“Saturn 5”: how to lose rocket technology

by hybridtechcar January 4, 2016 at 7:54 am

The media are increasingly talking about the so-called “lunar conspiracy” conspiracy theory, which claims that the flight and landing on the moon as part of the space program “Apollo” were fabricated. Whether it is a political speculation, what purpose they serve these discussions – it’s a slightly different question. Sometimes the streams of consciousness untroubled splashes and “Giktayms”. It is often said that the rocket “Saturn 5” was too good to be real. If it exists, why it was necessary to begin the shuttle program, which eventually turned out to be more expensive than its predecessor? If it existed, what is now news from the ground up development of superheavy rocket SLS with similar characteristics? How can you lose production technology?
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“Saturn 5” – a rocket, designed to ensure the withdrawal of manned spacecraft “Apollo” on the trajectory to the Moon. People need to not only start, but also provide the opportunity of safe return. That is, it was necessary to ensure a soft landing on the Moon of two people with equipment and life support systems, taking off from the moon and return to Earth with thermal protection during reentry. Part of the mass was able to save due to the separation of the lunar module, which sat on the moon, on the team, which remained in the orbit of the moon. But the rocket is still required a huge “Saturn 5” could bring to low Earth orbit 140 tons. For comparison, commonly used heavy rocket “Proton” displays 22 tons. The last of the running “Saturn 5” orbited the space station “Skylab” weighing 77 tons – only multi-module “Mir” was able to break this record. “Skylab” was so overwhelming that the loss fulcrum astronaut could hang and get stuck in that position for a few minutes while the ventilation system does not blow away to one of the walls. “Saturn 5” remains the most powerful rocket in history, it is a record no one can beat. Humanity is looking forward and wants new achievements. Today NASA look aspiration to Mars. And let Congress reluctant to give money, but has been developing missiles Space Launch System (SLS). If the rough outline of her, it’s three-stage missile with two solid boosters reinforced with shuttles. On its first stage engine has four shuttles. In its most severe modification of SLS should break the record, “Saturn-5» – Block III will be able to output 150 tons into low Earth orbit. But this is only the hardest of the proposed modifications. Others are more realistic, they can run 70 or 130 tons. If the “Saturn 5” could display 140, then why not use it? To answer this question it is necessary to turn to the history of the missiles. Let informally, but NASA began to think about the moon in 1960, even before the speech Kennedy. The name “Saturn 5” suggests that the missile was the fifth model in the family. There were other options, even harder, “Saturn-5.” A series of rockets “Nova” could bring to low Earth orbit of 300 tons and above, but always remained on the drawing board. In 1962, the development program “Nova” has been minimized due to the selection circuit flight with a separate lunar module, which reduces the requirements on the weight of the aircraft. The missile had unprecedented complexity. It was a question of who will build it. Von Braun chose the division of labor. This allowed him to choose the best of the best in the entire industry. He could use the most experienced men from each of the companies. The rate of development has really turned high. For contractors decision meant large orders, not a huge order for someone single. As a result, the main share was divided between three companies: “Boeing», North American Aviation, and “Douglas”. They made ​​three steps that make up the “Saturn 5”. In the S-IC 5 mounted engine Rocketdyne F-1, which run on liquid oxygen and kerosene. The first stage was carried out by “Boeing” at the factory Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana. Run in the wind tunnel took place in Seattle. The stage was created by designers from the Marshall Space Flight Center, NASA’s lead center. For the S-II meet North American Aviation. The movement of stage five cited engines J-2 from the company Rocketdyne liquid hydrogen and oxygen. Assemble in Seal Beach, California. Douglas Aircraft Company built the third stage S-IVB in Huntington Beach, California. As to the second, here the engine was J-2, but one. He worked at the same hydrogen and oxygen. The third stage fits on a plane Pregnant Guppy, and the other two had to be delivered to Cape Canaveral on the water. Sometimes they carried out 70 days at sea. Flight operated three stages instrument package design Marshall Space Flight Center and assembling IBM. The designers decided to split the vehicle navigation systems and missiles for several reasons. Among them was reliability. The decision saved the life during the flight “Apollo 12” in the rocket was struck by lightning. Computer “Apollo” is canceled, and the “Saturn-5” – no. The division of labor proved a double-edged sword. In total, the production of missiles involved more than 20 thousand. Contractors and subcontractors. Not all of them still exist. Today, North American Aviation thing of the past as a separate organization – the company was sold to “Boeing” in 1996. Also, “Boeing” had Rocketdyne, but later sold to United Technologies Corporation, and the latter gave her Aerojet. Many of the companies that participated in the creation of the rocket, did not survive to the present day. Some of the remaining structure and replaced by several generations of employees. But to liquidate the entity – is not the only problem. Even if all the companies still exist, they are unlikely to be able to start production. Each of the contractors kept their own records of production, which could be lost.Even if it is not lost, it can be stored on some of the warehouses. On what, knows someone who already works there or even died. The work of the two groups of contractors to Marshall Space Flight Center. Department of Research and Development Operations monitor the integrity of the structure of the rocket, and Industrial Operations listed cash and took the job. People who know how to put the pieces of the mosaic, is not. For the “Saturn-5” was not the intended use after the “Apollo.” Many things are not documented properly, remaining personal records engineers. Today, these pieces of paper are rotting in someone else basement. People know where they were certain documents, remember the important things that are never recorded. More operators need to be controlled flight of a rocket. If you want to run today, “Saturn 5”, then they will need to train again. The very question “how technology has been lost,” is wrong. We do not live in some of the Dark ages. We have not reached a certain age of ignorance in which we suddenly forgot the principles of rocket engines. Knowledge remained more of them. There is also the ability to make rockets. Why today is not to build a “Saturn 5” if it so powerful? Why to develop a new model of a car or an airplane needs a few years? All the technology of their construction are known. From each other they differ only in minor improvements, albeit sometimes a completely new development. Even the modification of an existing basic model occupy a considerable period of time. This is because it is – a very sophisticated devices with multiple parts, which are made ​​by several different companies. Booster landing fragile person to another celestial body requires even more precision individual parts. Her tolerances allowable differences sizes smaller than for any car. Therefore, the creation and construction of such a device for thousands of hours spent on testing and refinement. Need a difficult technical expertise. As a result of her team gets a unique experience that no one else in the world. Experience over the “Saturn-5” to be anyone who wants to repeat the “Saturn-5.” But people do not have. The operation of the missile is reflected in the technical documentation, which is the result of simulation and testing. For example, records come from somewhere. The rocket “Saturn 5” consists of more than 3 million pieces. Himself ship “Apollo” lunar module and add a few more million. Build and manage such devices – complex processes, the scope of confusion which barely gives in human consciousness. Any changes to the design too, will require changes and rewrite this paper with instructions. But the changes required. At the end of the program “Apollo” plants, which produce parts for missiles, were either closed or began to produce something else. Assembly lines were dismantled, templates and forms were destroyed as superfluous. Engineers, mechanics, workers, researchers and operators of flight control do other work. Eventually obsolete materials, some of them do not produce. Outdated materials can be substituted. (Or, you can recreate half the US industry of the early sixties.) Replacement of materials vary a lot, stress, pressure, and the interaction between the parts. Change and possible malfunction of the aircraft. You can carry out a technical examination. A few years will be spent on re-testing and simulation. You can create new methods of action and management operations, write new documentation. You can educate people. But all this is the actual creation of the rocket from scratch. Is considering the possibility to use an F-1 engines of the first stage in the future SLS rocket on the side accelerators. Of course, they did not want to copy completely. Modern development tools and CAD systems have greater power and simplicity of the process for the designer. For fifty years it has been created a lot, so now you can make more efficient units. You can begin to improve the individual parts. That is what was sent to the project F-1B: one of the engines of an F-1 was dismantled and drove 3D-scanner. The current project uses the SLS engines and solid fuel boosters shuttles – from F-1B refused. Congress presents its demands to the contractors program SLS, and they are much tougher than in the era of lunar race. For this project jokingly nicknamed Launch System Senate. «Saturn 5″ was too expensive missile. The cost of launching in 1969 amounted to 3.19 billion dollars adjusted for inflation. Replaced by the program Space Shuttle, the purpose of which put the cost of the depreciation of the start up of 118 dollars per pound (≈1520 $ per kilogram in today’s money). Because of the unexpected complexity of all operations, and changing the design of the blow the budget shuttles never reached that goal, becoming at times more expensive. Deliver to Mars must SLS, the cost of which is also not happy. According to the materials of the blog Amy Shira Teitel and the response of Robert Frost.

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