Saturn Illustrated Chronology - Part 7
January 1966 through December 1966
MSFC announced on January 3, 1966, its negotiation of two
nine-month study contracts to determine the feasibility of using an improved
J-2 rocket engine in the S-II and S-IVB stages of the Saturn V launch vehicle:
(1) a $148,000 contract to North American Aviation, developer of the S-II
stage, and (2) a $225,000 modification of an existing contract with Douglas
Aircraft Company. MSFC's Propulsion and Vehicle Engineering Laboratory
was seeking to simplify the J-2 and give it and the stages it powered more
277. MSFC Engine Prog. Off., Semiannual Prog. Report,
July-Dec. 1965, p. 21.
On January 4 MSFC announced the awarding of seven new Saturn
contracts, five of them to Saturn prime stage contractors for continuation
of studies aimed at improving S-IB and Saturn V launch vehicles. North
American, Boeing, and Chrysler each received one of the contracts. Douglas
received two. The remaining two of the seven contracts were for continuation
of engineering studies relating to a manned reusable transport system:
(1) a nine-month $237,000 contract to Lockheed Aircraft Corporation to
study possibilities of developing a reusable transport system based on
presently approved launch and space vehicles and (2) a six-month $51,000
contract to Martin-Marietta Corporation for a comparison study of launch
modes for reusable launch vehicles. Both contracts would be under MSFC's
278. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, Oct.
1-Dec. 31, 1965, p. 34; MSFC Saturn Flight Evaluation Working Group,
Results of the First Saturn IB Launch Vehicle Test Flight AS-201
(MPR-SAT-FE-66-8), p. 13.
||268. Studies on reusable
NASA announced on January 7 the award of a $7,837,000
contract to the Radio Corporation of America, Aerospace Systems Division,
Van Nuys, California, effective December 1, 1965, for logistic support
of Saturn ground computer checkout systems. Under the two-year contract,
managed by MSFC, RCA would provide spare parts, logistic management, maintenance
support, and report services for the Saturn ground computer checkout systems.
On this same date MSFC announced that the Air Force's Arnold Engineering
Development Center (AEDC) near Tullahoma, Tennessee, was being expanded
for testing of a third stage (S-IVB battleship) of NASA's Saturn V launch
279. Exec. Off. of the President, Report to the Congress
from the President of the United States, 1965, p. 12.
A ground-test (battleship) version of the S-II, second stage
of the Saturn V, was static fired at Santa Susana, for 354 seconds in a
successful January 12 test of its engine-gimballing and LOX cutoff systems.
||269. S-II battleship firing,
270. S-IC-D erected in S-IC
test stand at MSFC
Saturn V milestones on January 13 involved the first
stage and instrument unit. The S-IC-D booster went into the dynamic test
stand at MSFC on this date, and NASA awarded a $4,183,066 modification
to its existing Saturn V instrument unit contract with IBM's Federal Systems
Division, Rockville, Maryland. The modification was for manufacturing "redundant
At Michoud on January 14 a Saturn V launch vehicle first
stage went aboard the barge Poseidon for shipment to KSC. On this
same date NASA invited aerospace industries to propose definition studies
of integrating experiment equipment in spacecraft that could be utilized
for manned Apollo Applications missions. Two or more firms would be selected
for negotiations of parallel nine-month study contracts.280
280. MSFC Press Release No. 66-1, Jan. 3, 1966.
Workmen completed horizontal assembly of the second Saturn
V first stage S-IC-2, on January 17, at MSFC's Manufacturing Engineering
Laboratory, and the stage was moved to the Quality Assurance Laboratory
for post-manufacturing checkout. On this date technicians completed vibration
testing of General Dynamics' S-IU-500V instrument unit. The unit went from
Wyle Laboratories to the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory for disassembly.281
281. NASA Hist. Office, Astronautics and Aeronautics,
1966, SP-4007, p. 16.
||271. Barge Poseidon used
to move Saturn stages
272. S-IC-1 (right) and
S-IC-2 in transit at MSFC
Removal of the S-IC-T from the static test tower on January
20 at MSFC concluded the S-IC-T planned test program at Huntsville. MSFC
moved the booster to the Manufacturing Engineering building for storage
and later conversion to the functional configuration of S-IC-4. NASA announced
on January 20 that the hydrogen-fueled J-2 rocket engine had successfully
completed a series of qualification tests to demonstrate performance over
its design operating range. These qualification tests ended when a single
engine operated successfully 30 times for a total firing time of 470 seconds.
This accumulated duration was approximately eight times as long as the
engine would be required to operate in flight.
A full-duration (2.5-minute) test for the fourth S-IB
booster (S-IB-4) occurred at MSFC's East Test Area facility on January
21. Chrysler had conducted an earlier test of the engine, but for only
Douglas personnel at Huntington Beach ended post-manufacturing
checkout of the Saturn V S-IVB-501 third stage on January 28. Structural
fabrication and assembly of the S-IU-501 ended at IBM Huntsville on this
date. Early in 1966 MSFC formally redesignated the S-II all-systems stage
(S-II-T) as the all-systems test/dynamics test stage (S-II-T/D).282
282. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, Jan.
1-Mar. 31, 1966, pp. 12 and 38.
273. S-IC-T removed from
test stand at MSFC
274. Moving of S-IVB-501
275. MSFC dock activity
276. AS-201 awaits launch
MSFC announced on February 2 that two S-IB flight boosters
were aboard barges, one en route to the Michoud Assembly Facility and the
other one to the Kennedy Space Center. NASA's second Saturn IB flight booster
S-IB-2 was due to arrive at KSC within a few days aboard the barge Promise.
The first S-IB vehicle, AS-201, meanwhile, was awaiting launch at KSC.
Workmen at MTF completed integrated checkout of the GSE
for S-II-T/D on February 3.283
283. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, Jan.
1-Mar. 31, 1966, pp. 18, 25, and 39.
Rehearsal countdown at KSC for the S-IB/Apollo mission was
delayed 24 hours on February 5 because of "minor problems and resulting
crew fatigue." NASA spokesman said that it was not yet known if the delay
would affect the rescheduled February 22 launching. Meanwhile the S-IB
stage for AS-202 arrived at KSC via barge where it was unloaded and transported
to Hanger AF for receiving inspection and installation of three fins.
On February 14 the MSFC Quality and Reliablity Assurance
Laboratory completed, as scheduled, the checkout of S-IU-500FS, a ground
version of the Saturn V instrument unit.284
284. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, Jan.
1-Mar. 31, 1966, p. 18.
MSFC continued to emphasize testing. It announced on February
15 that the first stage of the Saturn IB launch vehicle prior to its maiden
flight had been "time tested" in more than 5,000 single-engine tests. In
addition to these single engine tests of the H-1 rocket engines, there
had been 72 vehicle tests.285
285. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, Jan.
1-Mar. 31, 1966, p. 38.
Technicians at MSFC successfully test-fired the S-IC-1 on
February 17. The firing, lasting 40.7 seconds, met all the main test objectives.286
286. MSFC Press Release No. 66-39, Feb. 15, 1966.
NASA's Saturn S-II facility stage (S-II-F) left Seal Beach,
on February 20 for KSC aboard AKD Point Barrow. S-II-F, a nonflight
version of the stage, would serve as second stage of the Saturn V facilities
checkout vehicle, and would test and verify launch facilities, techniques,
handling procedures, and operations. In a space hardware movement on the
following day, the instrument unit for the second S-IB launch vehicle (S-IU-202)
arrived at KSC from MSFC aboard the Promise. A booster for this
S-IB was already at the KSC launch site.
277. Instrument unit configuration
278. H-1 engine
279. Transfer of S-II-F and
interstage from dock to
280. S-IU-202 moving to KSC
On February 24 and 25 MSFC technicians continued captive-firing
tests of the first stage Saturn V launch vehicle (S-IC-1). MSFC scheduled
the February 25 static firing for 125 seconds but had to terminate it after
83.2 seconds when a red-line observer received an incorrect reading from
a faulty transducer. However, MSFC scientists determined that in this second
static firing in two days all criteria for the second S-IC-1 static firing
were met and that no additional static firings were required.287
287. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, Jan.
1-Mar. 31, 1966, p. 18.
After postponement on three consecutive days because of continuing
bad weather, NASA on February 26 launched with its Saturn vehicle, AS-201,
the Apollo spacecraft 009 payload from KSC Launch Complex 34. The vehicle
performed throughout the powered and coast phases of flight. No major system
malfunctions occurred in this unmanned suborbital Apollo flight. In lifting
the spacecraft, AS-201's first stage had generated 1.6 million pounds of
thrust. After burning 2 minutes and 26 seconds, propelling the Apollo to
37 miles altitude, the booster's eight H-1 engines, fueled with kerosene
and LOX, shut down and the stage separated from the S-IVB. Four seconds
later, a 200,000-pound thrust S-IVB (second) stage engine, burning liquid
hydrogen and liquid oxygen, ignited.288
288. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, Jan.
1-Mar. 31, 1966, p. 11.
281. S-IC test stand, Huntsville
282. AS-201 launch, KSC
283. Uprated Saturn I
launch vehicle configuration
On February 28 at MSFC workmen moved the S-IB-5 into
a static test stand in preparation for captive firings.
MSFC shipped the S-IU-500F to KSC on March 1. On this same
date assembly of the S-IVB-503 and S-IVB-504 continued at Douglas in Huntington
Beach, California, and workmen began factory checkout of the S-IVB-502.289
289. MSFC Saturn Flight Evaluation Working Group, Results
of the First Saturn IB Launch Vehicle Test Flight AS-201 (MPR-SAT-FE-66-8),
NASA signed with the Boeing Company a March 4 supplemental
agreement converting the Saturn V first stage (S-IC) contract from a fixed
fee to an incentive fee contract. It was the first Saturn stage contract
to be converted to an incentive type. At the time of this conversion the
Boeing contract was valued at $850,114,303.290 Also on March
4 the S-II-F stage and its interstage arrived at Port Canaveral, Florida.
290. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, Jan.
1-Mar. 31, 1966, p. 27.
284. S-II-F stage in low bay
of VAB, KSC
285. S-IVB facilities at
|On March 10 MSFC shipped a Saturn V instrument
unit (S-IU-500FS) aboard the Super Guppy aircraft to Huntington Beach,
for testing with an S-IVB stage in a simulated space environment. The following
day the S-IVB-501 stage left Huntington Beach for Sacramento where it would
undergo acceptance firing. Meanwhile at KSC workmen erected and mated the
S-IVB stage and instrument unit of AS-202.291
291. MSFC, MAF Hist. Report, Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1966,
|Douglas Aircraft Corporation successfully
conducted a March 18 acceptance test of the fourth flight Saturn S-IVB-204
stage at its Sacramento Test Center. Technicians fired the stage for about
292. MSFC Saturn Flight Evaluation Working Group, Results
of the Third Saturn IB Launch Vehicle Test Flight AS-202 (MPR-SAT-FE-66-13),
|NASA announced March 24 that it would negotiate
incentive contracts with two major aerospace firms for the procurement
of five additional Saturn V first stages (S-IC) and 33 F-1 rocket engines.
NASA would negotiate with the Boeing Company for the stages and with Rocketdyne
for the F-1 engines for these stages. The five S-IC stages would cost in
excess of $165 million. These contracts were in line with NASA's plan to
launch 15 Apollo/Saturn V space vehicles by the end of 1970.293
293. NASA Hist. Off., Astronautics and Aeronautics,
1966, SP-4007, p. 107.
|286. S-IVB facility at SACTO
287. F-1 engine
|Mating of the S-II-F with the S-IC-F stage
occurred at KSC, March 28. On the following day workmen mated the S-IVB-500F
with the S-II-F, and the day after they erected the S-IU-500F.
On March 30 the S-IVB-500S/T flew from California to MSFC
aboard the Super Guppy.
||288. S-IVB-500S/T aboard
On March 31 there were major Saturn headlines at MSFC.
Chrysler Corporation personnel captive fired the S-IB-5 for about 2.5 minutes,
the second and longest duration firing for the booster.294
294. MSFC, MAF Hist. Report, Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1966,
||289. S-IB stage erection
in test stand, Huntsville
April 1 NASA announced that project management of its first
hydrogen-fueled engine, the RL10, was being transferred to Lewis Research
Center at Cleveland, Ohio. A cluster of six RL10 engines had powered the
Saturn I's S-IV second stage before the conclusion of MSFC's Saturn I program
the previous year.
||290. J-2 production at
291. RL-10 engine
In an April 4 release NASA announced a change in sequence
of the S-IB-202 and the S-IB-203 launches. Uprated S-IB-202 was rescheduled
to follow the AS-203 mission. The purpose of the sequence change was to
provide additional time for checkout of Apollo spacecraft to be flown in
the AS-202 mission. AS-203 was a launch vehicle development mission and
would not carry an Apollo spacecraft.295
295. MSFC Press Release No. 66-69, Apr. 1, 1966.
NASA announced on April 6 the purchase under a $7,634,742
modification to an existing contract of 22 additional H-1 engines for the
S-IB launch vehicle. In addition to the engines the contract with North
American Aviation's Rocketdyne Division called for three years of support
services, including training, field engineering, and supply support.
The third S-IB booster (S-IB-3) departed Michoud for KSC
on April 7. The S-IB stage for AS-203 arrived at KSC via barge Promise
where it was unloaded and moved into Hanger AF on April 12. Six days later
workmen erected the S-IB stage on Launch Complex 37B. Meanwhile, MSFC loaded
the S-IB instrument unit for AS-203 aboard the Super Guppy for flight to
KSC. As preparations continued for erecting AS-203, KSC technicians continued
propellant tests of the nearby AS-202.
||292. Final check of H-1
engines before shipment
293. Barge Promise
294. Super Guppy
ft 3 ins
ft 2 ins
ft 5 ins
ft 6 ins
ft 6 ins
CARGO COMP. 25ft DIA.
ft 8 ins
From April 19 to April 21 nine NASA astronauts visited
MSFC for briefings on the S-IB launch vehicles to be used in the initial
manned Apollo missions. Briefing areas included tours, hardware descriptions,
and design philosophy.296
296. MSFC, MAF Hist. Report, Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1966,
MSFC announced on April 21 that NASA had awarded $50,000
60-day fixed-price contracts to Douglas Aircraft Company, McDonnell Aircraft
Corporation, and Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation to perform definition
and preliminary design studies and evaluate a plan to make spent Saturn
V S-IVB stage hydrogen tanks habitable for manned space missions up to
30 days in duration. MSFC would manage the contracts.297
297. MSFC PAO, Marshall Star, Apr. 20, 1966, p.
295. S-IVB stage hydrogen tanks
|On April 23 workmen at MTF successfully captive-fired
for 15 seconds S-II-T, the Saturn V second stage all-systems test vehicle.
This was the first test of a flight-weight S-II stage. The stage, largest
and most powerful liquid oxygen-liquid hydrogen stage known, developed
one million pounds of thrust from its five J-2 engines. This test also
marked the first operational use of MTF.
MSFC announced on May 6 that the first uprated J-2 rocket
engine had arrived at MSFC from Rocketdyne. In uprating the J-2, Rocketdyne
had increased the thrust for a new thrust capability of 230,000 pounds.
NASA schedules called for use of the higher thrust J-2 in the second stage
of the S-IB, beginning with vehicle AS-208 and, in the second and third
stages of the Saturn V, beginning with vehicle AS-504.298
298. MSFC Press Release No. 66-83, Apr. 21, 1966.
Technicians at SACTO test stand Beta I completed the S-IVB-501
integrated systems checkout on May 9.299
299. MSFC Press Release No. 66-91, May 6, 1966.
296. Test firing of S-IVB
J-2 engine in Beta test stand
|Helium-bottle trouble on May 10 resulted
in termination of the second S-II-T firing at MTF. The following day, in
a second attempt to complete a static firing of the S-II-T, the engine
fired about 47 seconds. Premature cutoff occurred because of a gas generator
A 154-second static firing of S-II-T, the all-systems
version of Saturn V's second stage, occurred at MTF on May 17. This was
a successful test of the nation's most powerful hydrogen-oxygen engine.
Technicians made 1,100 measurements and gimballed four of the five engines.
These engines in flight would provide stability and control of the stage.300
300. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, Apr.
1-June 30, 1966, p. 29.
||297. S-II static firing
On May 19 MSFC announced the following nomenclature changes
as recommended by NASA Headquarters officials, Dr. Seamans, Dr. Mueller,
and Mr. Scheer: "Lunar Excursion Module to be called Lunar Module; the
Saturn IB to become 'the uprated Saturn I.' At first the changes will be
noted as 'the uprated Saturn, the Saturn IB' gradually dropping reference
to the Saturn IB as the new name becomes more familiar. This would enable
us to continue the string of Saturn I successes. Realistically the uprated
Saturn I is what we have anyway; in general public releases we should begin
referring to Saturn stages simply as the first, second, or third stages,
and, where helpful, to semi-technical press and in press kits follow with
the technical nomenclature, ie., 'the third stage of the Saturn V (S-IVB),'
etc.; future releases and announcement should make use of the new nomenclature."
The first full-duration firing of the S-II flight stage
occurred May 20 at MTF when S-II-T test-fired for 354.5 seconds. LOX cutoff
sensors initiated cutoff automatically. The firing passed all major test
objectives with the exception of the propellant utilization system. This
was the fourth static firing of the S-II-T. The stage developed one million
pounds of thrust from its five hydrogen-oxygen-powered J-2 engines.301
301. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, Apr.
1-June 30, 1966, p. 19.
"Rollout" of the AS-500F occurred at KSC May 25. The 500,000-pound
facility test vehicle, 365 feet high, moved from the Vehicle Assembly Building
(VAB) on its 3,000-ton diesel-powered steel-link crawler transporter to
Pad A to verify launch facilities, train launch crews, and develop test
checkout procedures. Also on May 25 technicians at MTF attempted the second
full-duration firing of the S-II-T but terminated the firing after 198
seconds as a result of fire on engine No. 5. The fire burned an electrical
cable to cause the cutoff. This was the fifth static firing of the S-II-T.302
302. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, Apr.
1-June 30, 1966, p. 19.
298. Firing of an S-II flight stage
299. Saturn V in movement
|On May 26 at Sacramento Beta I test stand
there was a second successful firing of S-IVB-501. This test of S-IVB-501
consisted of a 151-second mainstage first burn, a 106-minute simulated
orbital coast period, and a 301-second mainstage burn after restart.303
303. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, Apr.
1-June 30, 1966, pp. 19 and 46.
||300. S-IVB-501 acceptance
firing at SACTO
NASA announced on May 27 the selection of two firms for
negotiations of parallel one-year study contracts for integration of experiments
and experiments support equipment in space vehicles and spacecraft involving
manned Apollo Applications missions. Estimated value of each contract was
approximately $1 million.
A static test version of the Saturn V second stage S-II-T
ruptured during pressure tests at MTF on May 28, and five North American
Aviation technicians monitoring the test received minor injuries. The accident
occurred when the hydrogen fuel tank failed under pressure. S-II-T, which
had five hydrogen-oxygen J-2 engines capable of generating one million
pounds of thrust, had been tested May 25 in ground firing but stopped firing
after 195 seconds when a hydrogen link leak caused automatic cutoff. At
time of the explosion, technicians were trying to determine cause for the
hydrogen leak. No hydrogen was in the tank when the explosion occurred.
Under the direction of MSFC, a Board of Inquiry headed by Dr. Kurt H. Debus,
Director of Kennedy Space Center, convened on the night of May 28. Immediate
investigation revealed that the second shift crew, not knowing that the
liquid hydrogen pressure sensors and switches had been disconnected, had
attempted to pressurize the tank. Believing that a liquid hydrogen vent
valve was leaking, the technicians closed the facility by blocking valves.
This had caused the vehicle tank to become over-pressurized and burst.304
304. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, Apr.
1-June 30, 1966, p. 29.
due to overpressurized
liquid hydrogen tank
|On May 30 the board released its findings
after two days of inquiry. The fuel tank of the S-II stage had been pressurized
beyond design limits. There was a need for tighter controls over MTF test
On June 1 the Saturn V third stage (S-IVB-502) flew aboard
the Super Guppy aircraft from the Huntington Beach to SACTO for static
testing. The 33,000-pound Saturn V upper stage, 59 feet long and 21.5 feet
in diameter, was the second to arrive at the Douglas test site.
At Redstone Arsenal MSFC successfully static fired the
second S-IC stage (S-IC-2) of the flight Saturn V launch vehicle for 126.3
seconds and recorded 1,200 measurements of the stage's performance. The
five F-1 engines, four of which were gimballed during this June 7 test,
generated 7.5 million pounds of thrust.305
305. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, Apr.
1-June 30, 1966, p. 19.
Because Hurricane Alma approached Kennedy Space Center on
June 8, it was necessary to interrupt the processing and test activities
of AS-500F and move the vehicle back to the VAB. The hurricane threat passed,
and two days later the vehicle was again back on Pad A.306
306. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, Apr.
1-June 30, 1966, p. 14.
On June 27 NASA announced the conversion of its contract
with Douglas Aircraft Company for development of the Saturn's S-IVB stage
to a CPIF agreement. Under the revised contract, the company's fee would
be increased or decreased depending upon attainment of the incentive for
cost, schedule, and performance. The original contract was a CPFF arrangement.
Estimated cost of the total effort under both portions of the contract
was about $700 million plus fee. To date about $595 million had been funded.
302. Loading sequence of
303. Saturn V and mobile
launcher on crawler emerging
from VAB, KSC
|On June 29 MSFC captive fired both an uprated
Saturn I first stage and an F-1 engine at Redstone Arsenal. At MSFC's East
Test Area technicians fired for a full duration the sixth flight Saturn
booster (S-IB-6). It had previously been tested for 35 seconds on June
22. The S-IB, powered by eight Rocketdyne H-1 engines, produced 1.6 million
pounds of thrust. At the West Test Area MSFC technicians captive fired
the F-1 engine on a first run for about 40 seconds.307
307. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, Apr.
1-June 30, 1966, p. 6.
Following the destruction of S-II-T during a test at MTF,
NASA extended the S-II battleship program until July of 1967. Also during
June there were changes in the launch schedule for the Apollo/Saturn 203
launch. Previously scheduled for June 30, NASA rescheduled it for June
29 because of the scheduled launch of a lunar-anchored interplanetary monitoring
platform Explorer. But by June 29 NASA had rescheduled AS-203 launch because
of electrical problems, so that it would come no earlier than July 5.
At Kennedy Space Center technicians on July 2, 1966, erected
and mated the AS-202 spacecraft. Three days later the twelfth Saturn vehicle,
AS-203, flew from KSC Launch Complex 37B. After one hour, 53 minutes, and
17 seconds of countdown holds, the vehicle lifted off the pad to begin
the second unmanned flight of the uprated Saturn I. The vehicle's second
stage (S-IVB), instrument unit, and nosecone, weighing 58,500 pounds, comprised
the heaviest U.S. satellite ever placed in orbit. Primary mission of this
July 5 flight was an engineering study of liquid hydrogen fuel behavior
during orbit.308, 309
308. MSFC Press Release No. 66-142, June 30, 1966.
309. MSFC, MAF Hist. Report, Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1966,
MSFC technicians installed the S-IC-T stage in the S-IC test
stand at Redstone Arsenal on July 7. Tentative plans called for static
firings, including fuel and LOX loading tests.310
310. MSFC Saturn Flight Evaluation Working Group, Results
of the Second Saturn IB Launch Vehicle Test Flight AS-203 (MPR-SAT-FE-66-12),
On July 8 NASA announced the award of a contract to Federal
Electric Corporation (FEC) of International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation
for technical support of the Saturn launch vehicle reliability program
at MSFC. The cost-plus-award-fee contract would be for one year at an estimated
cost of $1.8 million, with a provision for two additional one-year periods.
The FEC would perform test program analysis, failure mode and effects analysis,
hardware and software failure analysis, and maintainability in human engineering
analysis for MSFC's Quality and Reliability Assurance Laboratory. Most
of the work would be in Huntsville.311
311. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, Apr.
1-June 30, 1966, p. 25.
304. a. Launch of AS-203 from
b. AS-203 in flight, showing
around nose cone
|Acceptance firing of the S-IVB-502 stage
occurred at Sacramento, California, on July 28. The captive firing, conducted
by Douglas Aircraft Company, prime contractor, simulated the operation
of the propulsion system during the burn portion of the flight. The stage
burned 150 seconds, shut down for one and one-half hour simulated coast
period, and then reignited and operated 291 seconds. Such performance would
be required in lunar missions. A J-2 hydrogen-oxygen engine made by Rocketdyne
Division of North American Aviation Company powered the stage.312
312. MSFC Press Release No. 66-152, July 8, 1966.
||305. Acceptance firing of
the S-IVB-502 at Sacramento
NASA Headquarters unconditionally approved J-2 engine
program contract NAS8-19 on July 29. This contract established the provision
for production support effort through December 1968, and for delivery of
the 155 J-2 engines required for the Apollo program. The contract combined
what had been two major J-2 contracts.313 Also on July 29, technicians
at Seal Beach made hydro-static tests of the S-II-3 stage for AS-503. At
Santa Susana technicians conducted a 40-second mainstage test of the S-II
battleship stage. Automatic cutoff initiated from engine number 5, but
data revealed that cutoff occurred erroneously.
313. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V Semiannual
Prog. Report, July 1-Dec. 31, 1966, p. 56.
||306. S-II facilities at
307. Transfer of the S-II-1
from the Point Barrow to
the Pearl River at Michoud
enroute to MTF from Seal Beach
S-II-1, the first flight S-II stage scheduled for static
firing at MTF, left Seal Beach on July 31.
NASA announced on August 1 the signing of a $339 million
supplemental agreement with Chrysler Corporation's Space Division which
increased the contract value by $14 million and converted the uprated Saturn
I first stage production contract from a CPFF to a CPIF contract. The contract,
to continue through February 1969, would involve Chrysler's assumption
of design responsibilty and implementation of a total qualification and
reliability testing plan. Under this contract managed by MSFC, Chrysler
would manufacture, assemble, and test 12 stages.314
314. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V Semiannual
Prog. Report, July 1-Dec. 31, 1966, p. 67.
MSFC announced on August 5 the award of a $23.4 million modification
to an existing contract with North American Aviation Space and Information
Systems Division for additional work in building and testing the Saturn
V launch vehicle's second stage. The contract modification included several
engineering changes, many of which were already completed or under way.
|NASA decided to change the Sacramento-to-KSC
shipping date of the S-IVB-501 from August 2 to August 12. This would meet
the KSC required date and allow additional time for closeout of all open
work prior to shipment. Stage turnover to NASA came in a ceremony at Sacramento
on August 9. On August 11 technicians completed installation of flight
vehicle instrumentation and tank purge operations. The stage then went
aboard the Super Guppy aircraft and departed Sacramento on August 12, as
scheduled, arriving at KSC on August 14, after a one-day delay because
of weather. At KSC the stage went into the VAB low bay where receiving
inspection began immediately.315
315. MSFC MAF, Hist. Report. Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1966,
||308. General view of S-IVB-501
aboard Super Guppy
309. Launch complex 34 at
NASA announced on August 10, 1966, the rescheduling of
the Apollo/uprated Saturn I (AS-202) from August 20 to August 22. During
checkout operations technicians had discovered leaks in liquid hydrogen
fuel line fittings leading to one of the three fuel cells in the spacecraft
service module. The fuel cells would supply electrical power to the spacecraft
during flight. Later, NASA decided to fly the mission with the two remaining
fuel cells which were capable of providing sufficient power for the one
and one-half hour suborbital flight. AS-202 would fly from Launch Complex
34 at KSC.316
316. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V Semiannual
Prog. Report, July 1-Dec. 31, 1966, p. 54.
|The fourth uprated Saturn I (S-IB-4), the
first scheduled to launch a manned Apollo spacecraft, departed Michoud
for KSC, on August 10.
||310. Fourth uprated Saturn
S-IB-4, in first stage of
journey to KSC
NASA announced on August 11 that MSFC would begin negotiations
with the Chrysler Corporation and Douglas Aircraft Company for procurement
of long-lead-time items for additional uprated Saturn I launch vehicles.
Cost of the long-lead-time items was estimated at $5 million to $10 million.
The first flight model (S-II-1) of the Saturn V vehicle's
second stage arrived August 13 at MTF completing its 4,000-mile voyage
from Seal Beach. Workmen immediately moved the stage into the S-II stage
service and checkout building for inspection and preparation for static
||311. S-II-1 arriving at
for acceptance testing
On August 19 NASA selected McDonnell Aircraft Corporation
of St. Louis, Missouri, for negotiations toward a fixed-price contract
estimated at $9 million to provide an S-IVB airlock. The airlock would
permit astronauts access to the empty hydrogen tank of spent uprated Saturn
I second stages.
A LOX line leading to the Saturn V launch pad at KSC ruptured
on August 19, spilling more than 800,000 gallons of LOX. The incident occurred
during the first-stage tanking test and the vacuum created inside the tank
had caused a depression in the tank's 2.5-inch-thick dome.317
317. MSFC Press Release No. 66-182, Aug. 10, 1966.
The S-IU-501 arrived at KSC on August 24.318 Apollo/Saturn
vehicle AS-202, the third vehicle to fly in the uprated Saturn I series,
rose from Launch Complex 34 at Cape Kennedy on August 25. AS-202 was the
thirteenth Saturn vehicle in a row to fly successfully through space.319
This was the second successful flight test of the Apollo spacecraft command
and service modules before earth orbital manned missions. The flight proved
the Apollo command module ablative heat shield by subjecting it to extended
high heat loads during reentry.320
318. NASA Hist. Off., Astronautics and Aeronautics,
1966, SP-4007, p. 272.
319. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V Semiannual
Prog. Report, July 1-Dec. 31, 1966, p. 72.
320. MSFC Saturn Flight Evaluation Working Group, Results
of the Third Saturn IB Launch Vehicle Test Flight AS-202 (MPR-SAT-FE-66-13),
||312. S-IU-501 arrives at
aboard Super Guppy
313. AS-202 rises from KSC
on August 25, 1966
On August 26 MSFC shipped the first Saturn V flight booster
(S-IC-1), scheduled to be launched early in 1967, to the Kennedy Space
Center via the barge Poseidon.
NASA announced on August 28 that the August 19 line rupture
below the 900,000 gallon stainless steel storage tank for the Saturn V
booster's LOX would delay the booster's first flight, scheduled for the
first quarter of 1967, by at least 45 days.
MSFC announced on September 7 that four barges carrying 400,000
gallons of vitally needed liquid oxygen were on route to KSC after being
dispatched from MTF. The shipment, together with 40,000 gallons brought
into KSC by truck and rail tank cars, would replenish the liquid oxygen
lost on August 19 at Launch Complex 39. Schedules called for propellant
loading tests to resume September 20, 1966.
The S-IC-1 arrived at KSC on September 11. Chrysler personnel
at the Test Laboratory in Huntsville captive fired the seventh uprated
Saturn I flight booster for its full two and one-half minute test on September
13. After this successful test, schedules called for MSFC to return the
booster to Michoud for post-static test checks. Chrysler Corporation built
the stage at the New Orleans facility.321
321. NASA Hist. Off., Astronautics and Aeronautics,
1966, SP-4007, p. 277.
||314. S-IC-1 stage arrival
315. S-IU-200S/500S during
structural test, MSFC
Last of the S-IVB-503 factory checkout tests occurred
at Huntington Beach on September 14. The following day at MSFC's P&VE
Laboratory in Huntsville technicians completed all test conditions for
the S-IU-200S/500S-III structural test unit. The final test condition for
the unit was the application of a 140 percent maximum limit compression
load on part of the unit.322
322. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V Semiannual
Prog. Report, July 1-Dec. 31, 1966, p. 26.
On September 23 the first Saturn V flight booster built at
MAF (S-IC-3) departed aboard the barge Poseidon for MSFC to undergo
static firing tests. According to plans technicians would later static-fire
the boosters at MTF.323
323. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V Semiannual
Prog. Report, July 1-Dec. 31, 1966, pp. 58 and 71.
||316. S-IC-3 being loaded
on barge Poseidon for shipment
MSFC announced on September 29 that it had awarded three
new study contracts totalling $400,000 to investigate the launch vehicle
needs and best methods for sending manned spacecraft on planetary flyby
trips; North American Aviation, Inc., received $100,000 to study feasibility
of modifying the Saturn V second stage, S-II, for use as an orbital ejection
stage; Douglas Aircraft Company received $100,000 to study the feasibility
of using Saturn V third stage, S-IVB, as part of a planetary vehicle; and
TRW Systems, Inc., received $200,000 for study of alternative mission modes
for manned Mars and Venus orbital and landing missions.324
324. MSFC, MAF Hist. Report, Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1966,
After successful completion of post-manufacturing checkout
at the Michoud Booster Checkout Facility, the S-IC-3 stage left Michoud
on September 23 and arrived at MSFC on October 1. Unloading operations
began on October 3, and on that same date workmen erected the stage in
the test stand.325
325. MSFC Press Release No. 66-223, Sept. 29, 1966.
The S-IVB-503 stage went from Los Alamitos to Sacramento
via the Super Guppy aircraft on October 11. The stage moved to the Vertical
Checkout Laboratory on October 12, and into the test stand on October 14.
On October 17 MSFC shipped its S-IC all-system test booster,
S-IC-T, to MTF for use in checkout of a static test stand and for use in
static firings. Workmen loaded the huge booster aboard the barge Poseidon
for the 1,000-mile river journey. Six days later the S-IC-T reached MTF.
Meanwhile on October 25, after leaving Michoud a week earlier, the eighth
uprated Saturn I first stage (S-IB-8) reached the MSFC dock for static
firing at MSFC by Chrysler Corporation personnel. Also at MSFC on October
25, NASA awarded the University of Wisconsin a $679,101 contract to develop
sensors for a galactic X-ray mapping experiment to be flown on an uprated
Saturn I launch vehicle in 1968. The sensors would explore X-ray sources
other than the sun and Crab Nebula.
317. S-IC-3 being erected
in the static test stand at MSFC
|NASA announced on October 26 the award to
North American Aviation of a $37 million contract supplement for launch
preparation and checkout of ten Saturn V second stages (S-II). Two days
later NASA awarded a $4.5 million contract modification calling for the
Boeing Company to assume design and procurement responsibilities for certain
structural components and instrumentation of Saturn V first stages built
at Michoud. The components, previously provided by the Government, included
propellant ducts and valves and pressurization switches and gauges.326
326. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V Semiannual
Prog. Report, July 1-Dec. 31, 1966, p. 28.
On November 3 technicians at MSFC completed systems checkout
of the S-IU-502.327
327. MSFC, MAF Hist. Report, Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1966,
The S-II-F/D stage arrived at MSFC on November 10.
||318. Saturn V instrument unit
during systems checkout
319. S-II-F stage being
unloaded at MSFC
Technicians at MSFC successfully acceptance-fired the
S-IC-3 on November 15 for 121.7 seconds mainstage. This was the last planned
firing of the S-IC stage at MSFC. Future firings would be accomplished
at the B-2 stand at MTF.328 On November 16 at MSFC technicians
successfully static fired the eighth uprated Saturn I booster for 35 seconds.329
328. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V Semiannual
Prog. Report, July 1-Dec. 31, 1966, p. 72.
329. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V Semiannual
Prog. Report, July 1-Dec. 31, 1966, p. 30.
On November 17 NASA announced several Apollo/Saturn manned
space flight schedule changes because of launch vehicle and spacecraft
development problems. The principal change called for rescheduling a manned
earth orbital mission, Apollo/Saturn 205, which was to have followed the
first manned Apollo flight, AS-204.330
330. NASA Hist. Off., Astronautics and Aeronautics,
1966, SP-4007, p. 350.
320. S-IC test stand at MTF
321. F-1 engine checkout
|On November 18 NASA approved F-1 engine contract
NAS8-18734 CPIF. This contract provided for 30 F-1 engines needed in the
Apollo program and continued production support and GSE through June 1970.
These 30 F-1 rocket engines furnished by Rocketdyne Division of North American
Aviation would complete the number of engines (106) required by the 15
scheduled Saturn V vehicles, plus spares. The cost would be about $141
million. The delivery of the 30 engines would begin in November, 1967,
and continue through October 1968.331
331. MSFC Press Release No. 66-276, Nov. 17, 1966.
On November 29 a forward bulkhead of the liquid hydrogen
tank for the S-II-3 flight stage suffered damage while the stage was in
the horizontal position. The damage occurred at North American Aviation's
Seal Beach Plant as workmen were removing a work ladder from the tankage
interior. The stage was in position when a 10-foot section of the ladder
dropped, striking the forward bulkhead and causing cracks. The fall resulted
from a weld failure in the ladder retracting mechanism. NASA anticipated
no impact on the S-II-3 delivery date.332
332. MSFC Press Release No. 66-278, Nov. 21, 1966.
||322. Cracks in the liquid
hydrogen tank for the S-II-3
Technicians at MSFC on November 30 static fired the eighth
uprated Saturn I booster successfully in its second test for 145 seconds.
The first stage performed as expected, developing 1.6 million pounds of
333. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V Semiannual
Prog. Report, July 1-Dec. 31, 1966, p. 44.
At MTF on December 1 North American Aviation conducted a
successful 384-second captive firing of five J-2 engines, the first flight
hydrogen-fueled engines, developing a total one million pounds of thrust.
During the test, number 2 and 4 engine SLAM arms did not drop, resulting
in the successful gimballing of engines 1 and 3 only. The test included
the recording of about 800 measurements of the stage's performance, including
propellant tank temperatures, engine temperatures, propellant flow rates,
334. MSFC Press Release No. 66-228, Nov. 30, 1966.
Workmen at MSFC completed stacking of the AS-500D vehicle
on December 3.
Factory checkout of the S-IVB-504 flight stage ended on
December 9 at Huntington Beach.
323. Dynamic vehicle stacked
in the Saturn V Dynamic test
tower at MSFC
|On December 13 a two-stage uprated Saturn
I launch vehicle was shipped to KSC. NASA would launch the vehicle in 1967
in an unmanned test flight of the Apollo lunar module. The booster stage,
S-IB-6, for the AS-206 left Michoud near New Orleans on this date aboard
the barge Palaemon. The Palaemon would deliver its cargo
to KSC on December 19. The second stage, S-IVB-6, went aboard the Super
Guppy aircraft at Mather Air Force Base. Douglas built the S-IVB stage,
at Huntington Beach, California, and tested it at SACTO. Schedules called
for the vehicle's instrument unit to fly on December 19 from MSFC to KSC
aboard the Super Guppy.335
335. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V Semiannual
Prog. Report, July 1-Dec. 31, 1966, p. 39.
An all-systems test version of Apollo/Saturn V first stage,
S-IC-T, went into the B-2 test stand at the Mississippi Test Facility on
December 17. Stage electrical and mechanical hook-up to the test stand
began immediately. Static firing would occur in early 1967 to demonstrate
the facility checkout system.336
336. MSFC Press Release No. 66-294, Dec. 13, 1966.
MSFC announced on December 20 the award of a $7.2 million
contract modification to Chrysler Corporation to begin procurement of long-lead-time
items for additional uprated Saturn I first stages (S-IB). Under this agreement
to be completed by June 30, 1967, Chrysler would procure the materials,
components, and engineering support necessary to maintain its capability
to assemble four uprated Saturn I boosters per year. Chrysler was currently
under contract to assemble and test 12 of the 1.6 million-pound thrust
first stages at Michoud.337
337. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V Semiannual
Prog. Report, July 1-Dec. 31, 1966, p. 25.
MSFC announced on December 28 that NASA had signed a $6,383,720
contract modification with the Missile and Space Systems Division of Douglas
Aircraft Company for long-lead-time items for the upper stages of uprated
Saturn I vehicles. The contract, to be managed by MSFC, was extended through
June 1967. The object of the procurement action was to maintain the option
of ordering additional S-IVB stages for the uprated Saturn I in the future,
without suffering a delay in certain areas where considerable time might
be required for material acquisition and/or manufacturing.
On December 30, 1966, MSFC technicians at the MTF test
stand conducted a static firing of the first flight version of the Saturn
V second stage, S-II-1. This second test firing, like an earlier firing,
lasted more than six minutes. Normal procedure called for the stage to
undergo post-static firing inspection or checkout next at the test site
before being moved to KSC, but in a change of procedure MSFC began preparations
at once to ship the stage to KSC for these checks. Project officials hoped
to gain seven or eight days by performing much of the checkout and modification
work at KSC.338
338. MSFC, MAF Hist. Report, Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1966,