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
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,
120. SA-D5 booster
121. S-IV Dynamic/Facilities
stage at Cape Canaveral
122. SA-4 on Launch
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,
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,
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.
||123. Saturn Vehicles
Saturn V hardware development was underway. In early
February Boeing began S-IC bulkhead gore-forming operations at Wichita,
91. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Jan. 17-Feb. 15, 1963,
||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,
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
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.
||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,
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,
||128. Micrometeoroid satellite
129. Static firing of S-I-5
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.
||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
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.
|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
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.
||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
104. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Apr. 16-May. 17,
1963, p. 2; May 18-June 17, 1963, p. 3.
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.
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
136. Completion of S-IV
battleship test program
||137. Douglas Huntington
138. S-IVB forward mockup
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.
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,
||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,
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,
114. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, May 18-June 17, 1963,
p. 3; June 18-July 17, 1963, p. 4.
||143. Assembly of S-I-9 stage
144. Dredging at Mississippi
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.
||145. Mating bulkhead to
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.
||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
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
||148. Construction at Launch
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
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,
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.
|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.
||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,
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.
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
e. bulkhead fabrication area
at Seal Beach,
f. gore forming facility at El Toro,
g. S-II skate bulkhead welders at
h. explosive forming die at El Toro
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.
|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
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,
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,
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
a. instrument unit,
b. S-IV-5 stage,
c. hoisting instrument unit,
d. payload adapter,
f. hoisting payload,
g. SA-5 at Launch Complex 37B
||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,
159. S-II test stand
construction at Santa Susana;
a, flame deflector in battleship
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,
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.
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.
162. Saturn V booster test
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
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,
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.
163. Assembly of S-II battleship
164. First J-2 extended-
duration firing test
||165. MSFC F-1 engine firing