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  Norton Sales' rocket parts surplus store

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Author Topic:   Norton Sales' rocket parts surplus store
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 29337
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-25-2007 11:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Los Angeles Times: North Hollywood junkyard: one giant heap for mankind
Mounds of titanium and steel glinted in the afternoon sun, valves and pipes protruding in all directions like half-formed metal organisms.

In one corner of the warehouse was a twin of the Apollo command module engine that brought Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong back from the surface of the moon nearly 40 years ago. Nearby was the second-stage motor for a Saturn V, the most powerful rocket ever used in the U.S. space program.

Jonathan Goff, a 26-year-old rocket engineer, climbed atop a mound of titanium spheres once used to store highly explosive liquid oxygen rocket fuel and scanned the area for used rocket parts. "This is definitely a cool place," he said.

From Norton Sales' website:
Norton Sales has been a leading supplier of Aerospace and Industrial supplies since 1962. Our customers tend to be small shops and individuals who are looking for very specific, and often hard to find, parts for rocketry, stunt equipment, movie props and old school hydraulics.

SpaceAholic
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Posts: 3174
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-25-2007 02:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is one inaccuracy in the LA Times story: they make reference to a J-2 being available.

The engine in the second image down, which is often confused as the J-2 (there haven't been any J-2s at Nortons for the better part of two to three years now), is really Aerojet's prototype entry into the Saturn/200K pound engine competition (the engine is a modified Aerojet LR-87, which was converted from RP1/LOX to LH2/LOX for the Saturn competition). It's serial Number 1.

Aerojet/Pratt&Whitney/Rocketdyne all duked it out and ultimately Rocketdyne won after scratch building the J-2 and the rest they say is history...

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 29337
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-31-2007 12:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The LA Times article about Norton Sales inspired photographer Dave Bullock to shoot and compose an HDR photo essay.

I knew I wanted to visit Norton on my next trip to the left coast and Bullock's photos only served to underscore that desire.

E2M Lem Man
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From: Los Angeles CA. USA
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 05-31-2007 02:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think Norton benefited from the community and they bought the 'Salvage-1' production junkyard when the studio closed that down.

They have a lot there because the prices are unreasonably high. A lot of the Mojave crowd goes there. Sometimes to buy, mostly to measure, calculate and then go and build their own.

SpaceAholic
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From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-31-2007 04:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The majority of material was acquired directly from Rocketdyne, Aerojet, Convair Douglas and Airite subsequent to program termination as scrap. Though what is shown in the pictures may seem like a lot, its only a fraction of Norton's original hoard distributed across several large warehouses in the LA area. These warehouses were subsequently closed and a considerable amount of inventory sold off to other scrap dealers or purchased by aerospace engineers/collectors. The Aerospace aspect of their business is inconsequential as its primary focus is hydraulics and support to the local movie industry - but they still DO sell a lot of rocketry hardware under the radar (off line) even at perceived elevated pricing.

SpaceAholic
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From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-20-2007 09:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
PBS's Wired Science episode airing November 21 will include a piece on Norton's Sales and will also cover the Rocket Belt Convention held recently in Niagara Falls.

Boggs SpaceBooks
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posted 11-23-2007 03:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Boggs SpaceBooks   Click Here to Email Boggs SpaceBooks     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had the joy of stopping in to Norton Sales on an L.A. trip this past summer.

It's quite the place and the folks are great. Fun to browse for sure.

I won't go into details but I left with a very nice piece for a Saturn V launch vehicle. Well worth a stop.

SpaceAholic
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Posts: 3174
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-23-2007 10:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Rocketbelt segment did air as scheduled on the 21st but the Norton Sales piece (entitled "Space Junkyard") was postponed until December 5 (the segment includes Buzz Aldrin touring the shop).

SpaceAholic
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From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-18-2007 07:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Space Junkyard segment of Wired Science will air Wednesday, December 19 on PBS. In addition to including a tour of Norton's, the show addresses reverse-engineering of Apollo technology by MSFC staff to support Project Constellation.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-19-2007 10:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wired Magazine also ran a story about Norton's earlier this year: Rockets 'R' Us: Salvaging Out-of-This-World Space Junk Since 1962, together with an associated photo gallery.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 29337
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-19-2007 07:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is the full segment, as just aired:

There were a few errors (e.g. only one remaining Saturn V, calling an engine a rocket, calling NASA's moon program Ares) but otherwise, a good overview of one of the values to preserving space hardware.

SpaceAholic
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Posts: 3174
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-19-2007 09:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
All of the valves shown at MSFC during the middle of the segment, and in particular the S-IVB Hydrogen Vent/Relief valve being disassembled for study are represented in the collections of multiple cS members...

freshspot
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Posts: 287
From: Lexington, MA, USA
Registered: Dec 2005

posted 12-20-2007 07:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for freshspot   Click Here to Email freshspot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It was a great segment. Thanks for alerting me, Scott.

I'm quite sure that the valve being examined in Huntsville is an example of the same item as I am fortunate to have acquired several years ago.

I watched the segment last night with my wife and 14 year old daughter. While they still think my obsession with "space junk" makes me certifiably a whack job, at least they know that there are others who are equally nuts.

And even they admitted that it is kinda cool to watch the segment while handling the same item as they were discussing on screen.

benguttery
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From: Fort Worth, TX, USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 12-31-2007 05:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for benguttery   Click Here to Email benguttery     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very cool. Every town needs a junk store like that. I've been to several around Texas. One in San Antonio with DC-3 parts instead of rocket parts. Another with B-29 noses.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29337
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-18-2008 02:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another tour of Norton's, this time from Mahalo Daily:

Rick Mulheirn
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From: England
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posted 01-18-2008 03:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The guy in the video seems pleasant enough but I suspect he knows little or nothing about the kit he is selling. eg "This is the actual Apollo 13 engine..." What engine might that be then?

SpaceAholic
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Posts: 3174
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-18-2008 04:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hilarious - Jerry, Carlos and the rest of the staff are a great group of guys and experts in hydraulics/pneumatics but graduates of Rocketdyne "U" they are definitely not.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 29337
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-19-2011 11:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Parabolic Arc recently paid a visit to Norton Sales, a surplus rocket parts company located in Los Angeles. In this video, owner Carlos Guzman describes the company's clientele, which includes Hollywood studios, stuntmen and talk show host Jay Leno.

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