Here’s Peter Andrew Jones’ 1977 “Interface” triptych again. The cover titles were a little distracting.
Meet SA-500D, the first Saturn V rocket. Wernher von Braun designed her as the dynamic test article for the program. She was assembled stage by stage inside the Dynamic Test Stand at NASA Marshall Spaceflight Center, then subjected to lateral, longitudinal, and torsional vibrations equal of that of launch for a total of 450 hours.
The first time I visited SA-500D in 1999, she was outside on the US Space and Rocket Center property. Her paint was faded and worn, having sat there since 1969. In 2005, full restoration began, and she was moved inside her new facility, the Davidson Center for Space Exploration in Huntsville, Alabama. I’m happy to report that as of Sunday, July 27, 2014, she looks great. Viewing the newly restored rocket is magnitudes more impactful. The difference is incredible.
When you wish upon a star.
Oldsmobile Rockets Ahead!
HEAT SHIELD — Animation in the 1962 NASA film Voyage of Friendship 7 shows how an astronaut is protected by a “shield against the blazing heat of reentry friction.” I’m reminded of spaceman John Glenn’s first words when he was recovered from the Friendship 7 space capsule: “It was hot in there.”