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Author Topic: Saturn V plans lost/destroyed?
The Skeptical Ogre
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I know this is probably a UL but I wanted expert voices to refute it.

According to one version the story, the plans for the Saturn V rocket were destroyed because:

a) NASA didn't want to pay for the storage, or...

b) The government was so determined to kill the moon program, that they didn't want to leave any chance of it being revived.

Of course, the moon hoaxers would probably contend that the gubmint destroyed the plans to hide the fact the thing could never fly. [Laughing out loud]

The alternative version that I heard was that the plans were stored in obsolute computer systems that no one can access. This is almost certainly not true because:

a) The Apollo program was before computer drafting.

b) I doubt that there is a computer system so obsolete that you can't jerry-rig an interface to a newer system.

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Psihala
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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quote:
b) I doubt that there is a computer system so obsolete that you can jerry-rig an interface to a newer system.
Tell that to the Jet Propulsion Lab. I don't have the issue of Air & Space Magazine at hand, but there was an article about JPL scrambling to save data about one of the deep space probes (Either Pioneer or Voyager) because the data was collected on obsolete equipment. It isn't so much the interface, but the data format and the medium it was stored on that was the issue.

I don't have an authoritive answer to the question about the plans - but with at least three existing Saturn V rockets (one, at Kennedy having just fairly recently been completely restored) - I have to believe that even if there were no written plans it would be possible to reverse engineer a lot of it, or modify their design to more modern standards using those three rockets as guides.

~Psihala

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StealthPost™

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Psihala
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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To edit or not to edit... that is the question.

Oh, hell... found this exchange at http://files.chatnfiles.com/Space%20and%20Astronomy/TEXT/SPACEDIG/V16_3/V16NO362.TXT

This is the relevant snippet from the article...

quote:

Date: 24 Mar 93 14:49:57 GMT
From: Gary Coffman
Subject: Can we still build the Saturn V?
Newsgroups: sci.space

In article drumhell@claudette.nrl.navy.mil (David Drumheller) writes:

It always appeared to me that for boosting large payloads (e.g. a space station or portion thereof) the shuttle is far too expensive. Therefore, people have suggested the `big dumb booster.' Yet others have said the development of such a booster would be expensive.

My counter argument to this is to dust off the old blueprints for the Saturn series and start building them again. The technology may be close
>to 30 years old, but so what? They worked. And there would be almost no development cost.

However, a friend of mine said that NASA(and/or the contractors) lost the blueprints? Is this true? Have other's suggested the use of the Saturn series, and then found that the plans have been lost?

(Gary's answer)
quote:

The Saturn plans are still at Huntsville. However, the contractor infrastructure is gone, many subassemblies were farmed out to small shops that are either out of business or who have long since discarded the necessary tooling. It's estimated it would cost at least $16 billion to retool to produce Saturns to the old plans.

It should also be noted that Saturn didn't have very many flights, so reliability statistics are not available. This is a similar problem to that facing Energia. Many NASA and contractor engineers
believe we were incredibly lucky with the Apollo program and that if it had continued we would have inevitably lost missions. Also Saturn launches were expensive. They cost about $550 million in *1967* dollars. A 1993 dollar is worth 12.5 cents in 1967 dollars so multiply costs by 8 to get current pricing.

In reality you wouldn't want to reproduce Saturn in any event. There have been sufficient advances in most of the flight systems since Saturn was designed that a clean sheet of paper approach would be better. It wouldn't be possible to get the avionics components used, they are no longer made. So new flight systems would be required.
The F1 engine could be resurrected fairly cheaply, but better engine designs exist. And tankage is pretty much tankage, though the pogoing
problem of Saturn was never really solved. Saturn was designed in the days of slide rules and drafting boards. With today's advanced design tools, CAD and CADCAM, finite structural analysis, etc, a lighter, stronger version could be designed with considerable confidence that it would work to near spec.

(*snip)
Gary

~Psihala

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StealthPost™

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The Skeptical Ogre
The Red and the Green Stamps


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That makes sense. I knew that even if we had the plans, it would hardly be simple matter to just start building Saturn boosters again. (Never mind the fact that the Saturn V launch site, Pad 39, and the Vehicle Assembly Building would have to be retrofitted from its current configuration, which would kind of hinder the shuttle program.
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The Skeptical Ogre
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Psihala:
quote:
b) I doubt that there is a computer system so obsolete that you can jerry-rig an interface to a newer system.
Tell that to the Jet Propulsion Lab. I don't have the issue of Air & Space Magazine at hand, but there was an article about JPL scrambling to save data about one of the deep space probes (Either Pioneer or Voyager) because the data was collected on obsolete equipment. It isn't so much the interface, but the data format and the medium it was stored on that was the issue.
But they did do it, right?

quote:
I don't have an authoritive answer to the question about the plans - but with at least three existing Saturn V rockets (one, at Kennedy having just fairly recently been completely restored) - I have to believe that even if there were no written plans it would be possible to reverse engineer a lot of it, or modify their design to more modern standards using those three rockets as guides.

~Psihala

From what I've heard, only the Saturn V at Huntsville was an actual flight-ready booster. The other two were just mock-ups.
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abbubmah
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Who needs to rebuild the Sat-V?

Everybody else has new models. Cheaper.

Uncle "safer... better... cheaper..." Bubba

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Fundamentally Unfundie since 1975

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Psihala
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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quote:
I said:
Tell that to the Jet Propulsion Lab. I don't have the issue of Air & Space Magazine at hand, but there was an article about JPL scrambling to save data about one of the deep space probes (Either Pioneer or Voyager) because the data was collected on obsolete equipment. It isn't so much the interface, but the data format and the medium it was stored on that was the issue.

quote:
Posted by The Skeptical Ogre:
But they did do it, right?


I don't rightly know... the artical was written mid-recovery to the best of my recollections, but the implication was it was going to be a pretty daunting task...

quote:
Originally posted by The Skeptical Ogre:
From what I've heard, only the Saturn V at Huntsville was an actual flight-ready booster. The other two were just mock-ups.

I wondered... in another thread I'd asked about this because of something I'd read in Gordon Cooper's book. On the other hand, I've got pictures of Saturn V's under construction at Huntsville and pictures of the Kennedy S-V under restoration and it seemed to me a lot of the innards are present in the Kennedy S-V for being just a mock-up. I appreciate your input, though.

~Psihala

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StealthPost™

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Astra
The "Was on Sale" Song


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The KSC model was an actual Saturn V. It was built to be used in the later manned missions, which were then called off. I think they removed some of the components, but it was pretty much a full rocket. I was there when they were doing the refurb on it.

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This has been yet another... USELESS POST.

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