Another installment of Pictures from the Kennedy Space Center. This time focusing on the Saturn V / Apollo museum.
The Saturn V Museum was built to protect and display the refurbished full Saturn V rocket stack, and real Apollo era hardware. Including a LEM that never flew in space (program canceled before it could be), the real Apollo 14 Command Module that went to the moon, a full Saturn V rocket, and a special Apollo Command and Service module (CSM).
The special Apollo CSM, is unique because it seats 5 astronauts and was meant as a rescue vehicle for the Skylab station. It was ready for a last minute launch to rescue astronauts from the Skylab station if needed through the later part of the 70’s. It was also used as a backup for the Apollo – Soyuz test program. But from the outside it looks like any other Apollo Module.
The Saturn V is massive, and hard to capture on picture. Most of the shots I took were at 11mm and I wish I had an even wider lens. All the components and modules shown are real hardware, except for the CSM that is suspended ahead of the Saturn V stack, that was a test article.
The beauty of this machine is in the details. Seeing the size, complexity, fragility, and attention to detail on all aspects of the engineering is stunning that this is something we did back before computer aided design, finite element analysis via super computers, etc… The S-IVB section at the top of the rocket is what held the LEM on lunar launches, and had a single J-2 cryogenic engine propelling it., The S-II Stage below it had 5 of those J-2 engines, and then the mighty S-IC stage at the bottom had 5 of the most powerful single chamber rocket engines ever built – the F-1’s.
You may recognize the aft end of the Saturn V, as it was where some shots from Armageddon were shot (Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler made out in one of the F-1 engines).
On our way to the Saturn museum we drove past the now mothballed Launch Pad of LC-39A. This is the pad the majority of US shuttle launches and most of the Saturn launches were held at. It is being held in a moth balled state (still with the mobile launch platform from STS-135 last year on it) for potential private/commercial launch vehicles.
Here is the link to the photos from the Vehicle Assembly Tour.