Thanks for posting that informative piece on the Saturn V.  In Japan, there is a temple made of local pine that is periodically burned to the ground and rebuilt.  The rationale is the technology and "know how" (i.e., the important details not on the blueprints) to make a replacement are thus passed along to future generations.  I note that the abstract below was presented over ten years ago.  The last time an F-1 engine was fired was over 30 years ago.


At 01:15 PM 9/7/2003 -0400, LARRY KLAES wrote:

That all the blueprints were destroyed is, I believe, an urban legend.

The following annotations from my Romance to Reality website ( might go some way toward answering Mr. Bradbury's questions.

"The Saturn V F-1 Engine Revisited," AIAA 92-1547, B. W. Shelton and T. Murphy; paper presented at the AIAA Space Programs and Technologies Conference, March 24-27, 1992, Huntsville, Alabama.

The authors are engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and the Rocketdyne Division of Rockwell, respectively. Marshall designed the Saturn V rocket which propelled Americans to the moon, while Rocketdyne built the F-1 engine. Saturn V had five F-1 rocket engines in its first stage - together they developed 7.5 million pounds of thrust. Sixty-five F-1 engines launched thirteen Saturn Vs from 1967 to 1973 with "100% success." Shelton and Murphy point out that the SEI Synthesis Group recommended considering the F-1 for use on SEI heavy-lift rockets. They propose changes in the F-1 design reflecting 20 years of manufacturing and materials advancements to produce an upgraded F-1A engine. Upgrades include strengthening the engine bell, thrust chambers, and turbine exhaust manifold, and replacing undesirable materials such as asbestos. Suppliers exist for all major parts, and Rocketdyne has 300 active personnel who participated in F-1 production, test, and flight operations in the Apollo era. Five spare F-1s in storage are available as "tooling aids" and "pathfinders" for test stand activation. The authors point out that the Atlas and Delta production lines were revived after shutdowns lasting about 20 years. Shelton and Murphy estimate that reviving the production line and test facilities will cost about $500 million, and each F-1A engine will cost $15 million if eight engines are manufactured per year.

"Launch Vehicles for the Space Exploration Initiative," AIAA 92-1546, Stephen Cook and Uwe Hueter; paper presented at the AIAA Space Programs and Technologies Conference conference held in Huntsville, Alabama, March 24-27, 1992.

NASA's Exploration Program Office (ExPO) launched the First Lunar Outpost (FLO) study in late 1991. Initially, ExPO invoked an Earth-orbit rendezvous (EOR) mission scenario using four heavy-lift rockets, each capable of placing 120 tons into low-Earth orbit (LEO), to establish its lunar outpost. By the time this paper was presented, however, ExPO had opted for a direct ascent mission profile using two heavy-lifters, each capable of placing more than 200 tons into LEO. The authors, engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, note that this is roughly twice the requirement imposed on the Saturn V rocket used to launch Apollo missions to the moon. The authors analyze FLO launcher configurations based on both Saturn V and projected National Launch System (NLS) technology. They assume that the FLO booster will eventually launch piloted Mars missions (thus raising the LEO payload requirement to about 250 tons). Both the NLS and Saturn V-derived vehicles use an upgraded version of the Saturn V F1 engine designated F1-A.

Saturn V-derived launcher: The 12.4 million pound rocket includes two strap-on boosters with two F1-A engines each, a stretched first stage derived from the Saturn V S-IC stage, a stretched second stage derived from the Saturn V S-II, and an upper stage for Trans-Lunar Injection (TLI) with one engine derived from the Saturn V J-2 engine. The Saturn V used for Apollo moon missions stood 363 feet tall; the FLO derivative stands 40 feet taller (403.2 feet). The rocket can place 254 tons into LEO and launch 95 tons out of LEO to the moon.

NLS-derived launcher: The 12.4 million pound rocket includes four strap-on boosters with two F1-A engines each, an "NLS Core" consisting of a stretched Space Shuttle External Tank with four engines derived from the Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME), and a TLI stage with one SSME. The NLS-derived FLO launcher stands 372 feet tall. The rocket can place 265 tons into LEO and launch 95 tons out of LEO to the moon. Both designs could be launched from Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, the authors find. They assume that NASA will launch two FLO missions per year, each requiring two FLO heavy-lift rocket launches, and will fly eight Space Shuttle missions per year during the FLO Program. They find that new facilities and changes to existing ones, such as the twin Complex 39 Shuttle launch pads and Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), are required.

New facilities include a Lunar Payload Encapsulation Building for placing FLO landers inside their streamlined launch shrouds. A new Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) Stacking Building would permit SRB operations to be moved from their current place in the VAB to make room for FLO stage stacking. Alternately, a new Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) sized to assemble eventual Mars program rockets might take on FLO payload encapsulation and stacking, leaving the VAB largely unchanged. A VIF will eventually become necessary because the VAB doors are too narrow to pass a Mars booster, the authors assert.

Pad 39A modifications include flame deflector enlargement and a new slidewire escape system. The latter is necessary because the existing Shuttle system provides emergency egress from a point more than 200 feet below the height of the FLO crew capsule (that is, at the height of the Shuttle crew hatch). A taller Mobile Servicing Structure gantry tower will have to be constructed to replace the Saturn V gantries shortened in the 1970s for the Space Shuttle Program. The existing crawler/transporter, built in the 1960s to move Saturn V rockets from the VAB to the Complex 39 pads and subsequently used to move Shuttles, is too small to transport FLO and Mars rockets, so a new, larger crawler/transporter will be required.


David S. F. Portree
Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

Reply via email to