Saturn Illustrated Chronology - Part 5

January 1964 through December 1964



January 1964 saw the beginning of the last phase of the Saturn I research and development program. The first four flight vehicles had carried dummy second stages. Now flight testing of second stages began.

Early in January technicians installed new tubing assemblies in the SA-5 booster. On January 24 Douglas second stage work under way at SACTO suffered a setback when the S-IV all-systems vehicle exploded during an attempt to static fire it.148 An overpressurized oxidizer tank caused loss of this vehicle as well as damage to the test stand and ground support equipment. On January 27 a blocked fuel line caused a two-day postponement of the SA-5 flight; technicians had failed to remove a flange used in checking the LOX line.149

    148. Dr. Kurt Debus, Chairman, Investigating Committee, report, "S-IV All Systems Stage Incident - January 24, 1964," May 11, 1964, J. B. Gayle, P&VE Lab., MSFC, "Investigation of S-IV All Systems Vehicle Explosion," Apr. 27, 1964, pp. 1.3; MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Dec. 16, 1963-Jan. 16, 1964, pp. 1 and 5.
    149. MSFC P&VE Lab., Saturn SA-5 Vehicle Data Book, Flight Report Supplement, p. VI-1.
On January 29, 1964, NASA launched the fifth Saturn I. The liquid hydrogen-fueled second stage, flight tested for the first time, functioned perfectly. First-stage engines shut off as planned, 147 seconds after liftoff. The second stage separated, ignited, burned for 8 minutes, and with the attached instrument unit and sand-filled nosecone attained orbit as an earth satellite. Time from liftoff until orbit was 10.32 minutes. The almost 19-ton satellite was the heaviest ever orbited.150
    150. MSFC Saturn Flight Evaluation Working Group, Results of the Fifth Saturn I Launch Vehicle Test Flight (MPR-SAT-FE-64-15), Apr. 1, 1964, p. 5.
Launch of SA-5a Second stage separationb
166. a. Fifth Saturn I flight
b. second stage separation
c, d, e. launch sequence from
tower camera
SA-5 launchc SA-5 launchd SA-5 launche

Meanwhile, MSFC continued production of test components and expansion of test facilities for Saturn IB and Saturn V multi-stage rockets. NASA announced in January that construction budgets for Saturn IB and Saturn V facilities at Michoud and the nearby Mississippi Test Operations would be $6,534,000 and $61,991,000 respectively, for FY 65.


In February MSFC shipped Saturn I's sixth flight booster and instrument unit from Huntsville to KSC; the trip by barge took eleven days.151 Douglas flew the S-IV-6 stage to the Cape. On February 19 MSFC successfully completed meteoroid payload fairing separation test for SA-8 and SA-9 missions.152 MSFC decided that the sixth Saturn I vehicle would have an active guidance system.
    151. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Feb. 16-Mar. 16, 1964, p. 4.
    152. MSFC P&VE Lab., SA-9 Saturn Vehicle Data Book, pp. V-1 and V-5; D. P. Herd and R. W. Schock, P&VE Lab., MSFC, Micrometeoroid Separation and Ejection Test of Apollo Boiler Module BP-9, July 13, 1964.
In February, Chrysler started fabrication of components for the first two Saturn IB boosters, utilizing some of the components available from cancelled Saturn I vehicles. Second stage accomplishments included Douglas's fabrication work on the S-IVB/IB-1 as well as further development of the S-IVB hydrostatic, all-systems, dynamic, and battleship test stages. Douglas also worked on an S-IVB facilities checkout stage.153
    153. DAC, Saturn S-IVB Annual Technical Progress Report, July 1963-June 1964, pp. 36-37 and 95-96. Hereafter cited as DAC, Saturn S-IVB Annual TPR, July 1963-June 1964.
Saturn I LOX tank167 167. Saturn I LOX tank
which will be modified for
Saturn IB

Saturn V progress included MSFC's successful hydrostatic testing on February 8 of the first stage (S-IC) test fuel tank.154 During February the Center conducted seven static tests on an F-1 engine.155 At Edwards AFB an F-1 engine systems test on February 28 ended in an explosion and severe engine damage. Rocketdyne attributed the explosion to structural failure of the LOX pump.156 Rocketdyne's other systems tests were generally successful. S&ID continued manufacture of the S-II battleship stage thrust structure and aft skirt assembly in its stand at Santa Susana.
    154. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Jan. 16-Feb. 16, 1964, p. 8.
    155. MSFC Test Lab., Hist. Report, Jan. 1-June 30, 1964, pp. 6-7.
    156. MSFC Engine Project Office, MPR, F-1, H-1, J-2, and RL10 Engines, Feb. 1964, p. 3.
Saturn V fuel tank168 168. Saturn V test fuel tank

During February atmospheric physicists of MSFC's Aero-Astrodynamics Laboratory participated in a wind data study. In the ten-day search for atmospheric jet streams which affect rocket flight they released 161 weather balloons (rawinsondes). This was part of an extensive measuring program in the southeastern United States originated by MSFC to aid Saturn stage structural designers in studies on sound propagation.


In March Kennedy Space Center technicians worked overtime preparing for the sixth Saturn I launching. In Huntsville, MSFC performed vibration tests on the SA-9 instrument unit, S-IU-9, and also began dynamics testing on vehicles in the SA-8, SA-9, and SA-10 configurations. MSFC successfully static fired S-I-9, final booster manufactured by the Center, in a short duration test.157 Douglas continued second stage production and started static tests on the S-IV-7 at SACTO.158 Chrysler completed fabrication and replacement of critical tubing assemblies for S-I-10 at Michoud.
    157. MSFC Test Lab., Hist. Report, Jan. 1-June 30, 1964, p. 1.
    158. MSFC Test Lab., Test MPR, Feb. 12-Mar. 12, 1964, p. 38; MSFC Saturn I/IB Program Office, Saturn I/IB Progress Report, March 16-September 30, 1964, p. 1. Hereafter cited as MSFC Saturn I/IB Prog. Off., Saturn I/IB Prog. Report, Mar. 16-Sept. 30, 1964.
S-IV production169 169. Saturn I second stage
170. S-IVB Dynamics Test

Saturn IB activities during March included beginning of fabrication of components for the second S-IVB flight stage, the S-IVB/IB-2.159 Douglas also started assembly of the S-IVB dynamics test stage in its assembly tower at Huntington Beach. Early in March the Center awarded a contract to IBM for Saturn IB and Saturn V instrument unit digital computers and data adapters.160 MSFC also arranged for integrating the eight systems of the Saturn IB and Saturn V instrument units. These systems are: guidance, control, electrical, measuring, telemetry, radio frequency, structural, and environmental. International Business Machines (IBM), under a $5.5 million contract, will provide development plans, test plans, and procurement specifications during the five-year first phase of the contract.161 On March 23 NASA published Saturn IB mission assignments as coordinated with MSFC and Manned Spacecraft Center.162
    159. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Feb. 16-Mar. 16, 1964, p. 6; Lee Cropp, MSFC Industrial Operations, Draft of "Saturn I, IB, and V Quarterly Progress Report, April, May, and June 1964," p. 10; DAC, Saturn S-IVB Annual TPR, July 1963-June 1964, p. 148.
    160. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Feb. 16-Mar. 16, 1964, pp. 2 and 6.
S-IVB test stage170
    161. Garland G. Buckner, Chief, Purchasing Office, MSFC, to H. H. Gorman, Deputy Director, Administrative, MSFC, memo, subj: "Report of Activities for Week Ending January 24, 1964," Jan. 24, 1964, and "Report of Activities for Week Ending February 7, 1964," Feb. 7, 1964; MSFC Press Release, Mar. 31, 1964.
    162. MSFC Saturn I/IB Prog. Off., Saturn I/IB Prog. Report, Mar. 16-Sept. 30, 1964, p. 19.
At Seal Beach, S&ID began assembly of the first Saturn V second stage (S-II) flight hardware. S&ID technicians conducted three successful tests of S-IC/S-II separation techniques. In Huntsville MSFC moved the completed S-IC test fuel tank to its load test facility on March 6.163 Other MSFC Saturn V activities during the month included construction progress on the $30 million static test facility in the Center's West Test Area. This Saturn V static test facility will be used to test four S-IC stages in Huntsville: one flight booster built at Michoud by Boeing, a nonflight MSFC-built stage, and the first two S-IC flight stages, both to be built by MSFC. The Center completed the dynamic test stand superstructure in March.164
    163. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Feb. 16-Mar. 16, 1964, p. 7.
    164. MSFC Sat. Off., Saturn MPR, Feb. 16-Mar. 16, 1964, p. 11.
Saturn V static test stand171

171. MSFC static test stand
for Saturn V booster
172. Joining Apollo to SA-6


NASA completed Saturn I second stage negotiations with Douglas Aircraft Corporation on April 17; scope changes increased the Douglas S-IV contract by $22 million. During April the Apollo command module was mated to the spacecraft. This Apollo payload was then joined to the SA-6 vehicle at Cape Kennedy.165 On April 24 the first industry-produced Saturn I booster arrived at MSFC from Michoud. The Chrysler-built S-I-8 stage went directly to MSFC's static test stand. On April 29 Douglas successfully acceptance fired the S-IV-7 stage.166 During April the Center decided to make minor changes in the S-IU-9 on the basis of vibration test results. MSFC announced that the SA-10 vehicle would carry a meteoroid detection satellite as its payload. This type payload, also to be used for the SA-8 and SA-9 flights, will aid the investigation of hazards from meteoroid particles to both manned and unmanned spacecraft.167
    165. KSC Press Release, Apr. 2, 1964.
    166. MSFC Saturn I/IB Prog. Off., Saturn I/IB Prog. Report, Mar. 16-Sept. 30, 1964, p. 6.
    167. MSFC Executive Staff, Managerial Data Center, Management Information, Volume IX, Sept. 1964, p. 2.
Apollo boilerplate172a

Mating spacecraft to SA-6172b

S-I-8 at MSFC173 173. S-I-8, first industry-
produced Saturn booster,
being unloaded from barge at

During a Saturn IB procurement discussion early in April, NASA and MSFC discussed the problem of orbital debris. NASA inquired about the possiblity of controlled reentry of the S-IVB stage. Marshall feared a critical loss of load capability if the S-IVB were redesigned to provide this, but study of the problem continued. Early in April Douglas completed the S-IVB structural test stage at Huntington Beach. On April 14 the forward dome of the dynamics test stage for Saturn IB second stages was damaged during production proof testing of the propellant tank assembly. At Michoud during April, Chrysler progressed in the fabrication and assembly of the S-IB-1, the booster stage for AS-201, the first Saturn IB flight vehicle.168 Chrysler technicians were putting together two major structural assemblies, the second stage adapter and the thrust structure, for the S-IB-1.
    168. Lee Cropp, MSFC Industrial Operations, Draft of "Saturn I, IB, and V Quarterly Progress Report, April, May, and June 1964," p. 1; MSFC Saturn I/IB Prog. Off., Saturn I/IB Prog. Report, Mar. 16-Sept. 30, 1964, p. 19; MSFC Op., Hist. Report, Jan. 1-June 30, 1964.
Early in April MSFC negotiated with Radio Corporation of America (RCA) for 19 ground computer systems to be used in checkout, static test, and launching of Saturn IB and Saturn V vehicles. Cost of these systems and seven ordered last year will total more than $47 million. They will be used at Michoud, Mississippi Test Operations, and Cape Kennedy Launch Complexes 34, 37, and 39.169 NASA completed instrument unit arrangements for Saturn IB and Saturn V during April. Under a prime contract effective May 1, IBM became lead contractor for work which, together with previous instrument unit assignments to IBM, is expected to cost $175 million over a five-year period.170 NASA delegated management of this work to MSFC. Meanwhile, Army engineers requested bids for an MSFC facility to study noise characteristics and sonic environment data independent of full-scale firings. Saturn IB and V upper stage engine production and testing continued at Rocketdyne's Canoga Park and Santa Susana sites. Rocketdyne delivered the first J-2 production engine to Douglas for the S-IVB battleship during April.171
Instrument unit mockup174

174. Mockup of instrument
unit for Saturn IB and Saturn V

    169. MSFC Press Release, Apr. 14, 1964.
    170. MSFC Press Release, Apr. 20, 1964.
    171. MSFC Engine Project Office, Engine QPR, April-June 1964, p. 32.
J-2 production engine175 175. First J-2 production
engine delivered to Douglas
176. Moving Saturn V booster
tank bulkhead at Michoud

Saturn V booster facilities in Huntsville continued to expand during April. MSFC awarded a contract worth more than $2.5 million to Sullivan, Long, and Hagerty of Birmingham, Alabama, for a 100-foot-high hanger to house large components of this S-IC stage. NASA provided almost $6 million additional support for the S-IC booster program at Michoud in a contract supplement awarded the Boeing Company for additional research, quality assurance, and mission planning. At Downey, California, S&ID completed fabrication of two giant bulkheads for the Saturn V second stage (S-II). NASA also modified S&ID's contract in April, adding more than $12 million to provide for vertical checkout of the S-II stages at Seal Beach and at Mississippi Test Operations. The Center studied ground support equipment (GSE) needs for Saturn V. On April 22 MSFC held a conference on electrical support equipment (ESE) to be furnished by General Electric. MSFC personnel prepared a preliminary schedule of Saturn V GSE deliveries and installation.
Saturn V bulkhead at Michoud176


Early in May stress corrosion was discovered in aluminium tube assemblies in the S-IV-6 stage. These were replaced without delay to the SA-6 flight. However, minor problems in fueling the S-IV-6 stage caused a six-day launch delay and GSE compressor trouble held up the flight two days.172
    172. MSFC Saturn I/IB Prog. Off., Saturn I/IB Prog. Report, Mar. 16-Sept. 30, 1964, pp. 3-5; MSFC P&VE Lab., SA-6 Vehicle Data Book, Flight Report Supplement, pp. VI-1 - VI-19; MSFC P&VE Lab., Evaluation of Flight Test Propulsion Systems and Associated Systems, Saturn Vehicle SA-6, Aug. 28, 1964, pp. 1-5 and pp. 156-164; E. R. Matthews, Saturn I Project Office, KSC, to Office of Manned Space Flight, NASA, et al., teletype, subject: "SA-6 Saturn/Apollo Flash Report No. 1," May 28, 1964. 
MSFC negotiated with Douglas on May 19 for Saturn IB ground support equipment and additional Saturn IB second stages. On May 27 MSFC and Douglas personnel agreed on a Douglas program of computer reporting for MSFC on S-IVB/IB status.

On May 4 Saturn V personnel met in Washington to consider the Apollo reliability and quality assurance program. During the month MSFC completed a plan for integrating computer information from Saturn V systems, stages, and projects. MSFC and Manned Spacecraft Center continued Saturn/Apollo interface study in meetings during May.

The sixth Saturn I flight occurred on May 28. The SA-6 flight was successful, as all preceding flights had been. The vehicle's guidance system, active in this flight for the first time, corrected a deviation from the planned trajectory caused by premature shutdown of one of the engines. The payload, 37,300 pounds and slightly lighter than that of the record SA-5 load, included a boilerplate Apollo spacecraft which reentered the atmosphere and disintegrated as expected after 3.3 days and 50 orbits of the earth.173 On the day this flight took place, MSFC started the seventh flight booster and instrument unit on the water voyage to Cape Kennedy.

    173. MSFC P&VE Lab., Saturn SA-6 Vehicle Data Book, Flight Report Supplement, p. VI-1.
At the end of May 1964 four Saturn I flights remained. Fabrication of stages for the Saturn IB was under way. Saturn V, the launch vehicle for the Apollo mission, began to emerge. Ground test stages were taking form, and huge facilities that would test them were rising at MSFC, Michoud, Mississippi Test Operations, and conractors' sites.
177. Sixth Saturn I flight

Launch of SA-6177

Saturn V mockup178a S-IVB LOX tank assembly178b

S-II production178c


During June MSFC, KSC, Manned Spacecraft Center, and associated contractors evaluated the sixth Saturn I flight. Included in their data were films from eight onboard movie cameras recovered after the flight and nearly 1,200 performance measurements telemetered to ground stations during the flight. Analysis affirmed success of the onboard guidance system, severely tested by unexpected shutdown of one of the first stage engines. This ST-124 guidance system became active shortly after second stage ignition and corrected trajectory deviation. After the SA-6 review NASA decided to lighten the S-IV stage on the four remaining flights by reducing fuel reserves.174
    174. MSFC P&VE Lab., Evaluation of Flight Test Propulsion Systems and Associated Systems, Saturn Vehicle SA-6, Aug. 28, 1964, pp. 1-5 and pp. 156-164.
Other Saturn I activity in June included arrival of SA-7 payload and vehicle major components at Cape Kennedy.175 MSFC's successful ground firing of S-I-8, the first booster produced by private industry; and start of assembly of S-IU-8, instrument unit for the SA-8 vehicle.176
    175. MSC, "Weekly Activity Report, June 7-13, 1964," to Office of Associate Administrator, Manned Space Flight, NASA, p. 3; MSFC Saturn I/IB Prog. Off., Saturn I/IB Prog. Report, Mar. 16-Sept. 30, 1964, p. 6.
    176. MSFC Saturn I/IB Prog. Off., Saturn I/IB Prog. Report, Mar. 16-Sept. 30, 1964, pp. 14-15.
178. Saturn IB and Saturn V
progress at the time of sixth
Saturn I flight; a. Saturn V
booster full scale mockup at
Michoud, b. LOX tank assembly
for S-IVB stage, upper stage for
Saturn IB and V, c. first Saturn V
second stage, S-II, flight hardware
179. On-board camera photograph
of SA-6 stage separation

SA-6 stage separation179

NASA's middle-sized Saturn, Saturn IB, progressed during June to beginning of manufacture of the first flight booster. By mid-June North American Aviation-Rocketdyne had delivered the first four uprated 200,000-pound thrust H-1 engines to Michoud for the Saturn IB booster.177
    177. MSFC Engine Project Office, Engine QPR, Apr.-June 1964, p. 21.
Chrysler began clustering tanks of the first booster, S-IB-1, during June.178 Douglas continued work at Huntington Beach on the Saturn IB second stages and progressed with assembly of a facilities checkout stage. Instrumentation problems delayed cold flow tests on the second stage propulsion test stage, the S-IVB battleship, but Douglas reported successful checkout of the S-IVB structural test stage before testing. A ground support equipment development highlight at Huntington Beach was successful checkout of second stage prototype automatic test equipment.
    178. Lee Cropp, MSFC Industrial Operations, Draft of "Saturn I, IB, and V Quarterly Progress Report, April, May, and June 1964," p. 1; MSFC Saturn I/IB Prog. Off., Saturn I/IB Prog. Report, Mar. 16-Sept. 30, 1964, p. 19; MSFC Michoud Op., Hist. Report, Jan. 1-June 30, 1964, p. 2.
With Saturn V manufacture continuing, NASA announced during June that it would study the feasibility of increasing the weight-lifting capacity of the vehicle by more than one-third. MSFC sought proposals on which to base contracts for preliminary studies expected to cost about $2 million.179
    179. MSFC Hist. Office, Hist. of Geo. C. Marshall Space Flight Center, July 1-Dec. 31, 1964, p. 27.
180. ST-124 guidance stable
181. H-1 engine, uprated for
Saturn IB booster

ST-124 guidance platform180Uprated H-1 engine181

S-IVB production182

S-IC fuel and LOX tanks183a 182. Saturn IB second
stages, S-IVB, in Douglas
tooling tower, Huntington
183. Fabrication of Saturn V;
a. fuel and LOX tanks being
built in Huntsville, for the
Saturn V first stage, S-IC,
b. structural test stage
thrust unit at Seal Beach,
for the Saturn V second stage, S-II


In early July MSFC completed the last phase of the Saturn I dynamic test program with successdul tests of SA-8, 9, and 10 vehicle configuration. MSFC's Saturn I dynamic test stand would now be one of the complex of MSFC Saturn IB and Saturn V test stands.
S-II thrust unit183b
Saturn test stands at MSFC184 184. Aerial view of MSFC
Saturn test stands

Preparations for the seventh Saturn I flight included installation of a nonpropulsive propellant tank venting system in the second stage to reduce tumbling of the vehicle's payload in orbit.180 Also, following discovery of "stress corrosion" cracks, all eight engines were removed from the SA-7 vehicle's first stage and sent back to Rocketdyne where aluminium alloy domes were substituted.181
    180. MSFC Saturn I/IB Off., Saturn I/IB MPR, Mar. 16-Sept. 30, 1964, p. 7.
    181. C. E. Catlado, P&VE Lab., H-1 Engine LOX Dome Failure, NASA TM X-53220, pp. 1-4; Apollo Program Management Off., KSC, to Apollo Program Director, NASA, teletype, subj: "SA-7 Launch Schedule," July 17, 1964, and Manager, Apollo Spacecraft Program Off., NASA, to KSC, subj: "SA-7 Launch Schedule," July 22, 1964.
The final three Saturn I vehicles neared completion. Douglas employees at Santa Monica finished inspecting the S-IV-8 stage before its delivery to SACTO for static test. Chrysler personnel at Michoud completed pre-static checkout of the final Saturn I booster, S-I-10.182 Meanwhile, MSFC personnel at Huntsville conducted checkout of instrument unit, S-IU-9.183 Besides these events in July, NASA amended its S-IV stage contract with Douglas to add research and development work valued at more than $21 million.
    182. Don Adams, CCSD, Saturn Stages S-I-10 Final Static Test Report, pp. 1-2; MSFC Test Lab., Hist. Report, July 1-Dec. 31, 1964, pp. 1-2.
    183. MSFC Saturn I/IB Off., Saturn I/IB MPR, Mar. 16-Sept. 30, 1964, p. 13-14.
S-IU-9 checkout185

185. S-IU-9 checkout

By mid-July Chrysler at Michoud had clustered all tanks for the first Saturn IB booster, S-IB-1, and by the end of the month installed all eight uprated H-1 engines.184 Chrysler worked on the second booster (S-IB-2) components and began the third booster. Chrysler personnel also began converting the Saturn I dynamic test booster to a Saturn IB dynamic test stage. After dynamic tests this stage will be used to check out Kennedy Space Center Saturn IB launch facilities. This modified stage was designated S-IB-D/F.185 Meanwhile, Douglas second stage (S-IVB) progress during July included insulating the dynamic test stage, rework on the battleship stage, and hydrostatic testing for leaks in the liquid hydrogen tank of the structural test stage.186 Douglas continued work on ground support equipment.
    184. MSFC Michoud Op., Hist. Report, July 1-Dec. 31, 1964, pp. 2 and 10; MSFC Saturn I/IB Off., Saturn I/IB Prog. Report, Mar. 16-Sept. 30, 1964, pp. 19-21.
    185. MSFC Saturn I/IB Off., Saturn I/IB Prog. Report, Mar. 16-Sept. 30, 1964, p. 21.
    186. DAC, Saturn S-IVB Monthly Technical Progress Report, July 1964, p. 33. Hereafter cited as DAC, Saturn S-IVB Monthly TPR, July 1964.
S-IB thrust structure fabrication186 186. Fabrication of S-IB thrust
structure at Michoud
187. Douglas personnel
working on ground support
equipment at Huntington Beach
188. First Saturn V hardware
from Douglas
189. Blockhouse activity at
SACTO during S-IV-9 acceptance

Saturn V booster production at Michoud was several weeks behind schedule in July; parts shortage accounted for some of the delay. Third stage problems included rupture of the S-IVB hydrostatic test stage because of two faulty weld repairs; tests were considered complete, however, because sufficient information had been obtained.

The first of two test stands for the Saturn V second stage (S-II) was completed by North American Aviation at its Santa Susana Field Laboratory in July. On July 11 Douglas delivered its first Saturn V third stage test hardware to Huntsville. Flown from Long Beach, California, this S-IVB stage forward skirt would connect the top of that stage to the vehicle instrument unit.

Saturn V contract action included addition of over $22 million to Rocketdyne's F-1 engine contract for acceleration of combustion stability research and a variety of hardware and services, a $3.6 million J-2 facility contract to Rocketdyne, a launch vehicle computer contract with IBM, and two contracts for more than $2 million each to Douglas for S-IVB rocket stage items and S-IVB automatic checkout equipment, respectively. On July 13 Army's Corps of Engineers of Mobile, Alabama, acting as NASA's agent for Mississippi Test Operations construction, awarded a contract worth more than $17 million for construction of the first test position on the giant S-IC dual test stand.


On August 6 at Sacramento Douglas personnel successfully acceptance fired S-IV-9, second stage of the SA-9 flight vehicle.187 During August the Fairchild Hiller Corporation continued work on meteoroid detection satellites to be orbited by the last three Saturn I vehicles. Each satellite, soon after second stage separation and orbit, would extend its wings to a span of 96 feet. During the month NASA named the satellites "Pegasus" after the winged horse of ancient mythology. Problems with their development threatened the schedule of the last three Saturn I launches.188
    187. MSFC Hist. Office, Hist. of Geo. C. Marshall Space Flight Center, July 1-Dec. 31, 1964, p. 33.
    188. KSC, Technical Progress Reports, Third and Fourth Quarter, CY 1964, p. 4; Lee B. James, Saturn I/IB Project Off., to Dr. Wernher von Braun, et al., memo subj: "Pegasus Schedule," Dec. 15, 1964.


NASA launched its seventh Saturn I from Cape Kennedy on September 18. The two-stage rocket placed approximately 37,000 pounds of payload into an orbit similar to the interim orbit for future three-man Apollo lunar missions (145-mile apogee, 112-mile perigee). Boilerplate Apollo spacecraft command and service modules, instrument unit, and the spent S-IV stage comprised the satellite. All major test objectives were met: final development testing of Saturn I propulsion, structural, guidance, and flight control systems; development testing of Apollo spacecraft structure and design; demonstration of physical compatibility of launch vehicle and spacecraft; and test-jettisoning of spacecraft launch escape system. Cameras ejected after the flight were abandoned because of Hurricane Gladys, but some were later unexpectedly recovered. After this flight Saturn I was declared operational, achieving its goal three vehicles early.189
    189. George E. Mueller, Assoc., Adm. for Manned Space Flight, NASA, to NASA Adm., letter, subj: "Saturn I Development Flight Test, SA-7," Sept. 14, 1964, with enc., "Mission Operation Report," Rpt. M-931-67-07, p. 1; F. A. Speer, Chairman, MSFC Saturn Flight Evaluation Working Group, "Saturn SA-7 Flight Resume."
GSE assembly at Douglas187

Saturn V hardware188

Inside blockhouse at SACTO189

Launch of SA-7190

190. SA-7 rises
191. Saturn IB nonflight
instrument unit

Saturn IB accomplishments by late September included MSFC's strengthening of the structure and start of component assembly for S-IU-200V, a nonflight Saturn IB instrument unit. At Michoud, Chrysler personnel were modifying flight tail section, and other Saturn I test stage components, with a new spider beam. Douglas had completed propellant loading in an S-IVB propulsion test stage, the S-IVB battleship. A Saturn IB program assessment had caused MSFC to extend the test period for this stage and to terminate the all-systems test program. The S-IVB all-systems test stage became a facilities checkout stage. MSFC was reviewing the S-IVB battleship test program on a daily basis, having found that problems with propulsion testing were affecting the Saturn IB second stage development schedule.190
    190. MSFC Saturn I/IB Off., Saturn I/IB Prog. Report, Mar. 16-Sept. 30, 1964, p. 29; DAC, Saturn S-IVB Monthly TPR, Sept. 1964, pp. 129 and 136.
Saturn IB instrument unit191
Clustering S-IB first stage192 192. Clustering Saturn IB
first stage at Michoud
193. S-IB tail section
194. S-IB spider beam

S-IB tail section193

S-IB spider beam194

Progress on both Saturn V engines was substantial by the end of September. MSFC had conducted a number of F-1 firing tests, and Rocketdyne was testing F-1 engine systems at Edwards. Four J-2 engines had been tested, accepted, and delivered to stage contractors.191
    191. MSFC Engine Prog. Off., Semiannual Progress Report, F-1, H-1, J-2, C-1, and RL10 Engines, July 1-Dec. 31, 1965, Mar. 15, 1966, p. 19.
J-2 assemblya F-1 furnaceb F-1 assemblyc
195. Saturn engine manufacturing
by Rocketdyne at Canoga Park;
a. J-2 engine assembly,
b. F-1 furnace brazing operation,
c. F-1 engine assembly

North American Aviation S&ID announced completion of a 33-foot-wide bulkhead for the hydrogen-powered Saturn V second stage during September.192 The electro-mechanical mockup for the S-II stage was completed at Downey, California, but not fully instrumented. Douglas personnel began fabricating the first flight version of the Saturn V third stage, the S-IVB/V-1.
    192. North American Aviation, Space and Information Systems Division, Saturn S-II Stage Monthly Progress Report, October 1964, p. 33. Hereafter cited as NAA S&ID, S-II Stage MPR, Oct. 1964, p. 33.
NASA had completed negotiations with Bendix Corporation for the Saturn V instrument unit guidance platforms by the end of the month.
Mockup of Saturn V S-II stage197 S-II bulkhead196

196. Bulkhead for Saturn V
second stage
197. Electro-Mechanical
mockup for Saturn V second
stage, S-II


On October 6 MSFC concluded three and one-half years of Saturn I first stage static testing with a test of the final booster. The 156-second test indicated that the S-I-10, manufactured by Chrysler at Michoud, was satisfactory.193 The major units of the SA-9 vehicle went to the Cape in October, and the other two Saturn I vehicles neared completion. Development of the Pegasus satellites to be carried by the last three Saturn I vehicles proceeded. During October Fairchild Hiller Company conducted tests on a canister designed to provide power, communication, and data electronics for these meteoroid measurement satellites. An adapted Apollo spacecraft service module would protect each satellite from aerodynamic heat before its injection into orbit and operation.
    193. Don Adams, CCSD, Saturn Stage S-I-10 Final Static Test Report, pp. 1-2; MSFC Test Lab., Hist. Report, July 1-Dec. 31, 1964, pp. 1-2.
Saturn booster test firing198
Pegasus satellite199 198. Last Saturn I booster
ground test
199. Pegasus satellite housed
inside adapted service module

Two flight booster stages for the Saturn IB were visible in the Chrysler Final Assembly Area at Michoud in October. The first, S-IB-1, was ready for inspection before ground test firing. Tank clustering of the S-IB-2 was complete and other assembly operations were under way. Also near completion was S-IB-D/F, dynamic test stage converted from Saturn I. Meanwhile, Douglas had four Saturn IB second stages under way. As these S-IVB flight stages were being manufactured, Douglas was conducting tests of the propulsion subsystems and of engine chilldown procedure before full-duration static firing of the J-2 engine-powered S-IVB battleship.194
    194. MSFC Saturn I/IB Off., Saturn I/IB Prog. Report, Mar. 16-Sept. 30, 1964, pp. 21 and 30; MSFC Michoud Op., Hist. Report, July 1-Dec. 31, 1964, p. 12; M. Johnson, Chief, Program Control Off., MSFC, to Dir., Apollo Program Control Off., NASA, teletype, subj: "Weekly Notes, Saturn I/IB," Jan. 4, 1965.
Progress on Saturn V test facilities was substantial in October. Personnel at the Rocket Engine Test Site at Edwards, California, conducted four consecutive full-duration F-1 engine test firings and approved the operational readiness of the new stand.195 Dr. von Braun assigned operation of the site to Rocketdyne after officially accepting it on behalf of NASA. The MSFC Saturn V test complex, Mississippi Test Operations, observed its third anniversary. Mississippi Test Operations will conduct final ground firings of the two lower stages of Saturn V. Testing of the other stage, S-IVB, will occur at facilities in California. S-IVB will have been flight-proven in modified form in Saturn IB flights before its use in Saturn V.
    195. MSFC Industrial Operations, Engine Project Office, Quarterly Progress Report, F-1, H-1, J-2, and RL10 Engines, July, August, and September, 1964, pp. 11-12. Hereafter cited as MSFC Industrial Operations, Engine Project Off., QPR, F-1, H-1, J-2, and RL10 Engines, July, Aug., and Sept. 1964.
Saturn IB production200

S-IVB production201

F-1 engine in test stand202 200. Chrysler Saturn IB
booster work
201. Douglas S-IVB stage
fabrication area
202. F-1 engine test at
rocket engine test site,
Edwards, California
MTO engineering buildinga S-II test standb S-IC test stand constructionc
203. Mississippi Test Operations;
a, laboratory and engineering building,
b, test stand for Saturn V S-II stage,
c, test stand for Saturn V S-IC stage


A surprising recovery of films from the seventh Saturn I flight took place in November. Almost two months after the flight, two barnacle-encrusted capsules, each containing 100 feet of color motion-picture film in good condition, were found, one on a beach of an island in the Bahamas, the other in San Salvador in Central America. Hurricane weather had thwarted recovery efforts after the flight.196
    196. MSFC Saturn Flight Evaluation Working Group, Results of the Seventh Saturn I Launch Vehicle Test Flight, (MPR-SAT-FE-64-17), Nov. 25, 1964, p. 250.
Other Saturn I activity in November included erection of the SA-9 on the launch pad at Cape Kennedy. The SA-8 vehicle, to fly after SA-9, progressed; post-static checkout of the S-I-8 stage neared completion, instrument unit checkout was under way, and the S-IV-8 stage was acceptance fired.197 Stages of SA-10, the final vehicle, were manufactured; Chrysler was making minor modifications and repairs in the S-I-10 stage before post-static checkout, Douglas transferred the S-IV-10 stage to the Sacramento facility where it would be acceptance fired, and in Huntsville MSFC was assembling the S-IU-10 components on schedule. Development problems on the Pegasus satellite, payload for remaining Saturn I vehicles, were being solved, and there was considerable test activity on parts of the prototype satellite.198
    197. MSFC Test Lab., Test Lab, MPR, Nov. 12-Dec. 13, 1964, pp. 37-38; W. L. Fowler, S-IV Stage Project Engineer, P&VE Lab., Fifth Flight Vehicle, S-IV-8.
    198. Minutes of Meeting, Project Pegasus Review, Aug. 19, 1964 and Oct. 26, 1964; Raymond L. Bisplinghoff, Assoc. Adm. for Advanced Research and Technology, NASA, to Assoc. Adm. for Manned Space Flight, memo, subj: "Qualification of Capacitor Detectors for Pegasus Spacecraft," Oct. 23, 1964; George E. Mueller, Assoc. Adm. for Manned Space Flight to Dr. Wernher von Braun, Dir., MSFC, Nov. 25, 1964, letter; Lee B. James, Saturn I/IB Project Office, to Dr. Wernher von Braun, et al, memo, subj: "Pegasus Schedule," Dec. 15, 1965.
With the first Saturn IB booster complete, Chrysler continued manufacture and assembly of the next three during November. Technicians removed engines from the first booster, S-IB-1, and shipped them to Neosho for LOX dome retrofit. Engines would be reinstalled at Michoud before delivery of the stage to MSFC for static test. At SACTO Douglas employees test fired, for the first time, the auxiliary propulsion system for the Saturn IB second stage, S-IVB. This system consists of six 150-pound thrust engines which provide attitude control after the main engine (J-2) shuts down and the S-IVB stage enters into the coast phase of flight. In Huntsville MSFC finished assembly of a nonflight Saturn IB instrument unit, S-IU-200V.

NASA provided for construction of Pad B of NASA's Saturn V Complex 39 at Merritt Island, Florida, by an almost $20 million firm-fixed-price contract awarded in November. At MSFC the first Saturn V booster stage, S-IC-T, a nonflight version, was partially assembled;199 the Center used parts primarily from the Boeing Company. Douglas was checking out the S-IVB dynamics test stage, manufacturing S-IVB flight stages, and conducting propulsion systems tests. On November 24 a successful S-IVB battleship firing took place.200 The Saturn V second stage, S-II, activity by North American Aviation included, on November 9, a successful single engine ignition S-II battleship test, hydrostatic tests of the common bulkhead test tank which certified repairs, and buildup of the structural test vehicle, S-II-S.

    199. MSFC P&VE Lab., MPR for Dec. 12-Jan. 11. 1964, p. 48; MSFC Saturn V Office, Saturn V Quarterly Progress Report, July 1-September 30, 1964, pp. 4-5, and October 1-December 31, 1964, p. 7. Hereafter cited as MSFC Saturn V Off., Saturn V QPR, July 1-Sept. 30, 1964.
    200. MSFC Test Lab., Test Lab. MPR, Nov. 12-Dec. 12, 1964, pp. 37-38; W. L. Fowler, S-IV Stage Project Engineer, P&VE Lab., Fifth Flight Vehicle, S-IV-8
204. Recovered cameras
205. S-IV-10 being moved to
stand at SACTO
206. Chrysler Saturn IB
fabrication and assembly
area at Michoud

Recovered cameras204

S-IV-10 at SACTO205

Saturn IB production at Michoud206

APS for S-IVB stage207

S-IC static test stage208 207. Auxiliary propulsion
system for Saturn IB second
208. First Saturn V booster,
a nonflight version for static
209. First short duration
S-IVB battleship firing

S-IVB battleship firing209

Saturn V S-II buildup210 210. Buildup of Saturn V
second stage, nonflight
version for tests
211. Pegasus B, folded, at
left, and Pegasus prototype
in spacecraft integration
area of Fairchild Hiller Company,


By the end of December Saturn I launch preparations at Cape Kennedy were proceeding on schedule toward the established SA-9 flight date. The S-I-8 stage was ready for shipment but would be stored for a brief period before February shipment to the Cape since SA-9 would fly ahead of SA-8.201 Fairchild Hiller was fabricating Pegasus B. General Electric Company had finished vibration and vacuum tests on Pegasus A. On December 29 Pegasus A, the first meteoroid detection satellite, arrived at Cape Kennedy from where the SA-9 would boost it into space and orbit of the earth.
    201. MSFC Saturn V Off., Saturn V QPR, Oct. 1-Dec. 31, 1964, p. 16.
Saturn IB's first flight stage booster, S-IB-1, was in pre-static checkout in December. Chrysler was completing installations in assembled S-IB-2 units and assembling the spider beam for S-IB-3. Others began assembling the S-IB-4 tail section. Meanwhile, test booster S-IB-D/F was modified, reclustered, prepared for shipment, and on December 22 departed New Orleans for Huntsville for dynamic testing. Douglas shipped the first completed S-IVB stage, S-IVB-D, a structural replica of the flight stage, from Huntington Beach on December 8.202 First and second Saturn IB stages and an Apollo spacecraft were scheduled to be united for complete vehicle tests in MSFC's 200-foot-tall dynamic test stand.
    202. DAC, Saturn S-IVB Monthly TPR, Dec. 1964, p. 63; MSFC Saturn V Off., Saturn V QPR, Oct. 1-Dec. 31, 1964, p. 16.
Pegasus satellite production211

Saturn IB test stage212

S-IVB turnover ceremony at Douglas213 212. Saturn IB test first
stage being readied for
213. First Saturn IB test
second stage, S-IVB-D, at
turnover ceremony at Douglas

During December Douglas accomplished a series of test firings of the S-IVB battleship stage at SACTO. On December 23 a full-duration (415-second) firing of the battleship occurred.203
    203. MSFC Saturn V Off., Saturn V QPR, Oct. 1-Dec. 31, 1964, p. 16; DAC, Saturn S-IVB Monthly TPR, Dec. 1964, pp. 1-2 and 45-46.
Contract for a new Saturn V test stand was signed in December. This second S-II test stand at Mississippi Test Operations will cost over $8 million. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, construction agent for NASA's Mississippi Test Facilities, awarded the contract to Malon Construction Company of Koppers Company, Inc. In Huntsville MSFC prepared for the first single-engine firing of the Saturn V test booster S-IC-T and perfected ground support equipment. MSFC's Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory (ME Lab) manufactured and assembled the LOX bulkhead of structural test stage S-IC-S in less than a month, setting a new record for building a bulkhead.204
    204. MSFC P&VE Lab., MPR for Nov. 12-Dec. 11, 1964, p. 48; MSFC Saturn V Off., Saturn V QPR, Oct. 1-Dec. 31, 1964, p. 7.
S-IC-5 thrust structure214
Saturn V fin construction215 214. S-IC-5 thrust structure
on barge at Michoud
215. Internal ribs of first
Boeing-built Saturn V fin,
assembled and ready for
attachment of skins

From Michoud Boeing shipped to MSFC a 33-foot-diameter S-IC stage thrust structure for structural testing.205 Other Boeing work included building the first Saturn V fin constructed away from Marshall Center. North American Aviation-Rocketdyne accomplished flight rating tests (FRT) of the F-1 engine; five of these would power the Saturn V first stage. Saturn V second-stage accomplishments included North American Aviation S&ID's testing of J-2 engine gimballing on the electro-mechanical mockup at Downey, California;206 replacement of LOX bulkhead of the S-II-S; a load and pressure test of the S-II stage; and completion of S-II battleship single engine firings. A major milestone during December was North American Aviation-Rocketdyne's completion of preliminary flight rating tests (PFRT) of the J-2 engine; five of these would power each Saturn V second stage and one would power the third stage.
    205. Boeing, Saturn S-IC Quarterly Technical Progress Report, October 2, 1964-December 31, 1964, p. 115.
    206. NAA S&ID, Saturn S-II Stage MPR, Dec. 1964, pp. 25-26 and 39.
J-2 engine test216 216. J-2 engine gimballing
217. Replacement of S-II-S

S-II-S bulkhead217

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