Author Topic: When were the production lines for the Saturn IB scrapped?  (Read 6055 times)

Offline fasquardon

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I've been trying to find details on when the production lines for the Saturn IB and its various components (the H-1, the 1st stage tankage and thrust structure, the J-2, the Saturn IVB tankage and the avionics for the rocket) were scrapped during the draw-down of Apollo and the shift of focus to the Shuttle.

And does anyone know what the story is for the re-start of H-1 production (as the RS-27) was?  Or have any details about how many surplus H-1 engines were converted to RS-27s and how it was done?

Just trying to understand the death spasms of this rocket and not turning up much of anything in my searches.

Thanks in advance!

fasquardon

Offline Michel Van

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So far i know stop the production of Saturn IB & Saturn V in July 1968,
in same time Rocketdyne work on Uprated simplified H-1 engine for Saturn IB, during it's cancelation.
NASA ordered Chrysler to halt production of the SA-213 and SA-214 first stages
and it cancelled SA-215 and SA-216 outright. 

 
October 1968 start contractors phaseout
Complete were 12 units SA-201 to SA-212 (9 used)

SA-209 unused  went into KSC rocket garden  in 1975
SA-211 unused is in Alabama
SA-212 SIVB became Skylab. first stage scrapped some were 1970
SA-213 first stage (only parts built). Unused and scrapped some were 1970
SA-214 first stage (only parts built). Unused and scrapped some were 1970

Rocketdyne used Uprated H-1 as RS-27 and most leftover H-1 were upgraded to RS-27.


 
« Last Edit: 07/28/2017 01:19 PM by Michel Van »

Online edkyle99

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So far i know stop the production of Saturn IB & Saturn V in July 1968,
in same time Rocketdyne work on Uprated simplified H-1 engine for Saturn IB, during it's cancelation.
NASA ordered Chrysler to halt production of the SA-213 and SA-214 first stages
and it cancelled SA-215 and SA-216 outright. 

 
October 1968 start contractors phaseout
Complete were 12 units SA-201 to SA-212 (9 used)

SA-209 unused  went into KSC rocket garden  in 1975
SA-211 unused is in Alabama
SA-212 SIVB became Skylab. first stage scrapped some were 1970
SA-213 first stage (only parts built). Unused and scrapped some were 1970
SA-214 first stage (only parts built). Unused and scrapped some were 1970

Rocketdyne used Uprated H-1 as RS-27 and most leftover H-1 were upgraded to RS-27.
The SA-214 first stage was eventually assembled and temporarily stored, along with, apparently, the SA-212 and 213 first stages.  They were probably maintained until it was obvious they were not needed for Skylab, etc.  I was surprised to run across this SA-214 photograph in the Marshall Space Center library a few years ago.
http://www.spacelaunchreport.com/sa214.html

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 07/28/2017 01:48 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline Archibald

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Hello, fellow AH.com member.

As said by the experts above - July 1968.

And by the way, this was a great thread
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=26667.0
... that ackward moment when you realize that Jeff Bezos personal fortune is far above NASA annual budget... 115 billion to 18 billion...

Offline Michel Van

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i have interesting question about Production phase out of Saturn IB and V

Online and some Literature, i read stories that production lines were Mothballed in august 1968
until 1973  with Start of Shuttle Program, the Saturn production tool were scraps

it that true ?


Offline fasquardon

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So far i know stop the production of Saturn IB & Saturn V in July 1968,
in same time Rocketdyne work on Uprated simplified H-1 engine for Saturn IB, during it's cancelation.
NASA ordered Chrysler to halt production of the SA-213 and SA-214 first stages

Do you know how late it was possible to produce more Saturn 1B stages and more Saturn IVB stages (so how long was the tooling and the skilled workers kept in readiness)?

i have interesting question about Production phase out of Saturn IB and V

Online and some Literature, i read stories that production lines were Mothballed in august 1968
until 1973  with Start of Shuttle Program, the Saturn production tool were scraps

it that true ?

This is exactly what I was wondering.

For example, I've heard (I think from e of pi over at alternatehistory.com, but I'm having trouble finding the post it was said in) that the tooling and workforce to produce J-2 engines was likely scrapped before NASA told Rocketdyne to shut down the production line (apparently because Rocketdyne didn't like making J-2 engines, though I suspect that if the J-2 line was shut down early, it must have still been after Rocketdyne felt NASA was committed to the SSME project).

My reason for being interested in the resurrection of the H-1 as the RS-27 is that I am curious just how much work it took to resurrect this piece of equipment and how much of the manufacturing skills were maintained by reconditioning old Saturn 1B H-1s as RS-27s for the Delta.  Just wanting to get a sense of what the "point of no return, it's dead and never coming back" was for the various parts of the Saturn IB launcher.

fasquardon

Offline Blackstar

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For example, I've heard (I think from e of pi over at alternatehistory.com, but I'm having trouble finding the post it was said in) that the tooling and workforce to produce J-2 engines was likely scrapped before NASA told Rocketdyne to shut down the production line (apparently because Rocketdyne didn't like making J-2 engines,

I find this difficult to believe. Rocketdyne viewed its engines as products that they might be able to sell in the future. They sought to preserve the ability to restart production on several of their engines because they believed that a rocket might come along in the future that required them. I doubt they would have done anything to undercut their ability to restart production.


Offline WallE

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The July 1968 date is correct. By the time Apollo 11 flew, essentially all Saturn/Apollo hardware had already been built and the production lines mothballed.

Note that NASA's budget/expenditures peaked in the mid-60s and were dropping off by the end of the decade, which reflects the fact that all the major design/construction work on the hardware had been finished.

Online e of pi

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For example, I've heard (I think from e of pi over at alternatehistory.com, but I'm having trouble finding the post it was said in) that the tooling and workforce to produce J-2 engines was likely scrapped before NASA told Rocketdyne to shut down the production line (apparently because Rocketdyne didn't like making J-2 engines,

I find this difficult to believe. Rocketdyne viewed its engines as products that they might be able to sell in the future. They sought to preserve the ability to restart production on several of their engines because they believed that a rocket might come along in the future that required them. I doubt they would have done anything to undercut their ability to restart production.
I don't think that was from me, because it doesn't pass my sniff test either. For what it's worth, the J-2 line was probably intact at least through the early 1970s, since I think it would have been contained under the retention of Saturn V construction. You can find information on the final end of that retention in document I-46 in this pdf, which is dated August 1972. Note also that it follows a memo which said they'd continue to support it if at all possible, and that the savings it achieves--just a hundred million or so!--are rather small. Additionally, the memo specifically states that the actual disposal of hardware would be held until after 1974 to save money in the FY 1973 budget. Thus, it's probably sometime after 1974 at the earliest that the J-2 is gone--well after NASA decided not to use it.

Offline fasquardon

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I don't think that was from me, because it doesn't pass my sniff test either. For what it's worth, the J-2 line was probably intact at least through the early 1970s, since I think it would have been contained under the retention of Saturn V construction. You can find information on the final end of that retention in document I-46 in this pdf, which is dated August 1972. Note also that it follows a memo which said they'd continue to support it if at all possible, and that the savings it achieves--just a hundred million or so!--are rather small. Additionally, the memo specifically states that the actual disposal of hardware would be held until after 1974 to save money in the FY 1973 budget. Thus, it's probably sometime after 1974 at the earliest that the J-2 is gone--well after NASA decided not to use it.

Well, maybe that's why I can't find this post about the J-2, I am attributing my hazy memories to the wrong person!

If I am reading this rightly, the memo I-46 was sent 2nd June 1972?  And Myers constantly refers to only the Saturn V production facilities (which covers the Saturn IV stage of course) except for this part:

"I have determined that:
1.    Existing Saturn IB flight hardware is adequate to conduct anticipated space mis-
sions prior to Shuttle [Initial Operational Capability]."

Which leaves it unclear what the state of the Saturn 1B stage production line was.  If I were to guess, it seems to indicate that Chrysler and Rocketdyne could still produce more Saturn 1B stages and H-1 engines to power those stages in 1972, and the memo is being written at a time when NASA has decided or is in the process of deciding to scrap those production lines.

fasquardon
« Last Edit: 07/29/2017 02:13 AM by fasquardon »

Offline Michel Van

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Re: When were the production lines for the Saturn IB scrapped?
« Reply #10 on: 07/29/2017 09:29 AM »
So far i know stop the production of Saturn IB & Saturn V in July 1968,
in same time Rocketdyne work on Uprated simplified H-1 engine for Saturn IB, during it's cancelation.
NASA ordered Chrysler to halt production of the SA-213 and SA-214 first stages

Do you know how late it was possible to produce more Saturn 1B stages and more Saturn IVB stages (so how long was the tooling and the skilled workers kept in readiness)?

fasquardon

NASA kept the Saturn Production one year on stand-by in Hope to get funding
to complete SA-213 & SA-214 and SA-516 & SA-517 in 1969/70 but that not happened.

i have interesting question about Production phase out of Saturn IB and V

Online and some Literature, i read stories that production lines were Mothballed in august 1968
until 1973  with Start of Shuttle Program, the Saturn production tool were scraps

it that true ?

This is exactly what I was wondering.

For example, I've heard (I think from e of pi over at alternatehistory.com, but I'm having trouble finding the post it was said in) that the tooling and workforce to produce J-2 engines was likely scrapped before NASA told Rocketdyne to shut down the production line (apparently because Rocketdyne didn't like making J-2 engines, though I suspect that if the J-2 line was shut down early, it must have still been after Rocketdyne felt NASA was committed to the SSME project).

My reason for being interested in the resurrection of the H-1 as the RS-27 is that I am curious just how much work it took to resurrect this piece of equipment and how much of the manufacturing skills were maintained by reconditioning old Saturn 1B H-1s as RS-27s for the Delta.  Just wanting to get a sense of what the "point of no return, it's dead and never coming back" was for the various parts of the Saturn IB launcher.

fasquardon

J-2S was consider as Space Shuttle main Engines (four in Orbiter) in early 1970s
as Two way R&D program to start Shuttle with J-2S and Replace them with High Pressure Engines later
so Rocketdyne keeps the J-2 production on standby for NASA until they took SSME

on RS-27, Rocketdyne just  jump at the chance to use leftover H-1 and turn them cheap into RS-27

Hi e of pi
THX for pdf it show that the Saturn V Production was mothballed to 1972

I had found PDF about running Apollo next to Shuttle program R&D in case the Soviet landed on Moon
it was quite positive about restart the Saturn V production line and land Apollo in Moon during 1970s
only problem they saw was schedule for Shuttle and Saturn V launches in 1978
do logistic in VAB and Launch pad 39A & 39B

sadly do Harddrive failure i lost this PDF...


« Last Edit: 07/29/2017 09:47 AM by Michel Van »

Offline Proponent

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Re: When were the production lines for the Saturn IB scrapped?
« Reply #11 on: 07/29/2017 09:38 AM »
For example, I've heard (I think from e of pi over at alternatehistory.com, but I'm having trouble finding the post it was said in) that the tooling and workforce to produce J-2 engines was likely scrapped before NASA told Rocketdyne to shut down the production line (apparently because Rocketdyne didn't like making J-2 engines,

I find this difficult to believe. Rocketdyne viewed its engines as products that they might be able to sell in the future. They sought to preserve the ability to restart production on several of their engines because they believed that a rocket might come along in the future that required them. I doubt they would have done anything to undercut their ability to restart production.

I agree.  And how likely is it that Rocketdyne didn't "like" making the J-2 given that it made money on them?  This sounds much like the myth that NASA deliberately destroyed the "blueprints" for the Saturn V so there would be no competition for the Shuttle.

Offline Proponent

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Re: When were the production lines for the Saturn IB scrapped?
« Reply #12 on: 07/29/2017 10:39 AM »
Note that NASA's budget/expenditures peaked in the mid-60s and were dropping off by the end of the decade, which reflects the fact that all the major design/construction work on the hardware had been finished.

Not that it affects your point that NASA expenditures peaked well before Apollo 11, but the CPI is not a relevant measure of inflation in this case (unless, perhaps, the point is to express the cost of NASA in terms of foregone consumer expenditure).  A more relevant measure of inflation is the NASA New-Start Inflation Index, by which the 1960's funding peak looks even larger.

Offline Proponent

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Re: When were the production lines for the Saturn IB scrapped?
« Reply #13 on: 07/29/2017 11:24 AM »
So far i know stop the production of Saturn IB & Saturn V in July 1968,

Attached are the most relevant letters reproduced in Exploring the Unknown, Volume IV, Accessing Space.

Note that the letter from Webb disapproving purchase of long-lead-time items for SA-516 & -517, in August 1968, did not mean the end of Saturn V production.  As Webb said, "This decision, in effect, limits at this time the production effort on Saturn through vehicle 515" (emphasis added).  It meant that there would have been an interruption in the flow of Saturns off the production line, but at that point Saturn V's were still rolling off the assembly line and continued to do so into 1971.  The decision marked the very beginning of the end of the supply chain, but I don't think you can say there was a precise time of death.  It was a drawn out process beginning in August 1968 and likely ending in late 1972, with the disposal of tooling.  At the beginning of that period, a restart of production would have been quick and cheap.  NASA did, after all, continue to study Saturn V-launched space stations into 1970.  By the end of the period, a restart would have been lengthy and expensive.

As to engines, somewhere I've seen a photo of the ceremony marking the completion of Rocketdyne's Saturn-related engine contract.  I believe the date was January 1970.

By the way, in case you're wondering, as I used to, where the orders for SA-516 & -517 came from (since the original order in 1962 was for just 15 vehicles), Steven Pietrobon tracked it down to the Apollo Applications Program.
« Last Edit: 07/29/2017 12:18 PM by Proponent »

Offline fasquardon

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Re: When were the production lines for the Saturn IB scrapped?
« Reply #14 on: 07/29/2017 12:45 PM »
NASA kept the Saturn Production one year on stand-by in Hope to get funding
to complete SA-213 & SA-214 and SA-516 & SA-517 in 1969/70 but that not happened.

Hm.  So ordering more Saturn IBs in 1970 would have been possible, but after that, the outlook grows hazy?

on RS-27, Rocketdyne just  jump at the chance to use leftover H-1 and turn them cheap into RS-27

The RS-27 was a cheaper engine than the H-1?

I had found PDF about running Apollo next to Shuttle program R&D in case the Soviet landed on Moon
it was quite positive about restart the Saturn V production line and land Apollo in Moon during 1970s
only problem they saw was schedule for Shuttle and Saturn V launches in 1978
do logistic in VAB and Launch pad 39A & 39B

sadly do Harddrive failure i lost this PDF...

Can you remember any details about the document?  Maybe we could dig it up in NASA's archives.

Not that it affects your point that NASA expenditures peaked well before Apollo 11, but the CPI is not a relevant measure of inflation in this case (unless, perhaps, the point is to express the cost of NASA in terms of foregone consumer expenditure).  A more relevant measure of inflation is the NASA New-Start Inflation Index, by which the 1960's funding peak looks even larger.

CPI is a bad joke and involves made up numbers being added to the inflation calculation in order to fudge it.  As such, it is a good measure for the political price of a given sum of money, but does not offer a good guide to the year-to-year change in cost of real consumption.  Substituting cheaper goods for your consumption the previous year is only possible when there are cheaper goods available, which isn't true if you are the poorest consumer in a market.  Further, the CPI methodology assumes that the quality of the cheaper goods is the same, which is never true (though some cheaper goods are of higher quality, most are of worse quality and cheaper services are just about always poorer quality).

And thanks for the link to the "New Start Inflation Index" I've been wanting something like that for years!  Never occurred to me that anyone else was interested in the question though, so hadn't thought to look...

Attached are the most relevant letters reproduced in Exploring the Unknown, Volume IV, Accessing Space.

Note that the letter from Webb disapproving purchase of long-lead-time items for SA-516 & -517, in August 1968, did not mean the end of Saturn V production.  As Webb said, "This decision, in effect, limits at this time the production effort on Saturn through vehicle 515" (emphasis added).  It meant that there would have been an interruption in the flow of Saturns off the production line, but at that point Saturn V's were still rolling off the assembly line and continued to do so into 1971.  The decision marked the very beginning of the end of the supply chain, but I don't think you can say there was a precise time of death.  It was a drawn out process beginning in August 1968 and likely ending in late 1972, with the disposal of tooling.  At the beginning of that period, a restart of production would have been quick and cheap.  NASA did, after all, continue to study Saturn V-launched space stations into 1970.  By the end of the period, a restart would have been lengthy and expensive.

As to engines, somewhere I've seen a photo of the ceremony marking the completion of Rocketdyne's Saturn-related engine contract.  I believe the date was January 1970.

Interesting stuff.

fasquardon

Offline Jim

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Re: When were the production lines for the Saturn IB scrapped?
« Reply #15 on: 07/29/2017 01:00 PM »
No, when production was ended, workers would have been laid off.  There was no skills retention

Offline fasquardon

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Re: When were the production lines for the Saturn IB scrapped?
« Reply #16 on: 07/29/2017 01:28 PM »
No, when production was ended, workers would have been laid off.  There was no skills retention

So after SA-214's completion wasn't funded, that was the end of the Saturn IB first stage production?

fasquardon

Offline Michel Van

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Re: When were the production lines for the Saturn IB scrapped?
« Reply #17 on: 07/29/2017 02:00 PM »

The RS-27 was a cheaper engine than the H-1?

fasquardon

In 1973 McDonnell-Douglas needed to replaced the MB-3 engine (thrust 765 kN)
Because new Delta 2000 series was bigger and needed more powerful engine (thrust 1023 kN)

Rocketdyne had allot H-1 in storage and they had thrust needed for Delta 2000
RS-27 was cheap because they took surplus H-1 and modified into RS-27

Oh the Irony
McDonnell-Douglas used also another engine from Apollo program left over.
TWR TR-201 engine aka Lunar Module Descent Engine replaced the AJ-118F engine.

so The Delta II use today H-1 and LMDE derivates... 

Online edkyle99

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Re: When were the production lines for the Saturn IB scrapped?
« Reply #18 on: 07/29/2017 02:32 PM »
so The Delta II use today H-1 and LMDE derivates... 

During the 1980s, Delta went back to using AJ10 engines, improved "ITIP" (Improved Transtage Injector Program) variants that came from the Titan Transtage program.  Delta 2 uses AJ10-118K ITIP to be precise.  The last TR-201 second stage engine flew in 1988 on Delta 181.

RS-27A uses a larger thrust chamber than RS-27 that is more efficient in vacuum.  It may be fair to say that it was derived from H-1/RS-27, but it was a new engine that did not use any parts scrounged from the old H-1 engines.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 07/29/2017 02:36 PM by edkyle99 »

Online edkyle99

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Re: When were the production lines for the Saturn IB scrapped?
« Reply #19 on: 07/29/2017 02:41 PM »
No, when production was ended, workers would have been laid off.  There was no skills retention

So after SA-214's completion wasn't funded, that was the end of the Saturn IB first stage production?

fasquardon
SA-214 first stage was completed, as I noted here http://www.spacelaunchreport.com/sa214.html
It was the last Saturn cluster booster assembled.  No S-IVB-14 second stage was built, so this first stage was forever an orphan that could only serve as a back-up at best. 

Alan Lawrie's Saturn I/IB book has all the details.  213 and 214 were the only Saturn IB first stages that were never test fired.  They also did not go through the usual check-out process at Michoud.  Their engines were finally installed during March-April 1969.  They were moved to MSFC for storage during June 1970.  213 and 214 (actually S-IB-13 and S-IB-14) were shipped back to Michoud during February 1972.  The storage program ended in April 1973, when engine removal began for reassignment to NASA's Delta program.  The stages were subsequently scrapped at Michoud.  Chrysler and Boeing were clearing out in 1973 to make way for Martin Marietta and the Shuttle External Tank.

Propellant tanks for S-IB-15 and S-IB-16 were manufactured and stored at Michoud, but were never assembled into stages.  There are photos of these tanks in Lawrie's excellent book.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 07/29/2017 03:39 PM by edkyle99 »

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