Author Topic: Saturn 1B launch platform  (Read 7347 times)

Offline rsp1202

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Saturn 1B launch platform
« on: 10/02/2007 02:14 PM »
Am I correct in assuming the platform used to launch Saturn 1B's during Skylab was an attempt to use existing Saturn V facilities? It was quite a construction and always seemed to me to be a fine balancing act, though obviously it worked as intended. Can someone point me to more info on its background -- I think it was called the "footstool" or some such. Thanks in advance.

Offline Rifleman

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Re: Saturn 1B launch platform
« Reply #1 on: 10/02/2007 02:26 PM »
I think that the term "Barstool" and "Toilet Seat" were sometimes used to describe it. You are correct, that is was used to allow the 1b to use the 5's launch equipment.

Offline brihath

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RE: Saturn 1B launch platform
« Reply #2 on: 10/02/2007 02:30 PM »
I believe the correct terminology was the "milkstool".

Since there was no use for the VAB after the last Saturn V launch until Shuttle, the Milkstool allowed use of an existing infrastructure rather than using the stack on pad method used on LC-34 and LC-37.

I don't have insight to all the decisions back then, but it seemed like a logical attempt to control costs during the post-Apollo cutbacks by eliminating redundant facilities.

Offline Jim

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Re: Saturn 1B launch platform
« Reply #3 on: 10/02/2007 03:33 PM »
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19790075722_1979075722.pdf

Describes mothballing 34 and 37.

The milkstool allowed for the LUT to support the S-IB with an Apollo spacecraft.

The stool placed the Apollo spacecraft and S-IVB stage at the same levels as a Saturn V.

By adding supports, hold down arms and TSMs to the top to the stool and some rerouting of utilities, it could support the S-IB first stage.  Some consoles were moved from LC-34/37 to the LCC to control the stage.  

The main constraint on the Milkstool is that it couldn't weight more than the S-IC stage.

Offline brihath

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Re: Saturn 1B launch platform
« Reply #4 on: 10/02/2007 06:14 PM »
Jim-

Thanks for the link on the LC-34 and LC-37 mothballing.  I didn't realize it took place that quickly after Apollo 7.

Offline William Graham

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Re: Saturn 1B launch platform
« Reply #5 on: 10/02/2007 06:39 PM »
Quote
brihath - 2/10/2007  7:14 PM
I didn't realize it took place that quickly after Apollo 7.
I'm not sure, but this is what I think happened:

The original plan for Apollo was to launch a few manned Earth orbit test flights using the IB. Of these, Apollo 7 was the only one to fly, as Apollo 8* was transferred to the Saturn V, and Most of the others were cancelled altogether. (* - What we know as Apollo 8 was added later in the schedule, the mission that was originally designated Apollo 8 flew as Apollo 9). After these flights, all focus would switch to exploring the moon for a few years, so LC-34 and 37 were taken out of service for a few years, mostly to save money.

Before Apollo funding was cut, it was envisaged that it would develop into a new programme, Apollo Applications (referred to as AAP in the document above). This would see continued lunar exploration, but would also see Earth orbit missions, such as Skylab.

In order to support these two different types of missions, the Saturn IB would be required again, and would launch from LC-34 and 37, so it didn't get in the way of the Saturn V's that would still be thundering off to the moon from LC-39. Skylab itself was originally scheduled for launch on a Saturn IB (it would be launched as an active S-IVB, and then astronauts would modify it in orbit), and was only transferred to the Saturn INT-21 after the cancellation of Apollo 20 freed up the neccisary stages to build one.

Then, the US government cut funding for Apollo, and all lunar flights after Apollo 17 were cancelled. This eliminated scheduling conflicts on LC-39, and NASA realised that it would be quicker and cheaper to modify LC-39 to take the IB, than to reactivate 34 or 37 for just three or four flights.

Please correct me if I've made any mistakes. I wasn't alive at the time, so anything I know about this has been picked up from books and the internet, and could well be wrong.

Offline Jim

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Re: Saturn 1B launch platform
« Reply #6 on: 10/02/2007 07:41 PM »
The dry workshop was approve around the timeframe of Apollo 11.  

Edit:  July 18 was the decision for it

The decision for LC-39 only was May 1970

Offline Jim

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Re: Saturn 1B launch platform
« Reply #7 on: 10/02/2007 07:48 PM »
found the link that explains it all

http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4208/ch13.htm#t1

The milkstool was first looked at in early 1969

Offline rsp1202

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Re: Saturn 1B launch platform
« Reply #8 on: 10/02/2007 08:12 PM »
Thanks, that's great.

Offline TJL

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Re: Saturn 1B launch platform
« Reply #9 on: 10/02/2007 08:26 PM »
An early Apollo schedule had AS-207 and AS-208 launching in support of the first test of the Lunar Module in earth orbit.
207 was to carry LM-2 and 208 was to launch McDivitt Scott and Schweickart.
Was the first launch supposed to fly from Pad 37, with the manned launch a day later from Pad 34?

Offline Zoomer30

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Re: Saturn 1B launch platform
« Reply #10 on: 10/09/2007 06:41 PM »
I think the "wet lab" had a lot more costs involved, since all the equipment had to be made to be able to be immersed in cryogenic propelled.  The dry lab is much better, but then you need the SatV.  Its scary to think where we could be if NASA had stuck to its guns, GOT its money and just skipped the whole shuttle program alltogether.  Could be living on the Moon by now.  Just continue advancing the Apollo program.

Offline Jorge

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Re: Saturn 1B launch platform
« Reply #11 on: 10/09/2007 07:16 PM »
Quote
Zoomer30 - 9/10/2007  1:41 PM

I think the "wet lab" had a lot more costs involved, since all the equipment had to be made to be able to be immersed in cryogenic propelled.  The dry lab is much better, but then you need the SatV.  Its scary to think where we could be if NASA had stuck to its guns, GOT its money and just skipped the whole shuttle program alltogether.  Could be living on the Moon by now.  Just continue advancing the Apollo program.

If NASA had "stuck to its guns", it would still not have got "its" money. That money belongs to the taxpayers and NASA failed to justify its need, period. Our elected officials are accountable for that money and the public sentiment to keep spending it just wasn't there. The outcome would have been that the NASA administrator would have been fired and the president would have appointed a new administrator to do some housecleaning. It is arguable that that is what happened anyway. NASA under Tom Paine insisted on an ambitious post-Apollo program with a moon base and manned missions to Mars. Or at least, it did until Paine "resigned" in 1970 to return to GE.

As much as I love NASA and the space program, the idea of any federal agency going "rogue" and demanding "its" money in defiance of both our elected officials and public opinion scares the bejesus out of me. The idea that anyone would think this is a good idea scares me even more.
JRF

Online edkyle99

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Re: Saturn 1B launch platform
« Reply #12 on: 10/10/2007 02:23 AM »
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Jorge - 9/10/2007  2:16 PM

If NASA had "stuck to its guns", it would still not have got "its" money. That money belongs to the taxpayers and NASA failed to justify its need, period. Our elected officials are accountable for that money and the public sentiment to keep spending it just wasn't there.

So true.  One has to have lived through 1967-69 to understand how truly vast the public opposition had become to the Moon program spending.  It was the worst part of Vietnam.  (Think Iraq times 100 - a war that the U.S. really did lose.)  Kids were being drafted to go there, and quite a few of them weren't coming back.  There were protests and race riots.  Assassinations.  Cities were burning, literally.  Chicago police were clubbing college kids on Michigan Avenue on live TV.  The economy was stuttering.  Inflation was starting up.  With all of this social turmoil going on, big NASA funding had almost no public support.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline wingod

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Re: Saturn 1B launch platform
« Reply #13 on: 10/10/2007 02:26 AM »
Quote
GW_Simulations - 2/10/2007  1:39 PM

Quote
brihath - 2/10/2007  7:14 PM
I didn't realize it took place that quickly after Apollo 7.
I'm not sure, but this is what I think happened:

The original plan for Apollo was to launch a few manned Earth orbit test flights using the IB. Of these, Apollo 7 was the only one to fly, as Apollo 8* was transferred to the Saturn V, and Most of the others were cancelled altogether. (* - What we know as Apollo 8 was added later in the schedule, the mission that was originally designated Apollo 8 flew as Apollo 9). After these flights, all focus would switch to exploring the moon for a few years, so LC-34 and 37 were taken out of service for a few years, mostly to save money.

Before Apollo funding was cut, it was envisaged that it would develop into a new programme, Apollo Applications (referred to as AAP in the document above). This would see continued lunar exploration, but would also see Earth orbit missions, such as Skylab.

In order to support these two different types of missions, the Saturn IB would be required again, and would launch from LC-34 and 37, so it didn't get in the way of the Saturn V's that would still be thundering off to the moon from LC-39. Skylab itself was originally scheduled for launch on a Saturn IB (it would be launched as an active S-IVB, and then astronauts would modify it in orbit), and was only transferred to the Saturn INT-21 after the cancellation of Apollo 20 freed up the neccisary stages to build one.

Then, the US government cut funding for Apollo, and all lunar flights after Apollo 17 were cancelled. This eliminated scheduling conflicts on LC-39, and NASA realised that it would be quicker and cheaper to modify LC-39 to take the IB, than to reactivate 34 or 37 for just three or four flights.

Please correct me if I've made any mistakes. I wasn't alive at the time, so anything I know about this has been picked up from books and the internet, and could well be wrong.

It is interesting to ponder what could have been with a mixed Saturn V/1B lunar mission.  I am quite sure the Advanced Lunar Lander with a LOT of cargo could have been sent to the moon along with the CSM.



Offline Graham2001

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Re: Saturn 1B launch platform
« Reply #14 on: 10/11/2007 03:58 PM »
Quote
Jim - 2/10/2007  3:48 AM

found the link that explains it all

http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4208/ch13.htm#t1

The milkstool was first looked at in early 1969

I also found the linked page interesting because I've been looking at the whole thing from another and harder way, through the files stored on the NTRS. I've found one document (linked below) from March of 1969 discussing the use of LC-39 rather than the LC-37b/LC-34 combo to be interesting because it also includes a timeline chart for the original Saturn 1b based Skylab program.

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19790072613_1979072613.pdf

This is the version of Skylab that Hollywood used as the backdrop to the film 'Marooned', even if they did use footage of Apollo 4/6 to show the launch of 'Ironman One' (AAP 3A?).


Offline Graham2001

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Re: Saturn 1B launch platform
« Reply #15 on: 10/11/2007 04:10 PM »
Quote
TJL - 2/10/2007  4:26 AM

An early Apollo schedule had AS-207 and AS-208 launching in support of the first test of the Lunar Module in earth orbit.
207 was to carry LM-2 and 208 was to launch McDivitt Scott and Schweickart.
Was the first launch supposed to fly from Pad 37, with the manned launch a day later from Pad 34?

I've been researching the early planned flights and while I have not so far tracked down information on that pair of missions (or 'Apollo 1' as planned for that matter) I did manage to track down the mission plan for the original SA-206 mission which was later flown as Apollo 5.

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19790076662_1979076662.pdf

As originally planned the Saturn Ib would carry both a boilerplate CSM and LM-1 into orbit, after the boilerplate CSM was jettisoned the mission would proceed much as it did historically with a series of test burns for the descent and ascent stages including a test of the abort guidance system.

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19700078256_1970078256.pdf



Offline Graham2001

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Re: Saturn 1B launch platform
« Reply #16 on: 10/12/2007 12:38 AM »
Quote
TJL - 2/10/2007  4:26 AM

An early Apollo schedule had AS-207 and AS-208 launching in support of the first test of the Lunar Module in earth orbit.
207 was to carry LM-2 and 208 was to launch McDivitt Scott and Schweickart.
Was the first launch supposed to fly from Pad 37, with the manned launch a day later from Pad 34?

This is a follow up to my earlier reply on this. I finally managed to locate some information on the dual launch LM test mission on the NTRS.

According to the mission summary, as of the fourth of January 1967, AS-205 was going to launch from Pad 34 carrying the CSM and then 24hrs later AS-208 would launch the LM into orbit presumably from Pad 37, though it is not stated in the document.

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19670029752_1967029752.pdf

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