U. S. Space & Rocket Center

Huntsville, Alabama

Large-scale photographs from a visit on 13 March 2011.  Click on an image to view in high resolution.

 

The Saturn V full-size mock-up outside of the U. S. Space and Rocket Center.

Saturn V full-size mock-up

Saturn V full-size mock-up

The five F-1 engines of the Saturn V first stage booster.  Each engine develops 1.5 millions pounds of thrust.  The F-1 engine burned kerosene (RP-1) and liquid oxygen (LOX). 

F-1 engines of the Saturn V first stage booster

F-1 engines of the Saturn V first stage booster

One of the most amazing aspects of the Saturn V first stage is that these giant rocket motors were gimbaled, that is, they were movable to steer the rocket during lift-off. 

F-1 engines of the Saturn V first stage booster

F-1 engines of the Saturn V first stage booster

This is a more detailed view of the Saturn V F-1 engine.  The large pipe that wraps around the exit orifice of the nozzle is the exhaust of the pump turbines.  The turbine exhaust gas was dumped into the thrust chamber. 

F-1 engines of the Saturn V first stage booster

F-1 engines of the Saturn V first stage booster

This is the top of the Saturn V F-1 engine.  The three red circular inlet covers delivered, from left-to-right, RP-1 kerosene, LOX, and RP-1.  The engine used regenerative cooling with the RP-1 flowing through tubes in the exhaust chamber to provide cooling before being injected into the engine.  The engine consumed 1 ton of fuel and 2 tons of LOX per second! 

The photo on the right shows the injector plate inside the thrust chamber.  The little baffles were added to eliminate combustion instability that plagued the engine during development.  With the baffles in place, the engine ran smoothly (for a rocket engine) with the fuel burning steadily. 

F-1 engines of the Saturn V first stage booster

F-1 engine injector plate of the Saturn V first stage booster

The Saturn V second stage was powered by five Rocketdyne J-2 engines.  The J-2 engine burned LOX and liquid hydrogen (LH-2), two cryogenic fuels; and took the Apollo Saturn to a speed of 15,300 MPH and an altitude of 114.5 miles. 

Saturn V second stage was powered by five Rocketdyne J-2 engines

Saturn V second stage was powered by five Rocketdyne J-2 engines

The Saturn V third stage used a single Rocketdyne J-2 engine.  The J-2 engine took Apollo Saturn into earth orbit and then was restarted, accelerating Apollo to escape velocity and a lunar trajectory. 

Saturn V third stage Rocketdyne J-2 engine

Saturn V third stage Rocketdyne J-2 engine

The J-2 engine provided 225,000 pounds of thrust. 

Saturn V third stage Rocketdyne J-2 engine

Saturn V third stage Rocketdyne J-2 engine

The Saturn V instrumentation unit was positioned above the 3rd-stage booster and below the faring containing the lunar module.  This ring held computers and sensors to guide the Saturn V during launch and the translunar insertion burn. This was the brain of the rocket. 

Saturn V instrumentation unit

Saturn V instrumentation unit

 

Saturn V instrumentation unit


The lunar rover (LRV) was an amazing vehicle that flew on the Apollo 15, 16, and 17 missions.  Developed in a very short period of time, it was far more sophisticated than it appears. 

Apollo  lunar rover (LRV) vehicle

Apollo  lunar rover (LRV) vehicle

Every component of the LRV was designed to be a light as possible, even the "tires."  Each wheel was powered by its own individual electric motor. 

Apollo  lunar rover (LRV) vehicle

Apollo  lunar rover (LRV) vehicle

The actual lunar rover was optimized only for use on the moon in 1/6 gravity.  Astronauts could not sit in the vehicle on earth without breaking it. 

The left photo clearly shows the seat belts which the astronauts needed and which were enhanced after the first mission since the terrain was sufficiently rough and the LRV sufficiently speedy that falling out of the vehicle was a real danger. 

The right photo shows the console and the steering control, optimized for an astronaut-driver wearing a pressurized EVA suit and heavy gloves. 

Apollo  lunar rover (LRV) vehicle

Apollo  lunar rover (LRV) vehicle

A great account of the Apollo rover may be found in Lunar and Planetary Rovers: The Wheels of Apollo and the Quest for Mars, by Anthony Young (Springer, 2007).  Here's a link to the Springer web site page. 

Apollo  lunar rover (LRV) vehicle

Apollo  lunar rover (LRV) vehicle

The left photo shows the batteries and batter covers.  The right photo shows the rear of the vehicle with the tool pallet.  Note that all four wheels were steerable. 

Apollo  lunar rover (LRV) vehicle

Apollo  lunar rover (LRV) vehicle

The rover was equipped with a remotely-controlled television camera.  When stopped, the astronauts would align the high-gain antenna with earth and then the camera could be panned & zoomed by mission control.  This allowed the geologists in Houston to actively participate in the exploration. 

Apollo  lunar rover (LRV) vehicle

Apollo  lunar rover (LRV) vehicle


The U. S. Space & Rocket Center has on exhibit a mission simulator from the Gemini program.  This is one simulator in which the astronauts trained for their missions involving rendezvous, docking, and orbital maneuvering -- all techniques needed for Apollo. 

mission simulator from the Gemini program

mission simulator from the Gemini program

 

mission simulator from the Gemini program

mission simulator from the Gemini program

Imagine being in this spacecraft for a two-week mission!

mission simulator from the Gemini program

mission simulator from the Gemini program


This is a large-scale illustration of the World War II German A-4 ballistic missile that when used as a weapon was known as the V-2.  The illustration was done by Friedrich Duerr in 1944 and was captured by U. S. forces upon the defeat of Germany. 

World War II German A-4 ballistic missile that when used as a weapon was known as the V-2

World War II German A-4 ballistic missile that when used as a weapon was known as the V-2

 

World War II German A-4 ballistic missile that when used as a weapon was known as the V-2

World War II German A-4 ballistic missile that when used as a weapon was known as the V-2

The drawing on the right is from the

U. S. Army "Operation Backfire" which documented the use of the V-2 weapon. 

World War II German A-4 ballistic missile that when used as a weapon was known as the V-2

The Army Redstone missile owed much to the A-4 example.  On the right in the left-hand photo is an A-4 rocket engine.  The Redstone engine is on the left in this photo.  The A-4 engine burned LOX and alcohol, producing 56,000 pounds or thrust, boosting the rocket to an altitude of about 60 miles and delivering its payload to a distance of about 200 to 250 miles. 

The right-hand photo shows the injector plate of the A-4 engine. 

German A-4 rocket engine and a U. S. Army Redstone engine

German A-4 rocket engine injector plate

The U. S. Army's Redstone engine also burned LOX and alcohol, producing 78,000 pounds of thrust, lifting the rocket to an altitude of 55 miles and a range of 200 miles.  The Redstone missile was man-rated for use in the Mercury program. 

The photo on the right show the injector plate for the Redstone engine. 

U. S. Army Redstone rocket engine

U. S. Army Redstone rocket engine injector plate

This is a gyroscope from a Redstone rocket.  Gyroscopes were used for attitude control during the boost phase of the flight. 

gyroscope from a Redstone rocket

 
The Redstone ballistic missile (left in the left photo) and the Jupiter-C were closely related from an engineering perspective.  This Jupiter-C is configured like the rocket which placed the first U. S. satellite into orbit in 1958.  The right-hand photo is a replica of the Explorer I satellite payload atop a Jupiter-C booster.  

Redstone ballistic missile and the Jupiter-C

Jupiter-C satellite launch vehicle

 

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