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  Found: SA-511 (Apollo 16) S-IC stage fragment

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Author Topic:   Found: SA-511 (Apollo 16) S-IC stage fragment
Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 07-10-2011 02:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NBC-17, the Raleigh-Durham local NBC affiliate, reports that Kevin Schanze, 16, found a segment of the Saturn V first stage that launched Apollo 16 after it was washed up by Hurricane Ernesto in 2006.
After a few painstaking years trying to confirm the authenticity of their find, the Schanzes received a letter from NASA telling them the good news: Kevin had indeed found a piece of Apollo 16.

NASA confirmed that it was from the first stage of the rocket; the part that never made it into space, but splashed down in the Atlantic a few minutes after takeoff.

Kevin had some time to figure out the unlikelihood of that piece of metal's journey.

"We think it came down right off the coast of Florida. Then over the course of about 30 years, it worked its way up the coast, probably got into the Gulfstream. It must've snuck into one of the Inlets in the Outer Banks and floated through into the Pamlico Sound," Kevin said.

"After the hurricane [Ernesto], there's a peninsula in our neighborhood that always goes underwater. That's where the sheet turned up.

"The NASA director told me it was a one in a million chance that I'd find it, and another one in a million chance that it had the Mission Stamp on it, because there aren't too many of those."

The story is being reported now, five years later, because as a reward for returning the piece to NASA, the space agency treated Kevin and his family to a VIP tour of Kennedy Space Center and VIP viewing of the final space shuttle launch on Friday.

So, what part(s) of the Saturn V's S-IC stage had the mission logo emblazoned it?

SpaceAholic
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Posts: 3276
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-10-2011 03:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good thing he returned it to NASA, the kid resides under the jurisdiction of the same federal circuit handling the Mitchell case.

Greggy_D
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From: Michigan
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posted 07-10-2011 03:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had the exact same thought, Scott.

Orthon
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From: Gilbert, Arizona 85296
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posted 07-10-2011 03:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Orthon   Click Here to Email Orthon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If it's not dangerous, there should be no reason why he can't keep it. What is NASA going to do with it? Right now NASA should be worrying about a much bigger problem, like a goverment that can't see past it's nose when it comes to a vision of the future.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 07-10-2011 03:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Judging by the photos from their time at Kennedy Space Center, I think the Schanzes may have come out ahead. At age 16, I would have turned over all my worldly possessions for a chance to go up on Pad 39A, stick my head inside the space shuttle, and then see it lift off from the closest viewing site.

Heck, I've since done all three and I would still give up many of my possessions to do it again.

Spaceguy5
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From: Pampa, TX, US
Registered: May 2011

posted 07-10-2011 03:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spaceguy5   Click Here to Email Spaceguy5     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I very much agree, I'd have done it too. I hope NASA puts it on display.

(Also to those who keep using the "NASA has better things to worry about" fallacy, inspectors are important for NASA to have. However without having things such as this to deal with, it'd be a wasted position. NASA has many, many employees in many different roles. They can't all do the same thing)

MrSpace86
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Posts: 1450
From: Gardner, KS, USA
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 07-10-2011 05:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It would be really interesting if they show where on the first stage that piece came from. Where is Curt Newport?

gliderpilotuk
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Posts: 3251
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 07-11-2011 02:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good to see that "MyCarolina Today" has a good grasp of space history, with the heading on the video: "piece of shuttle history".

ea757grrl
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Posts: 616
From: South Carolina
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 07-11-2011 10:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ea757grrl   Click Here to Email ea757grrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Personally, my hat's off to the kid, and even if you take the legalities out of it, this is what I hope I would do in the same situation (though, of course, the VIP treatment would surely have sweetened the deal).

quote:
Originally posted by gliderpilotuk:
Good to see that "MyCarolina Today" has a good grasp of space history, with the heading on the video: "piece of shuttle history".

It appears to have been fixed now, or at least I couldn't find it when I checked just now...but I wouldn't be surprised if some of the preparation of the content in the story wasn't done either by a summer intern or a young staff member. You would be surprised (then again, maybe you wouldn't) by how much work at the average television station is done not by the seasoned staff members, but by young assistant producers and college interns.

That said, while most local news stories make me either cringe or yell, that video piece was not bad at all.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-11-2011 10:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
So, what part(s) of the Saturn V's S-IC stage had the mission logo emblazoned it?
I'm quoting from my original post because it seems to have gotten lost in the initial response to the story.

I never knew the mission logo appeared anywhere on the launch vehicle, let alone the first stage. Anyone know where this part is from?

David Carey
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posted 07-12-2011 02:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Carey   Click Here to Email David Carey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
These are three (1 | 2 | 3) of the better "un-frosted" images I could find showing the Apollo 16 first stage and I don't see anything obvious even upon magnification. Unfortunately the small emblem size (~4-5" in diameter according to the scale from the video) may well preclude it from being imaged at all. Something tells me 'tail fins' as the most likely spot but can't really make those out in any of the images.

history in miniature
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From: Slatington, PA U.S.A.
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posted 07-12-2011 03:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for history in miniature   Click Here to Email history in miniature     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Someone over at Space Modelers Group brought up a good point, while being built did they know which mission the S-1C booster would be assigned to? The fins were silver.

ilbasso
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From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 07-12-2011 04:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My dad got some close-up photos of the S-IC for Apollo 12 being stacked in the VAB in August 1969. Scanning the photos at high magnification, I couldn't see any emblem on the white surfaces of the stage. That doesn't mean that one wasn't added later... or perhaps they only did it for later missions. Very interesting conundrum!

Finding a 4-inch emblem on period photos of an S-IC seems destined to be a needle-in-a-haystack exercise.

J.L
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From: Bloomington, Illinois, USA
Registered: May 2005

posted 07-12-2011 05:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for J.L   Click Here to Email J.L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
So, what part(s) of the Saturn V's S-IC stage had the mission logo emblazoned it?
I have quite a few close-up shots taken from the MLP showing the Apollo 16 S-IC during rollout. I cannot see any mission emblems. My guess is that this is an extremely small reproduced emblem and that there are probably not any pre-flight photos available.

If someone can eventually come up with a location for this emblem, I will see if I have any pre-flight images.

J.L.
Retro Space Images

LM-12
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From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 07-12-2011 06:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
NASA confirmed that it was from the first stage of the rocket

I would have guessed that the emblem part came from the Command Module boost-protective cover that was jettisoned with the launch escape tower shortly after the S-II second-stage ignition.

SpaceAholic
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From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
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posted 07-12-2011 07:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The BPC was fiberglass and cork.

David Carey
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posted 07-12-2011 11:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Carey   Click Here to Email David Carey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With full acknowledgement that I'm operating without facts or the benefit of authentication reported from NASA, I'm puzzled by the seemingly hand-drawn guidelines and apparent spray of yellow paint in the lower right corner (perhaps merely a reflection?) as seen here.

I wouldn't expect these fabrication and/or prototyping remnants to appear on an external skin. Maybe it's internal first-stage material or maybe something else altogether?

Advance apologies for probably sounding like a hoaxer - I want the story to be true somehow - but what am I missing? Did later paint simply cover up what is now revealed by time and erosion/corrosion?

That's probably too many question marks for a proper post but my curiosity grows...

LM-12
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From: Ontario, Canada
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posted 07-12-2011 11:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Would an emblem still look that good after more than 30 years in the ocean?

J.L
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From: Bloomington, Illinois, USA
Registered: May 2005

posted 07-12-2011 11:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for J.L   Click Here to Email J.L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LM-12:
Would an emblem still look that good after more than 30 years in the ocean?
My exact thoughts...

Tom
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From: New York
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posted 07-13-2011 07:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
I never knew the mission logo appeared anywhere on the launch vehicle, let alone the first stage. Anyone know where this part is from?
Robert, is it possible that the mission emblem was on the "inside" of the first stage?

ilbasso
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From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 07-13-2011 07:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When was the mission logo finalized/made public? It would be interesting to compare that date to the dates of assembly and stacking of the vehicle.

LM-12
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From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 07-13-2011 10:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wasn't the Apollo 16 mission emblem unveiled at the rollout of the Saturn 5 on December 13, 1971? NASA photo #71-H-1751 is a black & white image of the Apollo 16 emblem and is dated December 1971. The S-IC first stage was erected on MLP-3 about three months earlier on September 21, 1971.

If those dates are correct, then the emblem that washed ashore was placed on the first stage either (a) before the emblem was officially released, or (b) after rollout.
It would seem that access to the S-IC first stage at pad 39A was somewhat limited. I haven't come across any Apollo 16 photos prior to December 1971 that include the mission emblem.

The emblem is in pretty good shape for something that has been in the ocean for more than 30 years. Was it originally a colour emblem that has since faded?

What are the odds that the one relatively small piece of first stage debris that washes ashore is the piece that has an emblem on it?

I am a bit skeptical that this is the real deal. Perhaps someone from NASA is reading this thread and can provide further details about the original S-IC location of the recovered fragment and when the Apollo 16 mission emblem was attached.

A pre-launch photo of the S-IC emblem would certainly remove any and all doubts. Until that photo surfaces, I will remain unconvinced.

dogcrew5369
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From: Statesville, NC
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posted 07-13-2011 03:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dogcrew5369   Click Here to Email dogcrew5369     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My gosh, I was vacationing at the Outer Banks six summers ago and spent time in the Pamlico Sound like I did as a teen... what could have been. Probably would have stepped on it, cut my foot and kept going. I'm going back and find the rest of the first stage!

LM-12
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From: Ontario, Canada
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posted 07-28-2011 06:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Maybe the fragment was part of the Saturn 5 interstage that was jettisoned shortly after the S-IC first stage separation.

Ken Havekotte
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From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 07-28-2011 09:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just came across this topic; Most interesting, however, I have never heard nor seen anything like this beforehand.

Does anyone know the size or diameter of the Apollo 16 mission emblem depicted here?

Here is a crazy idea...

One possible explanation, though highly unlikely for a number of reasons, perhaps could be — an affixed vintage vinyl decal sticker of Apollo 16 placed on the S-1C stage of AS-511 by a Saturn worker while on the pad.

It doesn't appear to be a decal sticker as they were printed in full color with at least 3 known different variations, mainly 4" and 3 3/4" diameter versions.

I know, indeed a long shot, but I've seen decal stickers remain affixed to various objects that have remained intact for years, and sometimes, decades!

But in the ocean for nearly 40 years? I just don't think a decal can withstand such elements and remain affixed.

LM-12
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From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 07-29-2011 04:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The emblem looks to be about 5 inches in diameter based on the photo from the newspaper article mentioned in the first post. I doubt that the emblem is a decal because it just looks too damn good. To me it looks more like a black and white emblem that was either printed or stamped on the metal.

Wouldn't a metal fragment that size be full of rivet holes?

The discovery of this Apollo 16 emblem fragment seems to raise more questions than it answers. That is why I am skeptical.

LM-12
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From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 08-19-2011 12:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is a close-up photo of the Apollo 16 emblem.

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