Robert, Joe, et al.,


We've been down this road before. Even if the folklore (?) about the blueprints being stored in a trailer that burned is true, there is at least one Saturn V left--on display at Johnson Space Center in Houston, possibly yet another in Huntley, Alabama--that could be reverse-engineered. They were marvelous, flawless craft. That we have to go through so many contortions now to justify a probe to Europa is ample testimony that the technology they represented is sorely missed. Blame Nixon--he's the one that cancelled Apollo in favor of the Shuttle, on the dubious claim that they would make great launch vehicles for spy satellites, etc. Maybe they have, but I don't think so. Recall that Apollo was a JFK project, and Nixon was not one of his biggest fans. We all suffer now for the short-sighted views of a single, powerful man.

Gary

At 10:58 PM 9/5/2003 -0600, you wrote:

Robert,

The biggest problem is that even if you had the blueprints it still
wouldn't work right.  The techniques used in manufacturing the Saturn
are forever lost.  We have newer (and supposedly better) ways of
building things.  A lot of things have just changed too much.

Now with that said, if the Rocketdyne people kept anything about how the
engines were built, then we could design a HLLV (heavy lift launch
vehicle) that could lift significantly more than the Saturn did.  We now
have lightweight and strong composites.  Even if the craft were not
reusable, at $250 Million a launch the craft would be cheap.

Joe L.

On Fri, 2003-09-05 at 16:55, Robert J. Bradbury wrote:
> The recent release of the CAIB report has caused both
> hearings in Congress as well as lots of speculations,
> e.g.:
>
> http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/09/05/1731237&mode=thread&tid=134&tid=160&tid=98&tid=99
>
> Obviously if we had inexpensive heavy lift capacity today, the
> entire debate about what to send to Europa (or Pluto) and when
> to send it would be very very different.
>
> The most interesting comment I found in the above URL:
>
> "When NASA killed Saturn, they killed more than the vehicle. Rocketyne
> engineers did an analysis, and the engines on the Saturn 5 were so
> overengineered that they could have been re-used 13 times each without
> overhaul before being refurbished! The Saturn 5 system, if built today
> with modern technology and some basic return features could be built for
> about 100 million each after initial investment! That's 100 TONS of lift
> that could be made reusable (imagine putting a giant deoployable para-sail
> on the beast) and could lift payloads as wide as 30 ft across. Two of
> these launches could have put the entire ISS as it currently is configured
> in orbit!"
>
> Does anyone know if this claim is valid and what the source might be?
>
> I have heard that the Saturn 5 blueprints were destroyed -- does anyone
> know if this claim is valid or an urban legend?
>
> If these claims are true, does anyone know who is most directly
> responsible for the termination of the knowledge of how to build
> a Saturn 5 -- and whether they are still alive -- because I'd
> certainly like to contact them and give them a piece of my mind.
>
> (A related but slightly different conversation vector is whether or
> not Russia still has the ability to build the Energia since it is
> the most recently flown rocket that might be considered to have
> heavy lift capacity.)
>
> Robert
>
>
>
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