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McDonnell Douglas S-IVB Rocket for NASA's Saturn Launch Vehicle

McDonnell Douglas S-IVB Rocket for NASA's Saturn Launch Vehicle

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Published by Bob Andrepont

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Published by: Bob Andrepont on Jun 30, 2011
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07/01/2011

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From
MCDONNELL DOUGLAS
I
L
.
CORPORATlON
e"
DOUGLAS
NEWS
BUREAU
Santa Monica, California 90406
..'
MCDONNELL DOUGLAS S-IVB ROCKET
(213) 399-9317, extension 2566
"
FOR NASA's SATURN LAUNCH VEHICLEBackground Information
-QP'-
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The powerf~
1
-IVB rocket, produced by the McDonnellDouglas Astronautics Company, a division of McDonnell DouglasCorp~ration, s the top stage of both the Saturn
IB
andSaturn
V
launch vehicles.
S-IVB,
58
feet
7
inches in length and 21 feet
8
inchesin diameter, is powered by a single Rocketdyne J-2 engineburning liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants andgenerating
225,000
pounds of thrust.McDonnell Douglas was selected by the NationalAeronautics and Space Administrationsts
(NASA)
MarshallSpace Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama, to develop andproduce the S-IVB, utilizing experience and techniques fromits earlier Saturn S-IV program in designing the S-IVBsys ems, too-ling nd test equipment.The S-IVB serves as second stage of NASA's two-stageSaturn
IB,
which is capable o.f delivering over 18 tons toearth orbit. Initially the Saturn
IB
was assigned the missionof launching msnned Apollo spacecraft into orbit about theearth in order to check out and test the Apollo system inpreparation for flights to the moon.Launch vehicle for the manned lunar missions isthe more powerful three-stage Saturn
V.
As third stage of(more
 
Page
2
the Saturn V, the S-IVB provides the final thrust to insertthe Apollo spacecraft and its astronaut crew into earthorbit and then rsstarts and boosts the spacecraft from itsparking orbit into a trans-lunar trajectory.Saturn
V
is capable of placing; over 125 tons intoorbit around the earth and sending mxe than
45
tons to thevicinity of the mDon.Newest assignment for the S-IVB is as an orbitalmanned space workshop in NASA's Apollo Appl.ications Program.Designated the Saturn
I
Workshop, t11e modified S-IVBwill provide shelter and working space for three astronautsinside its empty 21.7-fo~t-diameter, 0,000-cubic fo~thydrogen tank.
,
The hydrogen fuel
.is
depleted when theS-IVB fires to achieve earth orbit.Tne Saturn
I
Workshop will
be
launched as part of aSaturn IB for rendezvous in orbit with a subsequentlylaunched manned Apollo spacecraft. The astronauts willtransfer from the Apollo to the Workshop through an airlockbeing built by McDonnell Douglas Astronautics in St. Louis,Missouri. During the initial workshop mission, the flightcrew will live inside the stage for up to
28
days whileconducting space flightexperim?nts.The initial S-IVB development contract was signed withNASA in August 1962, and the first S-IVB flight stage wasturned over to NASA on August 31, 1955
--
just three yearslater.Earlier,McDonnell Douglas had delivered two ground-test stages and had completed an extensive series of' test(more
 
firings of the
J-2
engine, with prototype hardware and systems,on a non-flight "battleship" stage built of heavy stainlesssteel in the configuration of an actual flight stage.Tne full-duration acceptance test firing of the firstS-IVB flight stage marked the first time that a fullyautomstic system was used to perform the conplete checkout,propellant loading and static firing of a space vehicle.Tne automatic checkout system, utilizing a generalpurpose computer, was developed by Douglas for the S-IVB.It performs all the complex operations of the final factorycheckout on the vehicle, conducting the item-by-itemcountdown before testing and controlling the propellantloading and the actual firing. It then is used again inthe post-firing checkout.Similar systems installed at the Kennedy Space Centerby NASA provide forautomated checkout of the completeSaturn
IB
and Saturn
V
vehicles.Basic configuration of the S-IVB is cylindrical, withan insulated common bulkhead forming a structural thermalbarrier, separating the forward liquid hydr~gen. ank fromthe liquid oxygen tank. The comnDn bulkhead design, consistingof two aluminum domes, with fiber glass honeycomb bonded toeach to form a rigid "sandwich," was developed byMcDonnellDouglas for the Saturn S-IV program.Interior of the aluminum alloy tanks is milled in a"wafflelike" pattern. Insulation is installed along theinterior of the liquid hydrogen tank to prevent excessive(mwe

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