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Anonymous Poster #1

Saturn V

09/25/2013 12:30 PM

Future space projects cite the need for heavy lifting but leave the method as undecided. They seem to ignore the fact that the Saturn V was/is a proven technology, is there a reason the S-V cannot be used again ? Updated, or as built ? Why re-invent ?

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#1

Re: Saturn V

09/25/2013 1:01 PM

The rumor I heard was that the fabrication documentation for the Saturn V was lost. Certainly the hands on knowledge of how to build this tremendous machine has been lost over time.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Saturn V

09/25/2013 1:07 PM

Is there not one on display that could be used to re-create ? The Japanese and Chinese made an art out of reverse engineering.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Saturn V

09/25/2013 1:24 PM

Yes. As the article I linked to points out there are two static display C-5 rockets. However one should not underestimate the cost and complexity of reverse engineering any old machine. Since these machines have not been maintained for imminent flight there is a lot of uncertainty in the functionality of what we do have. Don't forget that these machines were also built under the now rare contract of "cost plus" across multiple manufacturers. It is very likely that a reverse engineering project would be more expensive than starting from scratch.

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#33
In reply to #3

Re: Saturn V

10/02/2013 12:12 PM

the article refers to refined kerosene and lox. Do you know if there is a differece between that kerosene and what we refer to as jet fuel? I am still impressed at the amount of energy released by kerosene.

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#35
In reply to #33

Re: Saturn V

10/02/2013 1:26 PM

Maybe one of the retired engineers that took the paper documents home 40 years ago knows. I certainly don't.

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#37
In reply to #33

Re: Saturn V

10/02/2013 2:11 PM

It burned RP-1 which is tightly refined kerosene.

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Saturn V

09/25/2013 1:26 PM

Yeah, got one on display at the Space Center.....

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#5

Re: Saturn V

09/25/2013 2:02 PM

I don't believe for one second the knowledge of rocket building has been lost or forgotten, what a total crock! at one time the strategy was to make bigger and bigger rockets to lift increasingly heavy payloads. you have to look no further than the space station to see the idea of assembly of components in space. smaller pieces that weigh less are easier to lift and assemble once in zero gravity, from a logistical standpoint if you have a massive failure of a larger rocket ( Think Challenger) then you lose the entire show. why do you suppose you never see a single contractor on major defense projects? if everything was in one place at one time it makes a fatter, as well as easier target to destroy. but if you have several contractors spread out over a larger area your project can't be destroyed as easily. several smaller launches stand a far greater chance for success of the total mission working, verses one huge launch that might fail with a single seal or human/computer error. its just common sense. you no longer need the expense and power of that old workhorse, you can send up Delta after Delta with components that are to be assembled once they get to space. your actual launch site to begin a deeper mission doesn't have to be have a terrestrial site. that's the old way of thinking.

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Saturn V

09/25/2013 2:29 PM

Fredski,

Certainly new cryogenic rocket engines are designed and built today. That is a pivotal part of my point. Making an equivalent instead of an identical Saturn V will likely be more cost effective. Adding to the cost of trying to build an identical Saturn V is that the fine detail prints are gone. Besides we have made a few improvements after over 40 years of time in the fields of metallurgy and fabrication techniques that we probably shouldn't make a Saturn V again. The Titan and Atlas rockets that launched Gemini and Mercury are not made any more. Newer versions under the same name of Atlas and Titan exist instead. Now somebody might make a new heavy lift rocket and call it the Saturn IV or the Nova IA in honor of Von Braun's dream.

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#15
In reply to #5

Re: Saturn V

09/25/2013 7:17 PM

I agree with you about the improbability of the loss of rocket building knowledge.

.

....on the other hand, I find the logic in your assertions about the benefits of multiple contractors to be spurious.

.

'.....why do you suppose you never see a single contractor on major defense projects? if everything was in one place at one time it makes a fatter, as well as easier target to destroy. but if you have several contractors spread out over a larger area your project can't be destroyed as easily. several smaller launches stand a far greater chance for success of the total mission working, verses one huge launch that might fail with a single seal or human/computer error......'

.

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'...why do you suppose you never see a single contractor on major defense projects?....'

.

Major defense contracts don't get funding without a coalition of congressmen. Each congressman has his on constituents and corporate sponsors. The reason major defense contracts have multiple contractors is because it requires numerous congressmen to get the funding.

.

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'....if everything was in one place at one time it makes a fatter, as well as easier target to destroy. but if you have several contractors spread out over a larger area your project can't be destroyed as easily.....'

.

This doesn't make sense. First, assuming that the various contractors are making vital components, then all that has been accomplished by spreading the production out geographically is to give potential attackers a wide variety of places they might attack to effectively halt the program. Second, if there was an advantage to spreading the production out geographically, that could easily be specified in the contract requirements. Most large contractors have a larger number of geographically diverse production facilities.

.

.

'.... several smaller launches stand a far greater chance for success of the total mission working, verses one huge launch that might fail with a single seal or human/computer error....'

.

It really isn't that simple. There are numerous variables that could easily swing the chances of success on way of the other.

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#29
In reply to #15

Re: Saturn V

10/01/2013 9:35 AM

why do you suppose you never see a single contractor on major defense projects?.

Any defense project requires at least 3 approved contractors due to a possible interruption in the parts delivery. I know as i was procurement control for Boeing.

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#30
In reply to #29

Re: Saturn V

10/01/2013 9:42 AM

I suspect a "black" contract (development of SR71, F-117, B2) will be the exception. It is much easier to hide technology when the fewest number holds the secrets.

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#31
In reply to #29

Re: Saturn V

10/02/2013 10:28 AM

'....why do you suppose you never see a single contractor on major defense projects?.

Any defense project requires at least 3 approved contractors due to a possible interruption in the parts delivery. I know as i was procurement control for Boeing....'

.

This may be the commonly recited justification, but that doesn't mean it is the actual reason, and it certainly doesn't mean the de facto practice is required to (or even does) obtain the desired redundancy/robustness.

.

I am a little unclear on exactly what you meant by '...Any defense project requires at least 3 approved contractors....'

.

Are you saying that every piece on any defense project must have three independent contractors that ready to supply that particular piece immediately?

.

I imagine many parts require significant setup/tooling costs/time. I also suspect that are a number of things in certain dense contracts that simply aren't produced by three separate entities.

.

Do the different contractors have to obtain the materials/components from separate sources? If not, that could be just an illusion of redundancy? If so, it is almost guaranteed to make things very inefficient, not to mention the difficulties in getting competing contractors to work with each other to ensure they don't use any of the same suppliers.

.

How backwards would it be to believe the availability of parts would more certain from three small contractors that shared some of their sources for critical materials/components than one large conglomerate with numerous redundant production facilities and competing suppliers for every critical material/component?

.

What happens if the contractors merge without eliminating any production facilities? What is a contractor is bough by Boeing?

.

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The reality is that major defense projects rarely have a single contractor because it requires multiple congress members to get the deal through. The various contractors are typically responsible for various parts of the whole contract, not as secondary or tertiary suppliers.

.

Regardless of the story the politicians are spinning, dividing the spoils according to geography of the districts of those sitting on the subcommittee is unlikely to improve parts availability.

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#32
In reply to #31

Re: Saturn V

10/02/2013 12:03 PM

What are the checks and balances that a large conglomerate does not subcontract the parts as opposed to in house ?

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#34
In reply to #32

Re: Saturn V

10/02/2013 12:30 PM

There are plenty.

At least from my experience building satellites and "spy" gear.

Operator certification, facility certification, calibration by certified test labs of ANYTHING used to produce the product. Raw materials testing and certification, enforced segregation and expiration dates for perishable materials, certification of materials suppliers and their equipment and personnel, the list goes on and on.

Plenty of on-site government people to oversee any aspect of production, etc.

Not to mention security clearances and special facilities (Tempest/EMSEC protected)

for the projects.

These are required of anyone/anything working on these contracts.

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#36
In reply to #32

Re: Saturn V

10/02/2013 2:02 PM

Lyn gave a great answer to your question.

.

I want to be clear: my point wasn't that a large contractor is inherently better than several small contractors; my point was that a rule requiring three separate contractors to supply parts is neither necessary to create a robust supply of parts, nor even necessarily helpful to that end.

.

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#40
In reply to #31

Re: Saturn V

10/11/2013 5:25 PM

Three contractors might refer to the competing bid requirement. In regards to that, it's a requirement that is very often waived anyway due to the fact that so many specialty suppliers can provide technologies that no one else has. A good example of that type of procurement was the Norden bomb sight. There was That Device--and then there was not good enough.

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#17
In reply to #5

Re: Saturn V

09/26/2013 1:59 AM

The Canadian Gov't scrapped the Avro Arrow - everything!

Politicians can really screw things up.

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: Saturn V

09/26/2013 9:13 AM

I offer, as point-in-case, this article : http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/will-legendary-avro-arrow-make-lazarus-like-return/article4530724/

which suggests that perhaps not all of the materials were lost. They appear to be using the approach of keeping the original concept and renewing it with the latest materials and technology. I hope they are still trying; it would be a grand thing for Canada to do, if not only for itself.

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#7

Re: Saturn V

09/25/2013 2:35 PM

I think there are two major problems. One is that the drawings for the Saturn V were just that, drawings, and it's unlikely any of them have been converted into any kind of CAD file that could be used by modern engineers or manufacturing facilities. Even if the drawings still existed, it would be extremely expensive to reproduce them or convert them. They would need to be converted to CAD to allow the changes that are needed since some of the technologies used back then are gone.

The other problem is the problem with obsolescence vs new materials and processes. It is unlikely that any of the tools needed to manufacture a Saturn V booster are in a good enough condition to be used in a modern factory, but even if they were the boosters would need to be completely redesigned to make use of modern control systems and the tools would have to be updated.

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#8

Re: Saturn V

09/25/2013 2:56 PM

The Saturn V is prohibitively expensive to build.

Not to mention the other good points made.

The Lost Art of the Saturn V | Amy Shira Teitel See below↓

"In the intervening nearly 40 years, the technology behind the Saturn V has been all but lost. (Right, the launch of Apollo 8. 1968.)

The division of labour on the Saturn V's construction proved, in retrospect, to be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it allowed the rocket to be completed at an incredible rate, certainly responsible for the success of the Apollo program.

But on the other hand, building the rocket at such a rate and with so many subcontractors means the people who oversaw and understood the actual assembly and overall working of the Saturn V were few. Each contractor recorded the workings of their stage and records survive about the engines used, but only a handful of engineers from the MSC knew how Saturn V puzzle fit together."

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#13
In reply to #8

Re: Saturn V

09/25/2013 4:16 PM

Don't have to rebuild the WHOLE thing, just the essentials, the rest can be current tech. That would probably be an improvement of an already magnificent machine. I still cannot fathom why the best parts of it could not be taken as the basis of a new structure, granted the old tech is partly obsolete. But from other posts, I can see that the NASA folks appear to be doing just that. As a former boss of mine once said, " Man Built it, Man can do it again " ( referring to a different idea ).

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#16
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Re: Saturn V

09/25/2013 9:05 PM

Maybe. Multiply the cost to build by 20 and time to build by 10.

Then, there's the cost of the payload.

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#9

Re: Saturn V

09/25/2013 3:22 PM

- - - did the S-V ever have a failure ? really good flight record as I recall, but then I was young.

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#10

Re: Saturn V

09/25/2013 3:54 PM

They are looking into it, according to this article:

http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/04/how-nasa-brought-the-monstrous-f-1-moon-rocket-back-to-life/

Hope the link works, I had to type it in.

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Saturn V

09/25/2013 4:03 PM
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#12
In reply to #11

Re: Saturn V

09/25/2013 4:06 PM

Yeah, good thing they left one end open, lol.

Wow, AND mount those on gymbals too.

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#14
In reply to #11

Re: Saturn V

09/25/2013 4:26 PM

I was at Stennis 2 years ago, and got up-close to the F1 on display there.

They are not kidding about the quality of the welding!

Here is a link to the Infinity science center:

http://www.visitinfinity.com/exhibits/?page_id=177

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#20
In reply to #11

Re: Saturn V

09/30/2013 12:20 AM

The mission was Apollo 10. We watched the lauch from the very farthest point down Cocoa Beach my dad dare take the old 66 Fairlane wagon. I remember feeling the ground shake and watching in amazement as the sand danced a good inch..well before you could hear the rocket, which was still loud as far as we were away. Pretty heady stuff of a eight year old. Yepper, five of thse monsters on full was a religious experience. Impressive as they were... you know me, I want to go with the smaller payload and use rail gun tech as my launch vehicle.

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#19

Re: Saturn V

09/29/2013 5:15 AM

i don't get your circus -- when 1 should post anonymous is when revealing your identity would affect the course of discussion -- e.g. say there are professional doctors discussig a treatment of certain illness - so by revealing you're a welder - you'r input gets automatically rejected or of a zero value - no matter you can have a valid cure -- since such is not a case here - i don't get your circus

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#21
In reply to #19

Re: Saturn V

09/30/2013 10:21 AM

I posted anonymously in order that no one would care about my identity and thus the discussion would be unencumbered by assumtions on my motives. I did not care to be persoanlly involved in the conversation, beyond instigating it. If I am in your circus, maybe my identity would make me a clown, so I am anonymous. I really wanted to post it into the break room, but it went here instead.

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#22
In reply to #19

Re: Saturn V

09/30/2013 12:20 PM

You should have posted anonymously, yourself.

Anyone who has been a member for more than a few days should know, and I quote from Admin:

Hi All,

Please remember this is an engineering site, not a medical one. As such, questions and discussions in this forum should relate to engineering issues. Questions about medications that a doctor has prescribed for you are off limits and will be closed or deleted. Just as you wouldn't go to WebMD for suggestions about centrifugal pump installation, you shouldn't look for medical answers here. Those questions are best answered by your personal physician or medical professionals in general.

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#23
In reply to #19

Re: Saturn V

09/30/2013 2:31 PM

How are things in Estonia by the way - -

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#24
In reply to #23

Re: Saturn V

09/30/2013 2:35 PM

Are you sure it's not Elbonia?

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#25
In reply to #24

Re: Saturn V

09/30/2013 2:37 PM

Lyn -

- in the ribs , perhaps ? He's copied your idea of location location location

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#26
In reply to #25

Re: Saturn V

09/30/2013 2:48 PM

Yes but, my location is an uninhabited piece of land in central Arkansas, with only the lake pictured in the avatar to bomb.

I might be there once every year, just to check on it. Great fishing, too.

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#28
In reply to #26

Re: Saturn V

09/30/2013 3:05 PM

Yes, I looked there out of curiosity.......... thought you might be under one of those trees lol.

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#27
In reply to #24

Re: Saturn V

09/30/2013 3:05 PM

Elbonia, didn't they invent a cheap frugal pasta dish that was copied by many boxed food manufacturers?

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#38

Re: Saturn V

10/10/2013 9:26 PM

Ah yes, the much asked question of the mighty F-1's. Easy answer is to compare the Falcon heavy with the Saturn V. Same operational payload, although I believe the S-V could actually max out a bit higher. Whether NASA ever pushed that envelope or not I can't say. What I can say about the F-1's themselves is what I learned when I asked--and then dug up on my own later, is that it's more than just a problem of reverse castings and new prints. What they did back in the day we now call workarounds. The F-1's had a very problematic set of fuel delivery problems that called for an ongoing assortment of manifold design modifications, even after attaining a manifold that worked. It just wouldn't do, today; to have an engine on a modern vehicle that we have to add a supplemental explosive charge to ensure ignition and sustained burn. Off the chart risk. Also, if you were to check up on what our military is finding out about obsolescence factors, it's cheaper to create a new system.

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#39
In reply to #38

Re: Saturn V

10/10/2013 10:04 PM

I suppose like many other things there is a lot we do not know about it (them) and may never know at all. It would seem from your post that a lot was put on the risk line in order to win the space race, and much no one was ever told at the time, or at all. One has to marvel at the luck(?) or ingenuity that allowed the programme to succeed. It would probably make a really good sequel to The Right Stuff.

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