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Author Topic:   Davidson Center for Space Exploration (AL)
Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-16-2006 12:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Saturn/Apollo Reunion features groundbreaking for new Saturn V Visitor Center

Three retired astronauts and the former director of NASA's Manned Space Flight Program during the Apollo-era were among the dignitaries on-hand for the Third Annual Saturn/Apollo Reunion held Saturday at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Apollo astronauts Richard Gordon and Walt Cunningham along with Dr. George Mueller assisted during the event with the official groundbreaking for the new Saturn V Visitor Complex and Intermodal Center. The 43,200 square foot Saturn V Visitor Complex will eventually house Huntsville's Saturn V rocket, preserving it indoors for future generations to behold. The facility is scheduled to open next summer.

The Saturn V building will be located on the western section of USSRC's property adjacent to a standing replica of the Saturn V. The Saturn V Restoration Campaign has currently raised approximately $5.3 million of the project's $7.5 million goal.

The intermodal bus transportation (IBT) facility, which will allow visitors to unload from buses, vans, and cars, will be located adjacent to the Saturn V facility, becoming the new point of entry to the museum complex. The IBT building is funded separately from the Saturn V Restoration Project and will be paid for with a $12.9 million appropriation from the Federal Transit Administration.



In addition to Gordon and Cunningham, Skylab and shuttle astronaut Owen Garriott attended the festivities.
David Hitt contributed photographs and information to this report.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-16-2006 12:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

mikej
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posted 07-16-2006 10:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As was stated during the reunion, the event featured the "official" groundbreaking. "Unofficially," a good deal of ground had already been broken:

If you look closely, you can see the yellow blobs to the left of the tent, which are the various earth movers working on the project.

I got the impression that Owen Garriott just "dropped by;" his name did not appear in the program, he was not officially part of the festivities (although he was acknowledge by several speakers), and he sat in the "cheap seats" during the groundbreaking -- not in the reserved seat section.

Near the end of the evening, I chatted a bit with Mr. Garriott. He said that this was the first time he'd ever been accused of stealing a Saturn V!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-10-2007 10:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
U.S. Space & Rocket Center release
Going Up!

The steel framework for the new Saturn V Visitors Center at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center started going up this week. In fact, the first massive piece of steel was hoisted into place Wednesday afternoon. Since then, what will become the frame for the giant building has already begun to take shape.

"It's exciting. We've been waiting years for this day to arrive," says Space Center CEO Larry Capps. "From this point on, the progress is going to be quite obvious," he added.

Covering more than 68,000 square feet, the Saturn V Visitors Center will stand over six stories tall, 476 feet long and 90 feet wide. It will eventually house Huntsville's own Saturn V rocket vehicle, one of only three remaining in existence. The aging rocket has been lying on display at the back of the Space Center's Rocket Park since the facility opened in 1970. The rocket underwent restoration last year in anticipation of eventually being moved indoors to be preserved for future generations.

The next eagerly anticipated milestone will be the actual relocation of the rocket to its new indoor home, scheduled for July. The various upper stages will be moved aside to allow for the massive first stage to be gently eased into place, followed by the second and third stages. The remainder of the building will be completed around the rocket. Because the rocket vehicle will be displayed at least ten feet above floor level, the new building will also provide much needed and very unique special events and conference space.

However, the most eagerly anticipated milestone in the project is its completion and the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new facility, scheduled for November. "You can expect a grand opening event unlike anything Huntsville has seen in many years," according to Capps.

The opening of the Saturn V Visitor's Center will complete a monumental year for the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and Space Camp, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary in June. The program is also expecting to graduate its 500,000th trainee in late spring or early summer.

Tom
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posted 03-10-2007 12:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Unlike the vehicles at Kennedy Space Center and Houston, isn't the Saturn V that is on display at Huntsville made up of three "test" stages that were not meant to fly?

I believe the KSC vehicle first stage was also a "test" stage.

dtemple
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posted 03-10-2007 04:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dtemple   Click Here to Email dtemple     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Saturn V at Huntsville is in fact composed of test stages. It is Saturn V 500-D though the second stage is 500-F/D as it was also used in the 500-F stack (or facilites verification vehicle), the first Saturn V to be rolled out of the VAB and placed at Pad 39A (May 25, 1966). Saturn V 500-D was used for dynamics testing (roll, yaw, and pitch tests) at Huntsville. The construction of the original S-II 500-D was cancelled. For more info see "Saturn" by Alan Lawrie and Robert Godwin.

Whizzospace
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posted 09-05-2007 09:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Whizzospace   Click Here to Email Whizzospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I finally got eyes on the Davidson Center, and it looks fantastic as of August 3rd.

Mr Meek
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posted 12-08-2007 10:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mr Meek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I grew up in Huntsville, and was excited to learn that the Saturn V was getting a new home. She was always a highlight of every trip, especially the one summer when they did a laser show on her side!

First, a few notes about the new building. If you're coming in from I-565 westbound and park in the east parking lot, you can't see the new building at all. I recommend this approach, frankly, because walking west, around the "SR-71" will give you a dramatic reveal of the structure. It's Big. Real Big. And the windows on the end looking into those five F-1's were absolutely the best choice they could have made, because the experience is jaw dropping.

The webcam on the museum's website shows you the S-IC, but there's nothing to show you the other end of the display. My girlfriend and I had the opportunity, when we were in Huntsville for Thanksgiving, to run up the length of the new building, and rectify that situation.

Here's a photo of yours truly doing a little harmless trespassing*. You can see the top of the S-IVB, the SLA/SM, and CM/LES all suspended. The display is mind-blowing, and I plan to be there on Jan. 31, 2008.

* It was the day after Thanksgiving, the workers had the day off, and the barrels that normally would cordon off the area were moved/blown to one side. Don't try this at home, kids. Then again, the USSRC staff may not care. We were careful to stay clear of any equipment, though.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-14-2007 07:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
U.S. Space & Rocket Center release
Time lapse camera recording construction of Saturn V Visitor's Center at USSRC

When the ribbon is cut on Huntsville's new Saturn V Visitor's Center at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center later this year, guests will have the opportunity to watch the entire construction phase of the project in just a matter of seconds. Last year, the Center installed a time lapse camera in the construction area to record the building going up and the massive Saturn V rocket vehicle being moved into its new home.

"It'll be like watching the building rise up out of the ground," said Space Center CEO Larry Capps. He adds, "And now that the steel is going up, each shot the camera takes is slightly different from the previous shot."

The camera is set to shoot a new image, or frame, every 60 seconds. As the still images are converted to video, it will take 30 frames to make one second of video. In other words, using all of the frames, it would take 2 seconds to watch one hour's work, but not all of the frames will be used in the final edit.

The camera, a high-quality digital still image camera, can be operated by remote control allowing Center personnel to adjust the exposure and shooting interval from the main building. A second camera, a web-based video camera, can be viewed by the general public, allowing anyone with internet access to watch the construction live.

In July, when the Saturn V rocket vehicle is moved into the unfinished building, the Center will use several cameras to catch the historical event from various angles. Those images will be incorporated into the time lapse project. "Ultimately, we want to be able to see every aspect of the rocket's journey because we don't plan to ever move it again," Capps said.

The end result will be a five-to-six minute video depicting the construction of the new facility and its new inhabitant being moved into place. The time lapse video will premiere in conjunction with the grand opening of the Saturn V Visitor's Center.>

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-13-2007 09:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Huntsville Times: Naming rights sold for Saturn V exhibit
A Huntsville couple have committed to buying the right to name the Saturn V exhibition hall and visitors center under construction at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

Space Center CEO Larry Capps said he can't identify the couple yet but said it would be their name on the building, which is expected to open in November. He expects to be able to release their name and details about their plans in a few weeks.

"The couple has been very significant in the missile and space industry and in a multitude of philanthropic projects in this town," Capps said Thursday.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-10-2007 12:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
U.S. Space & Rocket Center release
Workers will begin moving the massive Saturn V rocket vehicle from its perch of almost 40 years in Rocket Park at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center to its new home inside the Davidson Saturn V Center Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m. The move, dubbed "Rocket Roll", represents a major milestone in the four year effort to restore and preserve the artifact for many future generations.

Plans call for the third stage of the Saturn V to be moved to a holding area west of the Davidson Saturn V Center, currently under construction to permanently house the rocket vehicle and other artifacts related to the Saturn and Apollo programs. Workers will then move the first stage, the largest of the major components, into the new building, followed by the second and third stages. All three stages are expected to be in place in time for the Fourth Annual Saturn/Apollo Reunion scheduled for Friday, July 13th.

Local officials, including Marshall Space Flight Center Deputy Director Robert Lightfoot Jr., along with former NASA astronaut and member of the NASA Advisory Council Dr. Owen K. Garriott, will "launch" the Saturn V on its final journey during a brief pyrotechnic and audio presentation. Admission to Rocket Roll, sponsored by Accenture, is free and open to the public.

Scheduled for grand opening on January 31, 2008, the Davidson Saturn V Center will become the new "front door" for the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, housing the Visitor Ticketing Area, a 350-seat auditorium, the Saturn V Rocket Vehicle and a 42,000-square-foot exhibit space to showcase the history of the Saturn program and demonstrate how lessons learned during the Apollo program are affecting design and engineering decisions today. In order to present the full story, the exhibits in the Saturn V Gallery will also show the evolution of propulsion systems from the Saturn V to the shuttle and how that technology is being adapted to the Ares rocket vehicle system.

Completion of the 68,200-square-foot Davidson Saturn V Center is the first stage in a USSRC plan to better showcase NASA and Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) contributions to historical, current, and future space exploration.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-11-2007 06:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Huntsville Times: Saturn V begins trek to new Space Center home
At a decidedly slower pace than it once knew, the rocket that took astronauts to the moon has launched again.

The rocket's speed Tuesday morning was about half a mile an hour, on the back of a KAMAG transport truck, headed for its new home in the still-under-construction $22.5 million Davidson Saturn V Center at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-12-2007 08:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Huntsville Times: Saturn V coming together
The slow Saturn V parade continues at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, where the first stage of the historic rocket to the moon can already be seen under the roof of its new home.

The area's badly needed rainfall has so far not delayed the "Rocket Roll," said CEO Larry Capps during a meeting of the Alabama Space Science and Exhibit Commission Wednesday afternoon.

mikej
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posted 07-17-2007 08:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My wife and I went down to the US Space & Rocket Center to watch the Saturn V move...
I've liked the space program since I was a young child -- I have pictures of the cake from my second birthday, with a rocket and astronauts on it.

I never got the chance to see a Saturn V move on its own. Piecing together information I remember as a child with facts I know as an adult, the closest I ever came to seeing a Saturn V launch was Apollo 17. I had just turned five, and I was going to be able to stay up late to watch the launch (which would have been around 8:30 pm). Unfortunately, there was a hold and my parents sent me to bed.

Since Kennedy moved their Saturn V into a building years ago and Johnson just finished putting a building around their Saturn V last year, I figured that this would my last opportunity to see a Saturn V move. Ever since attending the groundbreaking last year when I spoke with Larry Capps (CEO of the USSRC) and he said that the move was expected to take only three or four days, I knew I had to be there for it.

I used the "contact us" link on the website to get periodic updates on the move; eventually, the move was set for July 10-13, with the Saturn/Apollo Reunion scheduled for July 13.

I got a bit of a scare in the middle of June. I check the webcams every morning. One morning I saw that the service module/SLA combination had been moved to the lot behind the Saturn V Center. I half expected that the contractors would slip on their schedule and wind up moving it late -- I never expected that they'd move it early! I tried emailing my regular contact, but she didn't respond in her usual prompt manner.

I called the USSRC's main number and was forwarded around from one person to another ("Someone told you I'd know something about the Saturn V move? No, not me. Maybe try..."). Eventually, someone told me to try "Cliff" and gave me his extension.

I got through to "Cliff." He was very friendly and we chatted for a good 15 or 20 minutes, both about the Saturn V move and about space artifacts and the USSRC in general. He told me that they'd moved the SLA so that they could make site improvements necessary to move the first and second stages, and assured me that the move would not take place until July 10. After I hung up the phone, I Googled "Cliff," only to find out that he was Cliff Broderick, COO of the USSRC!

So, we drove down to Huntsville on Monday July 9 so that we could see the Saturn V in its "pre-moved" location one last time. There were a couple of people working on the Saturn when we got there, and a number of folks in business attire were there observing. One of the fellows had a "Cliff Broderick" ID badge, so I began to introduce myself, saying that I was from Wisconsin and had spoke with him about three weeks earlier. Before I could get my name out, he said, "You must be Mike."

I was soon to find that this sort of "southern hospitality" is indicative of the staff at the USSRC.

The SLA, as mentioned above, had been moved. The S-IVB was on a "Kamag," basically a very large flatbed truck. Sitting on the Kamag, the S-IVB reminded me of nothing so much as a float in a Fourth of July parade.

mikej
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posted 07-17-2007 08:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The "Rocket Roll" ceremony was scheduled for 9:30 the next morning (Tuesday July 10); it was a rather dreary morning.

We arrived a bit early to again survey the state of the Saturn. We found that since the museum closed the previous night, the crew had removed the wheels from the S-IC carrier (the first stage was displayed on the same transporter used to move it around during manufacturing, testing, and delivery). We later found out that they were working until midnight.

The S-IC had been jacked up some eight or nine feet into the air and was resting on what we likened to "Jenga blocks," jacks made of some sort of African hardwood.

The ceremony was to be held under a tent erected for the occasion; it's a good thing, too, because the dreary weather soon turned into heavy rain.

The ceremony was fairly short, emceed by USSRC CEO Larry Capps. A representative of the ceremony's corporate sponsor (Accenture) spoke, as did an official from Marshall and astronaut Owen Garriott.

Then they played the last minute or so of the Apollo 11 countdown. Once the countdown got sufficiently far along, we found out that the sponsor had sprung for some very powerful subwoofers, and at T-0, smoke began drifting out of the S-IC's F-1 engines.

mikej
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posted 07-17-2007 08:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Shortly thereafter, the S-IVB began rolling.

It traveled down the access road, eventually parking next to the SLA on the lot behind the Saturn V Center.

mikej
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posted 07-17-2007 08:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The crowd which had assembled for the ceremony soon dispersed. We went back to the car to deposit some goodies we'd acquired during the Rocket Roll. By the time we returned to the tent, everyone had left other than Al Whitaker (media relations manager for the USSRC) and Konrad and Jackie Dannenberg.

Jackie is very friendly and introduced herself right away. She's very knowledgeable about space-related topics; she used to drive a USSRC tour bus over to Marshall and knows several astronauts, and we all chatted while the work men continued working on the S-IC. Al had a lot of stories to tell, both about the USSRC and about his various media-related jobs. Konrad, well, is Konrad Dannenberg! He also kept a watchful eye on "the most important part" of the Saturn.

The crew rearranged the jacking and positioned the crawlers under both the aft and forward ends of the S-IC.

The crawlers are certainly impressive pieces of machinery. They have six sets of wheels, each of which can be individually steered and positioned vertically. The aft crawler was double-wide (apparently two crawlers which had been mechanically and electrically fastened together), while the forward crawler consisted of a single unit.

While they had laid a good layer of gravel as part of the site improvements, the rain was causing some of the wheels on the crawler to slip, so they wound up putting down steel plating and plywood to form a more stable surface.

While one group of workers began lashing the S-IC to the crawlers, another group began jacking up the S-II stage.

The second stage, unlike the S-IC, was not on its original transporter. While it still had its forward handling ring on it, both the forward and aft ends of the stage rested on shallow cradles, and were clamped to the cradles.

The process of jacking up the stage consisted of digging out a hollow spot under the cradle so that they could insert a hydraulic ram. The hydraulic cylinder extended out the bottom of the ram, and the crew inserted the "Jenga blocks" underneath. They retracted the cylinders, repositioned the rams so that the cylinder would rest on the jacking ties, and repeated the process.

Somewhere along the line, Irene Willhite, curator of the USSRC, came out to observe the activities. Irene was also very friendly and we had a great time chatting with her.

And so Tuesday, July 10 ended without either the S-IC or S-II moving.

It was expected that the first stage would be moved on July 10, and there were various media representatives who came and went throughout the day. One TV camera crew, without having a moving rocket to report, interviewed Konrad instead. Even though he's long since retired, Konrad is still something of a celebrity. In addition to that TV interview, he also had another film crew interview him somewhere along the line. Whether being interviewed about the V2 or the Saturn, or whether just chatting about taking his grandkids down to see the STS-1 launch, he still remembers every detail.

mikej
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posted 07-17-2007 08:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We arrived early Wednesday morning. The Dannenbergs were already there, and it was raining or threatening to do so most of the morning.

The S-IC began moving about 8:10. Each crawler had its own operator, who controlled the crawler via a chest-mounted console. They backed the S-IC up several feet to get a bit more clearance between it and the S-II stage. Then, showing off the capabilities of the crawlers, they pivoted the forward crawler about 90 degrees. It pivoted in place -- the booster never moved.

The S-IC just moved out like a car which had been parallel parked.

mikej
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posted 07-17-2007 08:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It rolled out, passing behind the S-II...

...past the Skylab mockup...

...past the S-IVB and SLA parked behind the Saturn V Center...

mikej
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posted 07-17-2007 08:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
...and to the open (west) end of the building...

...where the reversed direction and started moving into the building.

After the S-IC had gone far enough "around the bend," everyone scrambled from the west side of the grounds back toward the museum (located on the east side of the grounds), through the museum, out the front entrance, and down into the lower parking lot so we could once again see the stage.

A gate leading to the Saturn V Center was open, and we just went through the gate and up toward the building, still keeping what we considered a respectful distance. We did not go unnoticed, however, and since we did not have hardhats or steel-toed boots, some construction managers shooed us away to what they considered a "minimum safe distance."

They stopped the S-IC in the middle of the building so they could prepare the posts on which the S-IC would rest in the building. From first movement until they placed it in its staging location was about 50 minutes.

mikej
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posted 07-17-2007 08:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Having moved the S-IC, the crew turned their attention to finishing the job of jacking up the S-II.

Of course, they couldn't actually do much with the S-II while the crawlers were still supporting the S-IC stage.

I went out to the Saturn V Center throughout the day, checking on the progress of the S-IC. Some time between 3:15 and 4:00, they moved it into its final position. I later overheard that they used a laser positioning system to determine where the S-IC should lay; they were originally off by 1/3" so they fired up the crawlers, moved them forward and then back, right into position.

There was no additional progress visible from the parking lot by the time the museum closed, but I returned at 7:00 pm, in time to watch them install the final two support columns in their foundations and then lower the S-IC onto the posts.

And so Wednesday July 11 ended with the S-IC resting in its new home.

mikej
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posted 07-17-2007 08:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We again arrived early on Thursday July 12, which was the one day it did not rain. Even though I thought it looked like most of the crew left around 8:00 the previous evening, we found that the crawlers had been moved from the Saturn V Center to the Rocket Garden, near the spot formerly occupied by the S-IC.

The crew worked on rigging up the crawlers to transport the S-II stage, and by 8:30 they were moving the crawlers under the S-II. By about 10:00, they had both crawlers in position and both ends of the stage were securely lashed down.

They fired up the crawlers to start the move, but the S-II proved to be much more problematic than the S-IC: They had to abort after moving the S-II less than a foot:

The stage was shaking too much, and they were afraid of damaging it.

mikej
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posted 07-17-2007 08:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They decided to try to secure the forward and aft ends of the stage using nylon straps and chains.

They finished that up just in time for lunch but by 12:45 they were ready to try again. This time, the didn't even move a foot before they waved off; the stage was still moving too much.

After a short meeting of the various crews, a call went out to Marshall for I-beams. While waiting for Marshall to deliver the I-beams, they located some on the USSRC grounds and brought them to the work area. By the time they relocated the USSRC I-beams, the truck from Marshall arrived.

Marshall delivered four I-beams. They moved two to each side of the S-II and began to bolt them together, only to find out that they were roofing I-beams and would join together at an angle, rather than forming a single straight beam. So, they had to bring the fork lifts back over and flip one of the beams around so they could make a single, straight I-beam.

mikej
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posted 07-17-2007 08:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After the I-beams were bolted together, they were also welded together, and then a "patch" was welded over the top of them, using beams which had formerly supported the S-II's cradle.

The joining of the I-beams done, the crew used a crane and a forklift to lift each I-beam up and position it on top of the jacking, and then they lowered the S-II and its cradle onto the I-beam.

By this time, it was nearly 7:00 pm on the only day it didn't rain. The first shift welders were ready to go home, and the second shift was expected to start welding by about 7:30. One of the crew said that they expected that the welding wouldn't be done until 10:00 or 11:00 pm.

So, Thursday ended with the S-II still in the rocket garden.

mikej
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posted 07-17-2007 08:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Friday morning began with a drizzling rain. While on the freeway driving to the USSRC, it really started to rain. I commented to my wife, "Ah, rocket-moving weather!".

We arrived under the tent to find the all the welding done. In addition to welding the I-beams to the cradles, they also welded one of the USSRC I-beams cross-wise between the two Marshall I-beams for additional support. Shortly before 9:00, they were ready to roll.

mikej
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posted 07-17-2007 08:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The S-II followed the same path traveled by the S-IC two days earlier:

mikej
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posted 07-17-2007 08:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jackie and Konrad drove off in their mini-van, with my wife in tow, as the S-II started around the corner (I stayed behind to get some more pictures).

As I began to follow the same path I traveled when they moved the S-IC (across the grounds, toward the museum so I could get out to the front lot), I became the beneficiary of being in the very right place at the very right time.

There was a USSRC maintenance fellow (who shall remain nameless, to protect the innocent) in a golf cart. We'd him seen under the tent shooting home video earlier. Since it was still raining pretty hard and I had only a small umbrella, I asked if could hitch a ride around front. He said that he was going to go around back and motioned for me to hop in. He stopped off, got me a hard hat, and we took off chasing after the S-II crawler.

We initially took the same gravel road that the crawler took, but then went "off road," the golf cart fishtailing in the Alabama mud. We caught up with the S-II just as it began to near the open end of the Saturn V Center.

We drove around and got in front of it.

He parked the golf cart just outside the building and we charged into the Saturn V Center (checking out the S-IC).

mikej
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posted 07-17-2007 08:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From my new vantage point, I was able to watch them drive the S-II into the building.

mikej
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posted 07-17-2007 08:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

mikej
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From: Germantown, WI USA
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posted 07-17-2007 08:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There's still a gravel floor in the Saturn V Center. They were apparently concerned that the weight of the crawlers would be too much for a concrete floor to support, and will pour the final floor at a later time. They did, however, have concrete foundations to anchor the support posts.

The S-II's journey lasted about 50 minutes. Shortly after the S-II was mostly in place (they still had to gouge the welds to remove the I-beams before they could erect the support posts and eventually lower the S-II into its final location), we left the Saturn V Center.

I checked on the S-II's progress throughout the day; I saw some welding going on around 1:30. We attended the screening of The Wonder of it All as part of the Saturn/Apollo Reunion. After we got out from that (around 4:45), they'd removed one of the I-beams.

The reunion was soon underway, but by the time the fireworks were over, the S-II was still it crawlers.

It was originally planned to move the S-IVB into the building on Friday, but with the delays, that was postponed until Tuesday July 17 at the earliest (and, checking the web cam right now, it looks like rain has delayed that some more).

So, when we left the USSRC, (most of) the Saturn V was bathed in light, on its new "pad".

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-13-2007 07:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Huntsville Times: Saturn V Center gets new name
The name of the restored Saturn V rocket's exhibition hall now under construction at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center has been amended to better fit the building's mission, said CEO Larry Capps.

It is now the Davidson Center for Space Exploration rather than simply the Davidson Saturn V Center, he said.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-28-2008 02:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Huntsville Times: Saturn replica stepping back into spotlight
During ceremonies at 5 p.m. today, the spotlights will shine on the full-size replica of the Saturn V moon rocket that stands, as if ready for launch, at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

The public is invited to the free event, which will include brief remarks from Space Center CEO Larry Capps and others, and is part of the citywide celebration this week of the 50th Anniversary of America in Space.

The lights had to be turned off for 18 months during construction of the Davidson Center for Space Exploration, prompting calls from curious Huntsvillians and even a few complaints, Capps said.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 01-29-2008 09:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Huntsville Times will webcast the January 31 gala celebrating the opening of the Davidson Center for Space Exploration:
The gala has been sold out for weeks, but anyone wanting to watch the 50th Anniversary of America in Space festivities and the grand opening of the Davidson Center for Space Exploration Thursday night should be able to get a great view on their computer screen.

The entire evening's program will be streamed live by al.com, the Web home of The Huntsville Times. The dinner and awards program begin at 7 p.m.

For those local to the event but unable to attend, Comcast Cable also plans to broadcast the evening's festivities.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-01-2008 10:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Huntsville Times: Glimpses from inside the 50th anniversary gala
If gala guests at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration took their eyes off the restored Saturn V rocket suspended in the space above them long enough to look at their plate, they saw a stellar menu.

Each of the 1,400 or so diners enjoyed a petite filet of beef tenderloin with Madeira sauce, sea bass with chili lime sauce, organic baby baked potatoes, and could select from a variety of wines and artisanal breads, according to Claudia Jones, director of food and beverage for the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

She said Ellen's Creative Cakes presented a selection of "homemade" desserts.

The centerpiece of each table featured a model Saturn V atop an acrylic shaft, with blinking colored lights beneath cotton billows of launch smoke.

Mr Meek
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From: Chattanooga, TN
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posted 02-15-2008 10:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mr Meek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, after all the waiting, I can confidently say that the new building and the restored rocket are mind-blowing.

Jim was kind enough to post some of the pictures on the Field Guide to American Spacecraft:

However, I took way, way more pictures than would fit on the Guide. I put the best ones up on Flickr:

And, as an extra bonus, here are some other photos from around the USSRC that day. Highlights include a Mystery Shed that may or may not be a BP (it has holes for an LES tower!), arty shots of the Saturn V model and Pathfinder, and proof that the F-1 that some thought was destroyed for a movie is in fact in good shape.

What, you need more convincing?

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 09-11-2010 03:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
U.S. Space & Rocket Center release
USSRC's Davidson Center wins coveted AIA Birmingham People's Choice Award

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center congratulates the architectural firm of Gresham, Smith & Partners for their design of the Davidson Center for Space Exploration, recipient of the 2010 AIA Birmingham People's Choice Award. The Davidson Center was one of 30 finalists for the award, sanctioned by the American Institute of Architects, yet received almost 70% of the 2,778 votes cast.

Opened in January, 2008, the 68,000 square foot Davidson Center was designed to showcase Alabama's continuing role in America's manned space flight program, as well as house the very first Saturn V rocket vehicle, the prototype of the rocket that would eventually make it possible to land humans on the moon. The Saturn V was designed and built in Huntsville.

The Davidson Center opened on the 50th anniversary of America's initial foray into space as a national showcase for the manned space flight program, but has quickly become one of the most unique venues in the nation for special events as well as public and private gatherings. It has been the scene of weddings, corporate dinners, even a recent gathering of Congressional Medal of Honor recipients.

"Designing a building to house the Saturn V wasn't the challenge on this project," according to Larry Capps, CEO of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. He added, "The challenge was coming up with a design that would do justice to the ingenuity behind the rocket. What Gresham, Smith and Partners designed for us is something all of Huntsville can take pride in."

The Davidson Center also includes a 350-seat digital 3D theater, gift shop, and commercial kitchen to accommodate groups of up to 1,500.

Voting this year was managed on the website of Birmingham television station Fox 6 News, which displayed photos of all 30 finalists for the award. For more information.

All times are CT (US)

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