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  Stacking the Saturn V in the VAB high bays

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Author Topic:   Stacking the Saturn V in the VAB high bays
Rick Teklits
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From: Yardville, NJ USA
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posted 12-10-2010 04:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Teklits   Click Here to Email Rick Teklits     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am reading a book on Apollo 10 and apparently the Saturn V was stacked in High bay 2, which required the transporter to maneuver the entire stack around the VAB and then out towards pad B. I never realized that.

Is this the only time NASA used high bay 2 and/or had to maneuver a stack around the VAB? All of the pictures I have seen seem to show a relatively straight road right out of the VAB.

ilbasso
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posted 12-10-2010 05:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't recall which bays were in use, but Apollos 12 and 13 were stacked at the same time. The Apollo 13 launch vehicle was rolled around from one bay to another in August(?) 1969 with a boilerplate CSM on top of the stack.

heng44
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posted 12-15-2010 12:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe Skylab 1 was also rolled out from the same high bay as Apollo 10.

ilbasso
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posted 12-15-2010 08:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Found the reference photos in the Apollo 13 Image Library. Apollo 13 was rolled around from High Bay 2 to High Bay 3 with a boilerplate CSM on August 8, 1969.

Rick Teklits
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From: Yardville, NJ USA
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posted 12-20-2010 08:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Teklits   Click Here to Email Rick Teklits     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ilbasso:
I don't recall which bays were in use, but Apollos 12 and 13 were stacked at the same time.
Thanks, you can see the pressure NASA was under to get the vehicles prepared prior to the end of 1969 with 12 and 13 being stacked at the same time!

It is my understanding that high bay 4 was never used. I thought I read somewhere where they never fully outfitted high bay 4.

Your post makes sense... High bay 2 was used to stack 10 then 13, after 11 landed, the pressure was off and I presume there was no need to use that high bay.

Can you imagine that many Saturn Vs in one building all being prepped at the same time?

Rick Teklits
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From: Yardville, NJ USA
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posted 12-20-2010 09:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Teklits   Click Here to Email Rick Teklits     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by heng44:
I believe Skylab 1 was also rolled out from the same high bay as Apollo 10.
The Project Apollo image gallery shows pics of Skylab 1 being stacked in high bay 2 as well as roll out. I never knew that they maneuvered the entire stack around the VAB.

mikej
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posted 12-23-2010 05:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rick Teklits:
Can you imagine that many Saturn Vs in one building all being prepped at the same time?

Early plans had a VAB with six high bays. Although built with "only" four high bays, the design allowed for the addition of more high bays.

LM-12
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posted 02-03-2013 09:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With three active High Bays and a busy flight schedule, it was normal for the Saturn launch vehicle processing to overlap back during Apollo. For instance, the stacking for Apollo 9 began before Apollo 8 was rolled out, and the stacking for Apollo 10 began before Apollo 9 was rolled out ... and so on.

Here is an interesting photo of the Skylab rollout from VAB High Bay 2 on the west side of the building.

LM-12
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posted 02-03-2013 10:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ilbasso:
Apollo 13 was rolled around from High Bay 2 to High Bay 3

Wasn't it High Bay 2 to High Bay 1?

I think Apollo 12 was still in High Bay 3 at the time.

Headshot
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posted 02-04-2013 07:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In 1969 the plan was for NASA to make three lunar landing attempts.

Apollo 11 was schedule for a July attempt, should it have failed, Apollo 12 would have launched in September of 1969. Had 12 failed, Apollo 13 would have launched in late November-ealy December 1969.

Of course after 11 landed successfully, the schedule relaxed. But NASA could not assume initial success and had the hardware for 12 and 13 in the pipeline already.

Lou Chinal
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posted 02-04-2013 11:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If I remember correctly the only time the B pad was used was for Apollo 10. For the moon shots anyway.

LM-12
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posted 02-04-2013 02:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This photo shows both Skylab in High Bay 2 and Skylab 2 in High Bay 1.

Jay Chladek
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posted 02-05-2013 11:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That period with Skylab 1 and 2 being stacked also had some early elements of it going on when Apollo 17 was undergoing its final checkout work as the Skylab itself underwent a protracted period of testing upon its arrival at KSC. Then you had the requirements to outfit one of the Saturn V LUTs with the milkstool to accomodate the Saturn 1B and incorporate some of the Saturn 1B specific hardware from pads 34 and 37.

LM-12
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posted 02-06-2013 08:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
August 1972 is the period I believe you are referring to Jay. The Skylab 1 stacking had begun early that month in High Bay 2. Then Apollo 17 rolled out of High Bay 3 on the 28th. A few days later, the stacking for Skylab 2 began in High Bay 1.

NASA photo KSC-72P-454 shows both the Apollo 17 spacecraft and SA-206, the first stage of the Skylab 2 launch vehicle, in the VAB transfer aisle on Aug 23rd.

It would be very interesting to see a flow chart of all the VAB High Bay activity during the Apollo years, and to see how those processing flows overlapped.

Rick Teklits
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posted 02-08-2013 05:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Teklits   Click Here to Email Rick Teklits     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is there any reason why Pad B was not used for more of the Apollo launches?

Lou Chinal
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posted 02-08-2013 07:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rick, I must admit I don't know. There was originally a "C" pad planned, for LC 39. I guess they figured they just didn't need it.

garyd2831
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posted 02-08-2013 09:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garyd2831   Click Here to Email garyd2831     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think it would have been great to have a 39C pad and an actually operating space/moon port at the Cape.

Personally, I think more attention should have been given to the advancements that could have been made to the Saturn V and its heavy lift capability. They could at least mothballed the idea, and brought back at a latter date when needed... like now.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-08-2013 09:51 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 garyd2831:
They could at least mothballed the idea, and brought back at a latter date when needed... like now.
That is more or less what they are doing now with the Space Launch System. It is a loosely-based, modernized Saturn V derivative with influences from what was learned during the space shuttle program.

Jim Behling
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From: Cape Canaveral, FL
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posted 02-08-2013 12:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by garyd2831:
They could at least mothballed the idea, and brought back at a latter date when needed... like now.
Why? It would be like bringing back the B-36. It has been 40 years since the last Saturn V flew. There would be nothing but money wasted to "preserve" it. Much like trying to recreate a B-36. It is just cheaper to design and build an system that meets the same requirements.

I am just as much a space cadet as the next guy but I am a realist. There is no requirement for a Saturn V type vehicle. The Cold War is over and the main driver for NASA's existence is gone. "Space is cool" is not really enough reason to fund NASA lunar exploration. NASA should be an enabler, a technology developer, spending money on ideas that are cutting edge. The market place and industry is what does the exploiting of space.

Rick Teklits
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From: Yardville, NJ USA
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posted 02-08-2013 07:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Teklits   Click Here to Email Rick Teklits     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting that you mention the B-36... my father was in the Air Force from 1948-52, came form the coal country of eastern Pennsylvania and a B-36 flew over his base when he was a young airman. He stood utterly transfixed as that thing lumbered over his head. He had never seen anything so big actually fly. He stood there mesmerized by this thing as it flew around the base. Stood there until he realized he had missed his roll call. Ended up spending two days peeling potatoes...

I sometimes wonder how many flights it would have required a Saturn V type of vehicle to lift the components of the ISS into space, about 4 or 5? (Saturn V could put 250,000 lbs into LEO). Seems to me that having some heavy lift capability would be better than none wouldn't it?

The Delta IV can put about 20,000 lbs into escape orbit. The Saturn V could put 100,000 lbs. Maybe its simply not economical to have that... I honestly don't know.

LM-12
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posted 02-09-2013 05:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Back in 1963, the Launch Complex 39 design included Pad A, B, C, D and E.

Lou Chinal
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posted 02-12-2013 09:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I didn't know about the "D" and "E" pads.

Jim Behling
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posted 02-12-2013 12:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rick Teklits:
Seems to me that having some heavy lift capability would be better than none wouldn't it?
Not really. We can't afford the payloads for such a vehicle.

We need cheap lift vs. heavy lift.

LM-12
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From: Ontario, Canada
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posted 02-02-2014 12:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lou Chinal:
There was originally a "C" pad planned
In this Apollo 10 launch photo, you can see where the crawlerway would have continued north to the additional pads that were never built.

The crawlerway section leading to pad B looks a bit unusual in the photo.

Ronpur
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posted 02-02-2014 08:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a LIFE magazine from September 25, 1964 that has a beautiful painting of the Cape with all 3 pads. I can't get a scan of the whole thing, so here is a detail of Complex 39 right after a Saturn V launch from 39C.

Rick Teklits
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From: Yardville, NJ USA
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posted 02-02-2014 08:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Teklits   Click Here to Email Rick Teklits     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is a neat picture. I have never seen that before.

mikej
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posted 02-03-2014 06:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a number of diagrams showing Pads A through D on my web site.

mach3valkyrie
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posted 02-03-2014 06:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mach3valkyrie   Click Here to Email mach3valkyrie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The March 1964 National Geographic Magazine has a similar illustration as a foldout. Well worth a look.

Ronpur
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posted 02-03-2014 07:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mikej:
I have a number of diagrams showing Pads A through D on my web site.
Yes, you have the complete cover on your page. Great information there. I had know about Pad C for a long time, but D and E are news to me! The warning sign picture is in the KSC tour book from around 1969 or so.

Jim Behling
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posted 02-03-2014 08:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ronpur:
I have a LIFE magazine from September 25, 1964 that has a beautiful painting of the Cape with all 3 pads.
Proposed but never built Titan-III pad LC-42 is also represented.

All times are CT (US)

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