NASA Podcasts

Historic Recordings: KSC Reports 9, Assembly of the First Saturn V
Interviews with John Bell and Tom Martin
1967
 
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Sound of rockets engine

LAUNCH COMMENTATOR:
"Five... four..."

NARRATOR:
KSC Reports... a weekly coverage of events at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's John F. Kennedy Space Center.

Sound of rocket engines firing

NARRATOR:
A major milestone on the road to the moon was reached this week at the Kennedy Space Center. Inside one of the high bay assembly areas of the huge Vehicle Assembly Building at the national spaceport, the most powerful rocket ever assembled by man took shape. On Wednesday, the high bay contained the towering mobile launcher on which the first flight test version of the Saturn V moon rocket was to be assembled with the 138-foot high first stage of that rocket in place ready to receive the upper stage rockets that would complete the launch vehicle. The first stage, a massive cylinder 33 feet in diameter will develop more than 17 times the thrust of the Titan II rocket used in the Gemini manned space program. The second stage, also 33 feet in diameter, is 81 feet tall with five liquid hydrogen powered rocket engines totaling one million pounds of thrust. Second stage project engineer Tom Martin of North American watched closely as the overhead bridge crane prepared to lift the rocket from its low bay checkout stand Thursday afternoon.

MARTIN:
This vehicle was fired in Mississippi in December, had two firings, and then was transferred to the cape, and this will be our first flight.

NARRATOR:
Friday, the third stage rocket, 58 feet tall, 22 feet in diameter, was moved from its check out cell. Lifted by cranes high above the concrete floor and moved into the assembly area where it was ever so gently lowered to mate with the lower stages. John Bell, the chief of NASA's Saturn V test integration and planning branch reported that the addition of the launch vehicle's instrument unit later that day would complete the assembly of the Saturn V rocket.

BELL:
By Friday evening, we should have the erection of the launch vehicle complete. This will be followed by a series of systems tests and erection of the spacecraft with the next few days.

NARRATOR:
Assembly of the space vehicle marks the start of an intensive schedule of tests that will require weeks to complete.

BELL:
At this time, we'll have all of the contractors participating. So this will require close coordination between all personnel involved. This will require everyone working as a team. The contractors involved here will be the Boeing Company, who has the S1C stage, North American Aviation who has the S2 stage, Douglass Aircraft Corporation who has the third stage, called the S4B stage, and IBM who has the instrument unit. Then support contractor Bendix will be involved as of course will NASA personnel.

NARRATOR:
Bell said the testing schedule will be conducted by many of the same engineers and technicians who comprise the launch team when this first Apollo Saturn V vehicle is sent into space later this year.

BELL:
The first task after erection will be mating of the umbilicals to the vehicle. And this will allow us to stimulate the vehicle and to monitor the responses from the vehicle from the Launch Control Center firing room. And this involves in the vicinity of 300 people in the active firing room.

NARRATOR:
This first Apollo Saturn V will carry no flight crew when it is launched on the test flight into Earth orbit later this year. But before the end of this decade, three Apollo astronauts will begin an historic voyage to the moon aboard a similar space vehicle to the one now being prepared for flight at the Kennedy Space Center.

Sound of rocket engines firing

LAUNCH COMMENTATOR:
"Five...four..."

NARRATOR:
This has been KSC Reports... a weekly coverage of events at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's John F. Kennedy Space Center.

 
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