Looking at the state of SLS....
... this actually would make sense. Shame, really ;)
Faced with spiralling costs for its Space Launch System (SLS) and pressure to put American boots on the Moon by 2024, NASA is to return the Saturn V to flight. "Achieving the President's goal is our number one priority," said an anonymous agency insider, "and with the continuing delays in the SLS program, we've decided that …
"I used to have a little game which had you play golf of various solar system moons using a reasonable calculation of the 2d gravity. Iapetus was always an interesting challenge. And yes, hitting it too hard could result in escape velocity."
"Will you relax?! I've seen Gerbil Face play down in the recreation room. He's a diva! He can knock those stripey balls around that table all night long, and I'll tell you what: I've never once seen him lose a single ball down one of those holes!"
At some point in the distant future, someone will be building station where the ball landed. This will probably cause a lot of discussion as to the origins of the ball.
With all the will in the world, we couldn't build a new Saturn 5 nowadays. The skills and machinery needed just doesn't exist anymore. Redesigning it for use with more modern materials, production methods and construction techniques would be more work than getting SLS to work.
The problem with SLS isn't that it's a terrible design (though it is), it's Boeing.
Golf in a space station ( micro gravity, roughly 1 bar air pressure) or on the moon (1/6 G, roughly zero air pressure)... Either way, the properties of the club and balls would have to be modified ( eg, lighter club, heavier ball, softer ball) if the golfer isn't going to walk miles between shots. See: Robin Hood F.R.S. by Arthur C Clarke, in which moon colonists modify archery equipment to be suitable for an airless environment.
I've enjoyed the TV show For All Mankind, which is an alternate history in which a Soviet cosmonaut is the first human on the moon and thus the USA is spurred on to more ambitious space missions. There's an authentic amount of smoking in the NASA control room, something I was surprised to see so much criticism of in reviews of the show. Whilst I appreciate that the subject matter lends itself towards family viewing, my generation was brought up to be wary of airbrushing history, just as we are about book burning.
I only realized when the article mentioned Kerbal Space Program, that this is an April Fool's article.
We live in strange times, when actual reality (TM) is riddled with absurdity, it becomes harder and harder to distinguish an April Fool's article from actual news.
My sympathies go out to all the comedians out there, you are having tough times.
... until I got to the second half of the article.
Funny enough, re-vamping the Saturn-V has been discussed several times. The big problem (and they are BIG) are the main engines; each one had to be basically be hand-made and hand-tuned, and unfortunately all of that highly specialised knowledge is now gone. Shame really since the Saturn-V was really something to see launch, and it never suffered a failure!
Lets raise a glass to the NASA engineers of the Apollo program!
> and they are BIG
"You may think it is a long way around to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to a Saturn V."
They are really really BIG! Until you want next to one you have no idea.
> The big problem
Also significant parts of the engineering drawings have been lost as well. So a re-start of the program would be a redesign pretty much from the ground up. The only advantage over the original program would be that it was known to work from the start.
But the biggest issue would be the kind of risks that were taken in the Apollo program are simply not accepted today.
Not really true, most of the drawings for the rocket itself still exist. But they're useless without the production machinery of the day (and the skilled labour to operate them).
The main engines were actually not a NASA product but designed and built by Rocketdyne, which is why NASA has very little information on them. (There's still a lot available from whatever is left of Rocketdyne as far as I understand).
Same goes for many other modules, where NASA never had the drawings to begin with.
Also important to remember is that there was no "The" saturn 5. Almost every rocket was different from the last as they kept coming up with design improvements.
Aha, so that explains the story as to why NASA hadn't got the drawings; they'd never had them in the first place! Thanks :-)
It ought to be possible to recreate an F1 engine from those drawings, if they're a complete set. They ought to contain the manufacturing information too. Whatever was need back then could probably be either matched or bettered with today's manufacturing tools. Though I think you're right about the expertise; with such nearly one-off, highly specialised things there's a lot of scope for some key knowledge to have been in peoples' heads.
The F1 engine drawings are going to have been done to 1960's standards, and there's probably plenty of people who understand them. What's interesting is to consider how drawing standards have changed.
A fairly recent great reconstruction project was the UK Science Museum's rebuild of a Babbage Difference Engine, following Charles Babbage's drawings. One difficulty they had was understanding all the symbology and nomenclature of Victorian engineering drawings, which was very different to that which we're used to in the 21st century.
Similarly during the construction of the new Crossrail line in London, they decided to re-use an abandoned tunnel dating from the Victorian era. That meant they had to get familiar with Victorian architectural drawing standards, because that's when the official tunnel design was created! Doing so was necessary because they needed to modify the tunnel and that meant needing to get a proper understanding of how it had been built. If I recall correctly, when they started the work, they discovered that sometime around about WW2 some extra work had been done on the tunnel, but hadn't been documented anywhere.
Actually there's folks that have recreated the F-1 in CAD by examining an old one
They didn't have anywhere big enough to fire an F-1, but they did fire the gas generator, which produced 31,000 lbs thrust and 55,000 horsepower just to run the F-1's fuel and oxidizer pumps.
This happened because (to bring it full circle) they seriously considered uprated F-1Bs to power SLS.
"Also significant parts of the engineering drawings have been lost as well. So a re-start of the program would be a redesign pretty much from the ground up. The only advantage over the original program would be that it was known to work from the start."
I'm pretty sure you can get a Haynes manual to cover it.
Haynes did one for the Millenium Falcon, so you just know that this manual was used to re-furb the MF as it hadn't been used (for space flight, rather than as a museum piece) since 1983 so it could appear in 2005. I believe they had to service it again as it has been in service for the last 3 years.
They've also done them for the LEM, Apollo 11 and 13, the Gemini capsules, the Lunar Rover and if NASA have any 3rd stages left, they could convert one into a updated Skylab.
In fact, send the old Saturn V parts to Musk - and he could make them re-useable which would save even more money as you'd only need the one "First" Stage - it's only used in flight for less than 10 minutes, so once it flies back to Kennedy, they could re-furbish it in about a day via a trip to the local gas station for a re-fuelling.
During the Apollo 13 mission, a failure was avoided by the skin of NASA's teeth when a vibration of >62g occurred in the centre J-2 engine on the SII stage, the engine and mount moved a good 6" or more in the longitudinal plane before a shut-down was triggered probably because the thrust sensors thought the increasing rearward movement indicated loss of thrust. Had this not happened there was only a second or so before a total structural failure and almost certainly loss of mission and crew.
This was recognised and fixed before Apollo 14 launched.
But tried and tested tech we probably would really struggle to put together again.
We just don't have the same skills that we had then. The injectors and baffles of the F1 were works of fine art, eventually sufficiently stable that explosives detonated within the combustion chamber didn't cause more than a momentary flutter....
Each F1 had 1.5MlbF thrust at sea level - that's equivalent to ~ 3 BE4 engines, 2.4 Raptors, or 9 Merlin engines
That's insane thrust levels.... 5 F1s, each of which produced ~ a full thrust version of the Falcon 9 (1.5 Mlbf vs 1.7 MlbF)
That's ~1.5 Falcon Heavies tied together (gonna need more struts, and to check yo' staging)
There is a Moon-sized sand trap of truth in this article!
By the way, is it April already? We were robbed of a full month this year. I completely had forgotten about calendars in this quarantine. The days simply melt and merge into one another.
It is 7 am over here, but what the hell... I need a beer.
Perhaps you are thinking of "Fallen Angels" by Mr. Niven and a host of other guys?
It's fairly good but it does have a boatload of insider jokes, fan references and other stuff peculiar to the SF fandom scene. It also has some extremely annoying patches of unfinishedness, bits brought up, made significant then dropped.
Also, no spoiler, that novel didn't use an S5. I suspect that by the time it was written even an SF novel couldn't extend our suspension of disbelief sufficiently for us to accept that one of those would ever fly. That would be rather like getting Concorde back in the skies. Not even magical super-tech could manage it.
This will work. I saw it recently on TV. Well it was Apple TV. “For all Mankind” is/was a feel good movie series.
Now they can bring back asbestos to good use as part of the heat shield and also to prevent the corrosive fuel from leakIng. Thinking about analog instruments- it was possible to read the display in total darkness thanks to Radium.
Tritium is still allowed for instruments, though it has to be contained in a glass cylinder that's glued to the dial and hands instead of being painted directly on - to save watch repairers from inhaling it in dust ( the radioactivity tended to weaken the glue, resulting in a powder that clogged gears and could be inhaled ). It only has half life of about 12 years though (compared to a thousand years plus for radium).
In any case, aerospace and military applications can be made exempt from certain legislation - such as using lead-based solder, for example.
In which case, they ought to have a full review; go with Saturn V, stay with SLS or cooperate more with capable private providers. While using up spare Saturn Vs might seem initially attractive, there will still be huge costs in bringing that old kit up to 21st century standards and I'm not sure that it will ultimately be worth it.
...there was an interesting article a few years ago where a prototyping company asked to have a loan of a stage two Saturn rocket motor.
Now I don't remember the exact figures but they reckon it originally had say 2000 individual components. They claimed that with modern alloys and manufacturing techniques they could get the component count to under 100 parts with a large reduction in weight.
Not so silly maybe.
For a thought experiment substitute Raspberry Pi for all the logic systems and do so on the basis of a cluster of three working in a voting manner. Disregard the vibration, sheer, and temperature specs to make the project easier after a libation or three.
However after the bidding process, inspections and quota fulfillment they will be reworked into a decent million or two per unit and ready for change orders with the subsequent time and material charges.
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