The US Space Park (continued)

 II. United States Space Park


US Space Park Elevated View


These heavy space vehicles are being developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under the project name "Saturn." The Saturn project is providing vehicles capable of sending payloads of many tons into Earth orbit, to the Moon and into deep space. The main purpose of the project is manned space exploration, including the landing of men and equipment on the Moon within this decade. The Saturn development program is under the direction of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The smallest vehicle, Saturn I, has a booster developing 1.5 million pounds thrust. This development program was started in late 1958. The initial Saturn I booster with inert upper stages was launched on a perfect flight over the Atlantic Missile Range Oct. 27, 1961. The second, third and forth launchings, on April 25, and Nov. 16, 1962, March 28, 1963 and Jan 29, 1964 were likewise successful.

The largest Saturn vehicle, Saturn V, will have a booster of 7.5 million pounds thrust. The program was initiated in January, 1962.

In addition to these two basic Saturn vehicles, the Saturn IB will be used. The IB will consist of the first stage of the Saturn I and the third stage of the Saturn V. The IB will be capable of delivering 16 tons to low Earth orbit, compared to 11 tons for the Saturn I. Both will be used in early phases of the Apollo program, while the Saturn V will be used for the Moon landing.

All Saturn boosters or first stages used as propellants RP-1 (kerosene) and liquid oxygen, whereas all upper stage use the high energy combination of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.

Saturn I consists of two stages, S-I and S-IV. There is a 10-vehicle research and development flight test program. In the first four, only the booster was "live." In the remaining ones, the booster (S-I) and the second stage (S-IV) are live. The first live upper stage launch was made on January 29, 1964, successfully placing in orbit the spent second stage and inert ballast weighing a total of 37,700 pounds. The second live launch was made on May 26, 1964.

The initial Saturn I test rocket weighted about 925,000 pounds when fueled. The later Saturn I, with a live second stage and Apollo payload, weighted 1,130,000 pounds. The vehicle placed a boiler plate Apollo spacecraft into low Earth orbit in preparation for the lunar voyages that will follow. Its Earth orbital capability is about 22,000 pounds.

Following are the descriptions of the Saturn I stages:

S-I: the Saturn I first stage or booster, called S-I, is powered by a cluster of eight H-1 engines, each of which produces 188,000 pounds of thrust to give a total of 1,500,000 pounds, or 32,000,000 horsepower. The booster is 21 1/2 feet in diameter and 82 feet in length. Empty weight is slightly less than 100,000 pounds.

The H-1 engine, an advanced and compact offspring of the Jupiter and Thor engines, was selected because of its relative simplicity, early availability, and proven reliability. It burns RP-1 kerosene fuel and liquid oxygen.

S-IV: The second stage of the Saturn I vehicle, known as S-IV, is powered by six RL-10 engines, each having 15,000 pounds thrust. This is the same engine that is used for the Centaur space vehicle.

The S-IV stage is 18 feet in diameter and about 40 feet in length, with propellant capacity of 100,000 pounds. Since this stage uses the super-cold fuel, liquid hydrogen, the design includes many innovations.

The Saturn V consists of three stage, the first stage having 7.5 million pounds thrust -- five times more than the Saturn I first stage. This vehicle will be capable of placing about 120 tons in Earth orbit and sending about 45 tons to the vicinity of the Moon. The rocket will weigh more than six million pounds at liftoff.

Following is a description of the Saturn V stages:

S-IC: The Saturn V booster, or S-IC stage, is approximately 138 feet in length and 33 feet in diameter. The basic configuration will be cylindrical, with separate propellant tanks. Suction lines from the forward liquid oxygen tank will pass through tunnels in the fuel tank to the engine. Dry weight of the stage will be about 280,000 pounds, with a propellant capacity of about 4,400,000 pounds.

Structural configuration for the stage propellant tanks will be an all-welded assembly of cylindrical ring segments with dome-shaped bulkheads. Both propellant tanks will include slosh baffles over the full depth of the liquids.

The propulsion system will use five F-1 engines for a total thrust of 7,500,000 pounds. The F-1, under development for NASA, has been static fired at full thrust (1.5 million pounds) for full flight duration (about 2 1/2 minutes). The first production engine is scheduled for delivery in 1964.

S-II: The second, S-II stage will measure abut 82 feet long and 33 feet in diameter and have a propellant capacity of 930,000 pounds. The basic configuration will be cylindrical, with an insulated common bulkhead separating the liquid oxygen tank and forward hydrogen tank.

The propulsion system will use five J-2 engines, providing a total of 1,000,000 pounds thrust.

Four engines will be placed in a square pattern, with the fifth engine rigidly fixed in the center.

S-IVB: The third stage for the Saturn V configuration will be identified as the S-IVB stage which measures about 21 1/2 feet in diameter and about 58 feet in length. The tankage is sized for about 230,00 pounds of propellant for orbital operations, which includes an allowance for boil-off and power during orbital coast.

One J-2 engine, providing about 200,000 pounds of thrust at altitude, will be gimbaled for pitch and yaw control. auxiliary propulsion systems provide attitude control during coast.


Visitors to the New York World's Fair this year are treated to an upward look at the "business end" of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's mammoth Saturn V Moon rocket.

A full-size mock-up of the thrust structure of the three-stage rocket's booster, the S-IC stage, rests on four support piers with the five huge F-1 engines 12 feet above the ground.

Fair visitors are able to walk beneath the 52-foot-tall structure and gaze upward into the nozzles of the 10-ton engines, which will give the real Saturn V booster a total thrust of 7.5 million pounds.

A complete booster will be 138 feet tall and 33 feet in diameter . With all three stages assembled and the Apollo spacecraft mounted atop, the Saturn V will tower some 360 feet into the sky.

The Saturn V is being developed as the vehicle which will send the Apollo spacecraft and three astronauts to the Moon before 1970.

At the base of the exhibit is an Apollo Command Module to show visitor show the three astronauts will ride to the Moon, and a Lunar Excursion Module, the vehicle known as the "bug" which will lower two astronauts from lunar orbit to the Moon's surface.

The Command Module, Lunar Excursion Module and a third section, the Service Module, containing instrumentation and a propulsion system, make up the Apollo spacecraft..


Liftoff -- The trip to the Moon will start at Cape Kennedy, Fla., when the Saturn V rises from the launch pad. The booster, or S-1C stage, drops away after burning and cutoff. The escape tower is discarded after second stage ignition.

The second stage is also separated after burnout. A partial burn of the single J-2 engine in the third, or S-IVB, stage is necessary to place this stage and the Apollo Spacecraft into a "parking" Earth orbit.

Injection Into Lunar Trajectory -- At least 1 1/2 revolutions around the Earth will be required to reach the proper launch "window" (most direct line toward the Moon), to check out the spacecraft, and to determine that everything is ready to commit the spacecraft to the mission. When the decision is made to go, the third stage engine will be ignited again to reach the escape velocity of about 25,000 miles per hour.

Apollo Spacecraft --The Apollo Spacecraft has three major parts. the Command Module carries the crew, plus guidance and control instrumentation. The Command Module will weigh about five tons and measure 12 feet high. The Service Module, containing the primary spacecraft propulsion elements, will weigh about 23 tons and measure 23 feet high. The third element is the Lunar Excursion Module, or "Bug." It will weigh about 15 tons and stand about 20 feet tall. In addition to its scientific instruments, communications, and guidance systems, the Bug will carry two astronauts to and from the lunar surface and the orbiting Command-Service modules.

When the proper Earth-to-Moon trajectory has been established, fairings which have shielded the Bug are released. The Command-Service modules are separated from the Lunar Excursion Module-third stage, and turned 180 degrees, then mated nose-to-nose with the Bug. This will be done by "flying" the Command-Service Module to its re-oriented position through attitude control. After this maneuver the third stage is jettisoned.

The crew makes navigation checks by taking bearings on the Earth, Moon, and stars, and corrects the spacecraft's course, if necessary. The pull of Earth's gravity will slow the vehicle's speed to about 6,500 miles an hour after one day, and 1,500 miles an hour after two days. As the Moon looms nearer, its gravitational pull becomes stronger, and the craft begins to fall toward the Moon, gaining velocity.

Entering Lunar Orbit -- A number of mid-course maneuvers may be required to place the spacecraft into position for braking into a precise, circular lunar orbit. Approximately 72 hours after liftoff, the Service Module propulsion unit will ignite, slowing the entire spacecraft into a precise circular orbit about 60 miles above the moon.

Entering landing Ellipse and Landing -- After preparing the Bug for descent to the lunar surface, the two lunar explorers will transfer to the Bug through the hatch at the connection points of the two vehicles. Once they are transferred, the Bug will separate from the Command-Service modules, which will remain in lunar orbit.

The Bug's propulsion system will place the two-man ship into a trajectory having the same period as the Command-Service Modules but with a lower perigee of approximately 60,000 feet. This low perigee permits a close examination of the intended landing site. It also enables the Bug and the mother ship to come closely together twice during each orbit. This would be a natural position for rendezvous if for any reason the situation calls for an aborted mission.

After a carefully blended combination of manual control and automatic system operation, retro-maneuver will be executed, bringing the Bug out of lunar orbit. It drops to within 100 feet of the Moon.

The explorers will be aided by maps, reconnaissance data and possibly a previously landed beacon. The Bug can maneuver laterally 1,000 feet to get in the best possible position of lunar touchdown. Descent to the surface is probably the most critical phase of the entire operation. Fortunately, the Bug will be small and will be designed specifically for landing, rather than for both landing and re-entry.

The Bug will have a reasonable amount of glass area so that the landing maneuver can be under visual control of the two astronauts. During the landing maneuver, the Command-Service Module with the one astronaut aboard will always be in line of sight and radio communication with the Bug.

Once lunar touchdown has been completed, and before taking any other action, the two explorers will prepare for re-launching. They will be assisted by the astronaut in the mother ship and information transmitted from Earth.

Lunar Exploration --When the first astronaut steps from the Bug and sets foot on the Moon, it will transcend in significance the moment of discovery of continents or oceans here on Earth. Manned exploration of the Moon is a logical extension of unmanned lunar exploration. Man's judgment and ability to make unscheduled observations make him a valuable means for gathering information. Much of the lunar exploration will be geologic in nature. It will include mapping, photography, observation of surface characteristics, core and surface sampling, seismic measurements, and radiation measurements. The Bug will carry about 200 pounds of equipment for this purpose.

Lunar Liftoff -- Once the decision has been made to re-launch the Bug, the crew will fire the launching engine at a precisely determined instant while the mother ship is within line of sight. The landing stage in effect becomes a lunch pad, a "Lunar Kennedy," and such items as fuel tanks for landing gear itself will be left on the lunar surface.

Lunar Orbit Rendezvous -- At liftoff the Bug's engine propels the module up a trajectory which enables it to rendezvous with the mother ship. During the ascent maneuver, there will be radar and visual contact between the Lunar Excursion Module and the Command-Service Module. A flashing light on the mother ship will aid visual acquisition. When Bug and mother craft are about three miles apart, the Bug will re-orient itself, coming into the correct position for nose-to-nose rendezvous with the mother craft. When the two are joined, the Lunar Excursion Module crew will transfer into the Command Module, and the Bug will be detached and abandoned in lunar orbit.

The Return -- After the Command and Service Modules are thoroughly checked out, the Service Module, with a 20,000 pound thrust engine, will provide the propulsion to break out of lunar orbit and onto the proper return trajectory. Mid-course correction is made, if necessary, using the propulsion system in the Service Module.

On return to the Earth, a very precise trajectory must be flown to bring the spacecraft into position for a 25,000 mile-per-hour re-entry. Too shallow an approach and the Earth is missed entirely; too steep an approach and the spacecraft plunges directly into the atmosphere. The reentry corridor is only 40 miles wide, yet must not be missed from a distance of 250,00 miles away. (In comparison, this is like a rifleman with a .22 standing at one end of a football field and hitting a nickel at the other, with both rifleman and nickel moving.)

Just before entering the Earth's atmosphere the Service Module is jettisoned and the five-ton Command Module, containing the three crewmen, turns around, facing its blunt end forward. The angle of attack at re-entry will be about 30 degrees. Heating rates several times those experienced during Project Mercury may be encountered. NASA is hopeful that, by the first Apollo flight, it will be able to overcome the ionization problems and retain spacecraft communication throughout re-entry.

Drogue chutes will be deployed at 5,000 feet. Pressure and friction of the atmosphere slow the module. Final braking of capsule will be by three 85-foot-diameter parachutes, unless the Gemini program proves that a paraglider or a Rogallo wing is feasible.

Radar and optical instruments track the capsule to the predesignated landing area. The astronauts will aim for an area the size of a large airport. A number of sites in the United States plains states are being considered by the Manned Spacecraft Center, which is seeking a flat area with generally good visibility and few of the restrictions prosed by a dense population.

Source: Fair Publication: "Science at the Fair"

Photo: Robert J Yowell Collection, courtesy of NASA

Outside the US Space Park

Source: Photo courtesy of Craig Bavaro

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