehicle.130 The Center's Test Laboratory static tested the SA-7 booster for the first time, and on October 22 performed the second and final acceptance test on S-I-7 for a duration of 138.93 seconds.131 The Douglas second stage work at SACTO included initiation of pre-static checkout of the S-IV-6 and start of assembly of the S-IV-10.
    129. MSFC Michoud Ops., Hist. Report, July 1-Dec. 31, 1963, pp. 1, 13 and 22.
    130. MSFC Quality Lab., Hist. Data, July 1-Dec. 31, 1963.
    131. MSFC Test Lab., Acceptance Firing of Saturn Flight Stage S-I-7, Jan. 22, 1964, pp. 1 and 7-11.
NASA approved a Chrysler contract modification in October that provided for 12 Saturn IB boosters in lieu of operational Saturn I boosters. At Michoud, Chrysler continued design studies on components for these S-IB stages. MSFC approved the design release for the S-IB spider beam and completed the 50 percent design review of the gaseous oxygen line and diffuser. Douglas continued work on hydrostatic and dynamic test equipment for Saturn IB's second stage and began assembly of its S-IVB battleship stage at SACTO. Douglas began fabricating an S-IVB liquid hydrogen test tank in Huntsville for use in J-2 engine tests.

Boeing personnel at Michoud completed the Saturn V booster lower thrust ring assembly in October.132 MSFC personnel continued fabrication of the fuel tank and other major components for the S-IC test stage. S&ID continued fabrication and assembly of ground test S-II stages and construction of test stands. On October 31 MSFC received from Rocketdyne Division of North American Aviation the first production model of the huge F-1 engine.133

    132. MSFC Test Lab., Test MPR, Oct. 16-Nov. 15, 1963, p. 6.
    133. NASA, NASA Administrator's Progress Report, September 1963, p. E-20.2; MSFC Engine Project Office, Engine Monthly Progress Report, Oct. 16-Nov. 15, 1963, p. 6. Hereafter cited as MSFC Engine Project Office, Engine MPR, Oct. 16-Nov. 15, 1963
156. Erection of SA-5 at
Cape Canaveral,
a. instrument unit,
b. S-IV-5 stage,
c. hoisting instrument unit,
d. payload adapter,
e. payload,
f. hoisting payload,
g. SA-5 at Launch Complex 37B
157S-IVB hydrogen test tankManufacture of S-IC lower thrust ring158 157. S-IVB liquid hydrogen
test tank, MSFC
158. Michoud mechanic drilling
holes in the first S-IC
lower thrust ring

NASA announced on October 30 a rephasing of Saturn manned flight missions. Saturn I manned missions were dropped and six Saturn I vehicles thereby deleted. The Saturn I program will terminate with completion of the ten unmanned flight vehicle research and development program. NASA approved speed-up of Saturn IB development. The more powerful Saturn IB vehicle will launch the Project Apollo manned flights in preparation for Saturn V's manned moon mission. "All-up" testing will be utilized in future Saturn flights. That is, there will be no further flights with dummy stages; development flights will test Saturn vehicles in final configuration.134
    134. NASA, NASA Administrator's Progress Report, October 1963, p. B-6.3; MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Oct. 21-Nov. 15, 1963, p. 2.
159aTest stand flame deflectorAll-systems test stand159b Battleship test stand159c

159. S-II test stand
construction at Santa Susana;
a, flame deflector in battleship
test stand,
b, all-systems test stand
c, battleship test stand


In November NASA postponed the fifth Saturn I flight because of technical problems with the SA-5 vehicle.135 At SACTO Douglas placed the SA-6 vehicle's second stage in a test stand. On November 22 Douglas conducted a successful 460-second acceptance firing of this S-IV-6 stage.136 During November Douglas finished assembly of another Saturn I second stage, the S-IV-7. The first Chrysler-built booster, S-I-8, was in final checkout.
    135. MSFC P&VE Lab., Monthly Progress Report for Period December 12, 1963 through January 11, 1964, p. 35. Hereafter cited as MSFC P&VE Lab., MPR for Dec. 12-Jan. 11, 1964.
    136. MSFC Test Lab., Test MPR, Nov. 12-Dec. 12, 1963, pp. 31-32.
MSFC and Chrysler completed their study of the use of uprated H-1 engines in Saturn IB's booster stage. On November 8, after Chrysler determined engine load criteria and Saturn IB schedule impact, MSFC directed Rocketdyne to develop the more powerful engines.137 Douglas occupied its joint Engineering Development Systems Integration Laboratory/Systems Integrations Area Facility on November 1. Second stages for Saturn IB (S-IVB) will be assembled and tested in this Huntington Beach facility. At Michoud during the month Chrysler completed a mockup of the S-IB spider beam and began manufacturing the second stage adapter.138
    137. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Nov. 16-Dec. 12, 1963, pp. 5-6; MSFC Engine Project Office, H-1 Engine Project Development Plan, Dec. 1, 1963, pp. 33-38.
    138. MSFC P&VE Lab., MPR for Nov. 12-Dec. 11, 1963, p. 61.
S-IV-6 being readied for test160

Saturn IB spider beam mockup161

160. Second stage for SA-6
flight being placed in SACTO
stand for acceptance testing
161. Spider beam mockup
for Saturn IB's first, S-IB, stage

NASA contracted on November 12 for a Saturn V launch pad at Kennedy Space Center Complex 39.139 The pad will cost over $19 million. MSFC continued manufacture of Saturn V booster test stage components in November. The Center began S-IC stage test fuel tank assembly in its new Vertical Assembly Building. Additions to the Saturn V booster contract increased Boeing support to MSFC and raised the total value of the S-IC contract to more than $447 million. On November 8 MSFC contracted for a $13.4 million test complex at Mississippi Test Operations for the Saturn V second stage (S-II). At Seal Beach, S&ID continued assembly of the S-II battleship stage for static tests.
    139. NASA Launch Operations Center, Launch Operations Center Progress Report, Nov. 19, 1963, p. 12.
Welding S-IC bulkhead162b S-IC test fuel tank assembly162a

162. Saturn V booster test
stage components;
a. assembly of S-IC test fuel tank,
b. welding S-IC bulkhead

An important engine development milestone occurred on November 27 with Rocketdyne's first extended-duration firing test of the J-2 engine. This successful test of the 200,000-pound thrust, liquid hydrogen-fueled engine lasted for more than 8 minutes. The J-2 will power upper stages of both the Saturn IB and Saturn V vehicles.140
    140. U.S. Congress, House, Comm. on Science and Astronautics, Authorizing Appropriations to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 88th Congress, 2nd Sess., Rpt. No. 1240, Washington, GPO, 1964, p. 15.
On November 28 the name of the NASA facility at Cape Canaveral was changed officially to John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC).


MSFC in December postponed the SA-5 flight until January 1964 after discovering cracks in fuel line fittings on the S-I-5 stage. MSFC decided to replace critical tubing on it and all remaining S-I stages. On December 13 MSFC accepted from Chrysler at Michoud the first industry-built Saturn I booster (S-I-8).

By the end of December Chrysler had completed and MSFC had approved most of the structural redesign of Saturn IB's first stage.141 During the month NASA awarded the basic S-IVB contract modification which also accelerated the program for this Saturn IB second stage.142 Also, Douglas completed fabrication of major components for the S-IVB hydrostatic test stage.143

    141. Chrysler Corporation Space Division (CCSD), Sixth Quarterly Review, Saturn S-I/IB Stage - Saturn I/IB Vehicle Program, Dec. 5, 1963, p. J.M.L.-2.
    142. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Nov. 16-Dec. 15, 1963, p. 6.
    143. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Dec. 16, 1963-Jan. 16, 1964, p. 6.
Saturn V progress during the month included MSFC's first F-1 engine tests on December 3 and 5. Duration of the first firing test was 1.25 seconds. The second firing lasted 10 seconds.144 On December 20 NASA updated the Boeing S-IC contract to amend the stage delivery schedule.145 The contract as changed meant that MSFC rather than Boeing would provide the second S-IC flight booster. On December 27 NASA amended the prime S-II stage contract with S&ID in order to make the first S-II flight stage "live" instead of dummy.146 During December NASA signed an agreement with the Military Sea Transport Service (MSTS); by the agreement the USNS Point Barrow would be used for shipment of S-II stages from the West Coast manufacturing site to test and launch sites.147
    144. MSFC Test Lab., Test MPR, Nov. 12-Dec. 12, 1963, p. 8.
    145. MSFC Michoud Op., Hist. Report, July 1-Dec. 31, 1963, pp. 16-17.
    146. NASA, NASA Administrator's Progress Report, December 1963, p. B-12.2.
    147. MSFC Test Lab., Test MPR, Dec. 12, 1963-Jan. 12, 1964, p. 29.
S-II battleship assembly163

J-2 extended firing test164

163. Assembly of S-II battleship
164. First J-2 extended-
duration firing test

F-1 firing test165 165. MSFC F-1 engine firing

[Previous Page][Next Page][Table of Contents]