Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Site Notices
9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 11/26/2003 5:35:16 AM EDT
I’m watching a show on The Science Channel, Mission Control – “Do we have the technology” talking about planning and possible mission profiles for manned Mars exploration.

Former Astronaut Norm Thagard mentions that “as far as I know we don’t even have the plans to a Saturn V so we can’t build it any more.”

As I’m shaking my head trying to figure out if that’s what he REALLY said, the narration continues:

“The Saturn V is now a museum piece. Its plans were allegedly destroyed as part of a NASA deal for new funding to develop the Shuttle.”

I have dozens of books detailing the history of space flight and manned program. I have been a follower and a fan of the program since I was a kid. I was born in 1957 so the program and I grew up together.

I have NEVER, EVER, EVER heard this outrageous statement mentioned anywhere before.

I know we’ve got some people that involved with Aerospace and NASA here. Has ANYONE ever seen or heard of this insanity before?

If it’s true I think the people involved in the decision (assuming they’re still alive) should be tracked down and tried for treason. We spent 40+ billion dollars of taxpayers money only to have these bastards literally throw away the knowledge and capability that Americans bought and paid for.

A Google search turned up some "maybe they did, maybe they didn't" type hits.

I’ve often used the example that what happened after Apollo was the same as if Columbus had returned from his first voyage to the new world, said “been there, done that” burned his ships, dockyards and plans.

I had no idea that my metaphor may have truly been what our Government actually did in 1972.

To say that I am pissed beyond human comprehension right now is the understatement of the century.
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 5:55:30 AM EDT
The Saturn V was a tremendous rocket. I grew up with the program also, being born in 1950. But after all, it is 35 year old technology. I'm sure we could do better today. However, I do agree, it would be a crime if that information was destroyed.
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 6:13:31 AM EDT
The tooling is still in use today at the Michoud facility in New Orleans. I used them up to 4 years ago myself.
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 6:21:07 AM EDT
You can't be serious! THEY DESTROYED THE PLANS? WTF do the plans for a moon rocket have to do with Shuttle funding? Is this a government program, or what? [furious]
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 6:25:04 AM EDT
LOL, that doesn't supprise me at all. Let's talk "low tech." for a miniute. When I rebuilt the carb on my daughters '79 Cougar I ran into a bit of trouble. I called the local Ford dealer to see if I could get some help. He told me that all his mechanics were younger kids that had NEVER worked on a carb before. NO ONE knew anything about em' , if I'd had fuel injection they could have helped but I was SOL with a lowly 2 bbl. carb. and that's not even close to "rocket science".
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 6:30:17 AM EDT
I honestly don't think it would be that hard to replicate the plans. Find some of those old engineers that are still alive, pair them with a CAD program and see what they come up with. Couple [i]that[/i] with 40 years of advances in computer technology and everybody will be amazed at the room and computing power they come up with. Do we have the technology? That is a very different question from "Can we recreate it easily and have it better than the original?"
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 6:32:30 AM EDT
Space cowboys baby, space cowboys!!! NsB
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 6:34:47 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Zaphod: You can't be serious! THEY DESTROYED THE PLANS? WTF do the plans for a moon rocket have to do with Shuttle funding? Is this a government program, or what? [furious]
View Quote
It's NEVER been about exploration or the betterment of Mankind for the government. Votes, national prestige and jobs for Congressional districts is the name of the game. Well, except for JFK. I know that Apollo was a reaction to the Russians and the Bay of Pigs but Kennedy really became a rabid fan of the program once it got underway. It makes twisted sense since all those “egghead and dreamer” types would be lobbying for a continuation of Lunar exploration if we had ready access to Saturn V’s. By destroying the capability to easily continue in that path, they were able to control the direction the program went. In other worlds, if you wanted to do ANYTHING with manned space, it was the Shuttle or NOTHING.
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 6:36:10 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Airwolf:
Originally Posted By Zaphod: You can't be serious! THEY DESTROYED THE PLANS? WTF do the plans for a moon rocket have to do with Shuttle funding? Is this a government program, or what? [furious]
View Quote
It's NEVER been about exploration or the betterment of Mankind for the government. Votes, national prestige and jobs for Congressional districts is the name of the game. Well, except for JFK. I know that Apollo was a reaction to the Russians and the Bay of Pigs but Kennedy really became a rabid fan of the program once it got underway. It makes twisted sense since all those “egghead and dreamer” types would be lobbying for a continuation of Lunar exploration if we had ready access to Saturn V’s. By destroying the capability to easily continue in that path, they were able to control the direction the program went. In other worlds, if you wanted to do ANYTHING with manned space, it was the Shuttle or NOTHING.
View Quote
Isn't it fascinating how there now is a privately funded space race?
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 6:45:59 AM EDT
I'm sure we could always buy a set of Saturn V plans from China. I'd bet they have a copy stuck back somewhere that we could pick up at a "reasonable" price.
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 6:47:21 AM EDT
Seriously? Who cares? That's like saying you don't have the plans for a Model T. Gee, if you want to make a replica Saturn V for your backyard not having the plans would make it a "challenge". But if we ever decided to send a rocket to the moon (or elsewhere) you can bet your tooshie that we sure the hell wouldn't want to do it in a retro-rocket.
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 6:51:38 AM EDT
Give a picture of it to Hesse and they should be able to clone a real good one...!
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 6:59:19 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/26/2003 7:00:53 AM EDT by Oslow]
Originally Posted By TNFrank: I'm sure we could always buy a set of Saturn V plans from China. I'd bet they have a copy stuck back somewhere that we could pick up at a "reasonable" price.
View Quote
That's what I was thinking. Actually, the Chinese would probably just sell us the rocket cause they could build it cheaper than we could.
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 7:04:03 AM EDT
Hell, just ask the Russians or Chinease if we can borrow THEIR copy... [rolleyes]
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 7:07:45 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/26/2003 7:09:20 AM EDT by Airwolf]
Originally Posted By pdxshooter: Seriously? Who cares? That's like saying you don't have the plans for a Model T. Gee, if you want to make a replica Saturn V for your backyard not having the plans would make it a "challenge". But if we ever decided to send a rocket to the moon (or elsewhere) you can bet your tooshie that we sure the hell wouldn't want to do it in a retro-rocket.
View Quote
The problem is, beyond the fact that the American taxpayer bought that knowledge and it belongs to US, is that it was tried and proven beyond the shadow of a doubt. Few people realize that Wernher Von Braun’s brainchild was the ONLY PERFECT BOOSTER EVER CONSTRUCTED AND FLOWN. The Saturn series pushed state-of-the-art to the breaking point under a drop dead deadline and it was PERFECT. There was not one single launch failure of any Saturn series booster, EVER. They worked EVERY TIME. That record has NEVER been matched anywhere by any space program. Yes, the tech would be outdated today but it’s a perfect place to start a new program from. Instead, if this is true, we get to start from square one and reproduce (and pay for – AGAIN) all the mistakes that the Von Braun team already made and fixed. Not only a waste of money but of time. The NASA of today has already shown it’s risk adverse when it comes to new programs. Something goes wrong in development and they are more likely to abandon a program at the drop of a hat rather than fix it and move on. [furious]
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 7:17:19 AM EDT
I can tell you that I either heard or read, somewhere, that we lack the ability to build a Saturn V today. I wish I could remember where I read this, but I cannot. I do know that they stated that we do not have the plans and anyone with enough knowledge to build one is dead. Bottom line, I have heard that we cannot build a Saturn V today. Sad.
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 7:33:21 AM EDT
I have a cousin who is an Engineer for NASA. He worked on the Saturn V project with Dr. Von Braun in Huntsville and later on SSME (Space Shuttle Main Engine) projects. He is convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that we couldn't make it to the moon in ten years again if we started today. I believe him. Sad. Very Sad. SG
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 7:47:06 AM EDT
I was having such a good day until now! [:(]
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 12:58:58 PM EDT
When you think of it the space shuttle is a heavy lift vehicle. I guess they designed somthing like this back in the 80's that was designated shuttle c. They just replaced the orbiter with an expendible container with the orbiter engines on the tail end of it. IIRC it had quite the cargo capacity but was shelved due to budget problems.
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 1:22:55 PM EDT
I've worked at NASA and in private aerospace and military space and I can tell you that the drawings, specifications, test plans, etc. do not exist in a complete package. Things that were re-used on different projects exist, but the all-up system is history. Could we build another today? We have the technology to do it a lot better, but I don't believe the systems engineering and quality control aspects could be replicated without a national mandate ($$$ and glory). It's kind of funny, the aerospace business today is a curious mixture of 40's and 50's tech with 2010 tech. Electronics and it's byproducts are pretty much on the cutting edge or beyond, composite materials are making large strides, but other things like metallurgy, mechanisms, propulsion and guidance and control stuff are rehashes of really old technology. Watch the Mars Rover landings in January, the mix of old and new is incredible. CW
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 1:53:46 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Cold_Warrior: I've worked at NASA and in private aerospace and military space and I can tell you that the drawings, specifications, test plans, etc. do not exist in a complete package. Things that were re-used on different projects exist, but the all-up system is history. Could we build another today? We have the technology to do it a lot better, but I don't believe the systems engineering and quality control aspects could be replicated without a national mandate ($$$ and glory). It's kind of funny, the aerospace business today is a curious mixture of 40's and 50's tech with 2010 tech. Electronics and it's byproducts are pretty much on the cutting edge or beyond, composite materials are making large strides, but other things like metallurgy, mechanisms, propulsion and guidance and control stuff are rehashes of really old technology. Watch the Mars Rover landings in January, the mix of old and new is incredible. CW
View Quote
I don't know about most of what your talking about except the metalurgy aspect. The 2195 aluminum we used on the Super Lightweight shuttle ET aint old technology. Neither is the VPPA and friction stir welding processes. Orthogrid and isogrid panel configurations as well as spun formed domes, while not cutting edge, are advanced technology over the antiquated configurations of the past. The pull values on welds and parent materials are as high or higher; on thinner materials, than the Saturn era metals. The nuts and bolts part for a Saturn type rocket can be duplicated quite easily and even upgraded significantly. The propulsion systems are hands down better today also. The 15,000,000 hp Delta IV engine we use today has about 90% less moving parts than the Saturn pushers did. I'd say we could do it faster and better with the proper funding. IMHO
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 2:11:42 PM EDT
The Neutral Observer has a bunch of old schematics and tech manuals for the Saturn V in one of these boxes around here. Unless the wife managed to throw them away, that is. The Neutral Observer is suddenly very depressed.
Top Top