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.
||166. a. Fifth Saturn I flight
b. second stage separation
c, d, e. launch sequence from
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.
||167. Saturn I LOX tank
which will be modified for
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.
||168. Saturn V test fuel
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.
||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.
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
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.
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.
||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
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.
||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
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
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
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
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
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
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
|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
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
||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.
||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.
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,
||186. Fabrication of S-IB
structure at Michoud
187. Douglas personnel
working on ground support
equipment at Huntington Beach
188. First Saturn V hardware
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
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.
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."
190. SA-7 rises
191. Saturn IB nonflight
|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.
||192. Clustering Saturn IB
first stage at Michoud
193. S-IB tail section
194. S-IB spider beam
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.
||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,
|NASA had completed negotiations with Bendix
Corporation for the Saturn V instrument unit guidance platforms by the
end of the month.
196. Bulkhead for Saturn V
mockup for Saturn V second
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.
||198. Last Saturn I booster
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.
||200. Chrysler Saturn IB
201. Douglas S-IVB stage
202. F-1 engine test at
rocket engine test site,
||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
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.
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
||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
||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.
||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
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,
||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.
||216. J-2 engine gimballing
217. Replacement of S-II-S