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  Saturn V staging footage: S-II film recovery?

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Author Topic:   Saturn V staging footage: S-II film recovery?
Paul78zephyr
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From: Hudson, MA
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posted 02-11-2011 09:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul78zephyr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was just watching a film of the Saturn V (Apollo 4) staging:

The first sequence seems to be from the S-II looking aft toward the S-IC. You see the S-IC separate and fall and then the intertank skirt fall as well. Then in the second sequence it seems to be from the S-II looking forward towards the S-IVB. You can see the single J-2 ignite and there are three stabilzation(?) motors firing radially.

How were these films recovered from the S-II stage? Any other comments about the staging sequences shown are appreciated.

mjanovec
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posted 02-11-2011 11:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The cameras were housed in a container that jettisoned from the stages and were later picked up in the ocean.

If you watch these clips of staging, you'll see the jettison at the end of each clip...as the camera unit started to separate from the stage.

golddog
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From: australia
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posted 02-11-2011 06:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for golddog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had always read that the footage of the S-IV separation was actually from a Saturn IB launch and a number of accounts indicated that it was Apollo 7. The internal structure visible in the footage would tend to show that the footage is from a 1B launch was correct, though that does not confirm it as Apollo 7. Can anyone positively confirm?

jasonelam
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From: Monticello, KY USA
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posted 02-11-2011 07:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The footage of the S-IVB separation is one of the most commonly misidentified pieces of film from the Apollo program. It has been connected to several different flights, but there have been very few noted as the correct source.

The footage is from AS-203, which flew on August 25, 1966. Here is the long form of the footage. If you watch at the end, it shows the separation of the film capsule, really neat!

mikej
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From: Germantown, WI USA
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posted 02-12-2011 05:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Saturn IB version of the S-IVB had three ullage engines, while the Saturn V version of the S-IVB had only two.

SpaceAholic
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posted 02-12-2011 06:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No ullage engines on the S-IVB 2xx series as the stage lacked restart capability (Saturn IB), while there were one each installed within the two 5xx series S-IVB APS pods (Saturn V).

The 2xx series did have three ullage motors; vs two onboard the 5xx.

Motors are normally the term of reference for solid propellant systems, engines are for liquid systems.

Neil Aldrin
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posted 02-13-2011 06:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Neil Aldrin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mjanovec:
The cameras were housed in a container that jettisoned from the staged and were later picked up in the ocean.
Boy do I feel dumb!

All these years I had assumed these crisp clips came from a video downlink. I figured that the dropping stages burned-up on re-entry so how else would these videos be obtained?

Are there any photos of these camera capsules or the recovery of them? Even with a parachute it must have been a chore to track and recover them?

Atlantis
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From: Cullman, AL
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posted 02-14-2011 09:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Atlantis   Click Here to Email Atlantis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If I remember correctly, one of the pods is on display at the Davidson Center

Neil Aldrin
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posted 02-15-2011 05:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Neil Aldrin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Am I correct that the spent stages burned up into nothing more than small pieces, as does the shuttle ET, or are there F1s and J2s sitting at the bottom of our oceans?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-15-2011 06:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Saturn V's S-IC first stage with its five F-1 engines was jettisoned at an altitude of about 40 miles, while still in the Earth's atmosphere. It fell to the ocean mostly intact* and sank, although it certainly suffered damage on impact with the water.

The S-II second stage with its five J-2 engines separated at an altitude of about 115 miles, well above the atmosphere. It too fell to the ocean about 2,500 miles downrange from the launch site but went through reentry forces and broke apart well before any parts impacted the water.

*A small fragment (about a foot long) of the Saturn V S-IC that launched Apollo 11 fell onto the deck of a German ship in the Atlantic Ocean. Other pieces fell in the water near the ship.

Neil Aldrin
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posted 02-16-2011 06:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Neil Aldrin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Are the exact whereabouts of them known and if so has anyone ever sent down a robotic submersible to photo/video any of these first stages?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-16-2011 08:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to Curt Newport (responding in 2006 to another topic on this same forum):
As far as I know, none of the S1-C stages from the Apollo missions have ever been located or photographed. Of course, it would be possible to do that...
A few years earlier, he wrote on another online discussion group:
I concluded that the S-1C boosters from Apollo 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, and 16 landed in roughly a 5 x 11 nautical mile area. The biggest unknown was how the boosters were tracked. After checking some documentation, I believe they were not really tracked at all; I think they used estimated theoretical impact locations based on flight models. However, if the boosters were fitted with C or S band radar xponders, then the location would be fairly accurate.

Granted, all of the boosters would have been reduced to wreckage with some large intact pieces, depending upon how they impacted the ocean. I would imagine they were tumbling during descent, as that seems to be what happens to these things once all the fuel is spent and they lose guidance. I imagine that many of the F-1 engine bells would have survived and at least some of them should be recognizable and capable of being recovered. Overall, the paint on the boosters should be intact as would be any lettering, as was the case on Liberty Bell 7. In addition, there will be long debris fields for each booster, with the heavier parts nearest the impact point and lighter wreckage farther down current.

fbullington
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posted 04-17-2016 12:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fbullington   Click Here to Email fbullington     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you so much for this thread. I have always wondered what happened to the stages and am ready to help find them and bring them up! How cool would it be to see the first stages brought up?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-17-2016 06:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Since this thread's last post in 2011, Bezos Expeditions successfully raised components from the F-1 engines that launched Apollo 11, Apollo 12, Apollo 13 and Apollo 16. In the process, they discovered that most of the S-IC structure that supported the engines had corroded away and what remained was too fragile to recover off the ocean floor.

See the discussion threads here and here for more.

LM-12
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posted 04-17-2016 11:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There were S-IC staging film cameras on the AS-503 (Apollo 8) launch vehicle, but they were not recovered. The onboard cameras are mentioned in the launch vehicle Flight Evaluation Report:
There was a total of four recoverable film camera capsules carried onboard the AS-503 vehicle, all on the S-IC stage. Two camera capsules were located on the S-IC forward interstage at positions I and III looking forward to view S-IC/S-II first plane separation and S-II engine start. The two remaining camera capsules were mounted on top of the S-IC stage LOX tank at positions II and IV, and contained pulse cameras which viewed aft into the LOX tank through fiber optics bundles.

There were also two television cameras located in the S-IC base region to view propulsion and control system components.

Only one camera capsule, the LOX camera located at position II, was recovered. It is not known whether the other three camera capsules were ejected ...

The TV cameras provided good quality data.

LM-12
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posted 04-18-2016 12:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The press kit has more information on the television cameras:
Both television cameras will be mounted inside the thrust structure of the first stage.

A fiber optic bundle from each camera will split into two separate bundles going to lenses mounted outside the heat shield in the engine area. This will provide two images for each camera, or four for the system. The images will be tilted 90 degrees from vertical to give a wider view as two images appear on each cathode ray tube. Each lens will view the center engine and one outer engine, thus providing a view of each outer engine working in conjunction with the fixed center engine...

The TV cameras operate continuously from 55 minutes before liftoff until destroyed on first stage reentry.

heng44
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posted 01-22-2019 06:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Question from a friend of mine about the camera pods that recorded the Apollo 4 stage separation film: which Navy ship retrieved the pods? He said:

"I figured that it had to be a ship assigned to the Atlantic in case there was a launch abort. I couldn't find an answer anywhere, but a little sleuthing revealed that Task Force 140 was deployed in the Atlantic for each Apollo launch and that several smaller ships were assigned to the AS-501 launch, including the USS Austin (LPD-4), which was the only one big enough to accommodate a helicopter. Do we know who actually retrieved the pods? Is the USS Austin a good guess?"

Anyone have the answer?

oly
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posted 01-22-2019 08:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for oly   Click Here to Email oly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am not aware of the answer to you question, however I seem to remember that on one of the launches that had the jetisonable staging cameras, some cameras were lost in a storm or hurricane. At least one camera was recovered weeks later after washing up on shore.

heng44
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posted 01-22-2019 09:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
True, but those were not the Apollo 4 cameras but those of the unmanned Saturn I flight SA-7, launched on September 18, 1964. Its camera pods were ejected directly into hurricane Gladys. Seven weeks later, two of the pods washed up, one on the island of San Salvador and the other on the island of Eleuthera.

This NASA photo apparently shows the helicopter crew that recovered the Apollo 4 pods, seen on the deck in front of them.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-22-2019 10:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to a 1970 command history submitted to the chief of naval operations, the USS Austin was indeed responsible for recovering the staging film.
On 4 November 1967 AUSTIN, assisted by a detachment of Navy helicopters, members of Underwater Demolition Team 21, and NASA representatives became part of the recovery force for the Apollo 4 Space mission. The actual recovery of the spacecraft was, as planned, in another ship's assigned area; however, AUSTIN provided valuable service by recovering two camera cassettes carried by the first stage booster which had taken excellent pictures of the flight during liftoff and first stage flight.

heng44
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posted 01-23-2019 02:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Excellent, thanks for confirming that Robert.

holcombeyates
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posted 01-24-2019 04:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for holcombeyates   Click Here to Email holcombeyates     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is great info. The picture is superb - It would be a great addition to an article about these cameras that I am finishing off.

Are these photos copyrighted? Would love to use it. If anyone has a link to it, that would be great. Also, if anyone has any other great photos like this, or photos of the cameras that would be great.

jklier
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From: Austin, Texas
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posted 01-25-2019 07:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jklier   Click Here to Email jklier     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Where and when will your article be published? I'd be interested in reading it!

holcombeyates
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posted 01-25-2019 11:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for holcombeyates   Click Here to Email holcombeyates     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not sure yet but happy to send a draft... feedback always welcome, please send me an email.

Here is a picture of the camera capsule predicted impact point, along with that of the S1C.

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