Saturn Illustrated Chronology - Part 6

January 1965 through December 1965



Two Saturn IB test stages arrived at MSFC on January 4, 1965; the S-IB dynamic/facilities checkout stage, S-IB-D/F, from Chrysler Corporation's Space Division at Michoud and the S-IVB dynamic stage, S-IVB-D, from Douglas.
Stages being transported to MSFC218 218. Saturn stages in route
to MSFC by barge
219. Pegasus with wings
fully extended

On January 7, ME Lab began structural fabrication of S-IU-200S/500S.

On January 13 technicians at KSC attached Pegasus A, encased in its Apollo service module shroud and adapter, to the S-IV-9 stage in preparation for scheduled launch. The following day at Launch Complex 37B technicians mated the Apollo BP-16 command module to the Apollo Saturn (AS-9) vehicle.207

    207. NASA, MSFC, The Meteoroid Satellite Project Pegasus First Summary Report, NASA TN D-3505, Nov. 1966, pp. 4-6.
Pegasus satellite219
At Douglas Aircraft Company's Sacramento Test Center on January 21 there was a successful full-duration static firing for 480 seconds of the Saturn I S-IV-10 stage. On this same date the S-IB stage contractor, Chrysler, began clustering propellant tanks for the S-IB-3 at the Michoud Facility and, at MSFC, ME technicians completed assembly of the S-IU-10 and structural fabrication of S-IU-200D/500D and began component assembly on the latter.208
    208. MSFC, Michoud Assembly Facility Historical Report, January 1, 1965-June 30, 1965, pp. 7 and 23. Hereafter cited as MSFC, MAF Hist. Report, Jan. 1-June 30, 1965.
S-IU-200D/500D assembly220

220. Assembly of S-IU-200D/500D
for the Saturn IB and Saturn V

MSFC completed negotiations with Douglas on January 28 for the remaining eight S-IVB/IB stages and a set of ground support eequipment. Another Saturn IB milestone on this date occurred when KSC awarded R. E. Clarson, Inc., a $2,179,000 contract for Phase II modification of the Launch Complex 34 service structure to support Saturn IB launches.209
    209. KSC, Technical Progress Report, First Quarter CY 1965, pp. 9-13.
Workmen at Seal Beach, California, on January 31 completed assembly of the S-II-S stage five days ahead of schedule.


MSFC on February 1 completed component assembly of the instrument unit, S-IU-200D/500D, for the Saturn IB and Saturn V dynamic test. NASA began February of 1965 with several Saturn milestones. On February 19 the space agency amended Chrysler's S-I/S-IB contract (NAS8-4016) to include prelaunch checkout support, an amendment that added about $34,642,878 to the contract cost.210 Also in the Saturn program, effective this date, MSFC announced the following major revisions in the S-II stage program: cancellation of the dynamic test stage, S-II-D; substitution of the structural test stage, S-II-S, as a dynamic stage; transfer of the all-systems test stage, S-II-T, from Santa Susana to Mississippi Test Operations; assignment of the facilities checkout stage, S-II-F, directly to KSC; and scheduling of an end to the electro-mechanical mockup test program.211
    210. MSFC, MAF Hist. Report, Jan. 1-June 30, 1965, pp. 10-14.
    211. U.S. Congress, House Subcommittee on Manned Space Flight of the Comm. on Science and Astronautics, Hearing on H. R. 12718 (Superceded by H. R. 14324) No. 4-Part 2, 89th Cong., 2nd Sess., Washington, GPO, Feb. 18, 24; Mar. 1, 2, 3, and 31, 1966.
On February 2 Chrysler at Michoud completed pre-static checkout of the first S-IB stage, S-IB-1, and began preparations for shipping it to MSFC for static tests.212 Across the country in the Saturn V program North American Aviation's S&ID began transfer of the S-II-S stage from the vertical assembly building at Seal Beach to the structural test tower, a task completed on February 3.213 On this same date ME technicians prepared the S-IU-8 for shipment to KSC.
    212. MSFC, MAF Hist. Report, Jan. 1-June 30, 1965, p. 6.
    213. NAA S&ID, Saturn S-II Stage MPR, Feb. 1965, p. 39.
Workmen at Seal Beach completed on February 5 the S-II-S stage, first ground test stage in the Saturn S-II stage program.

The Mobile District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, awarded a $4.3 million contract February 8 covering construction of the S-II stage Service and Vertical Checkout Building and the Cryogenic Barge Service Building at Mississippi Test Operations.214 On this same date S-IU-200F/500F component assembly began at MSFC. Also technicians completed structural fabrication of S-IU-200S/500S.

    214. MSFC, Mississippi Test Facility Historical Report, January-December 1965, pp. 1 and 9-13.
Cryogenic dock at MTO221 221. Cryogenic dock at
MTO after completion

Douglas completed final assembly of the S-IVB facilities checkout stage, S-IVB-500F, on February 12 and turned the stage over to NASA at Seal Beach. Workmen then loaded it aboard the NASA barge Orion for transportation to SACTO.215 At KSC technicians completed the countdown demonstration test for SA-9.
    215. DAC, Saturn S-IVB Monthly TPR, Feb. 1966, p. 2.
With launch only two days off, MSFC and Fairchild Hiller Corporation technicians at KSC modified Pegasus A on February 14 so that one frame or logic group of the wing panels could serve as a detector for radiation-induced meteoroids.216
    216. NASA MSFC, The Meteoroid Satellite Project Pegasus First Summary Report, NASA TN D-3505, Nov. 1966, pp. 42-60.
Pegasus satellite222 222. Meteoroid measurement

On February 16 NASA launched from KSC the Saturn I SA-9 vehicle. It performed excellently during the flight and placed the Apollo boilerplate spacecraft, BP-16, and the first Pegasus satellite into separate orbits. The Pegasus A satellite deployed its "wings" to a span of 96 feet and exposed 2,300 square feet of instrumented surface to gather meteoroid data, sort the information, and transmit it to earth receiving stations. NASA launched SA-9 instead of SA-8 on this date because SA-9's S-I stage, built in-house, had progressed through manufacture and testing more rapidly than had S-I-8.217
    217. F. A. Speer, Chairman, Flight Evaluation Working Group, MSFC, to Dr. G. E. Mueller, Assoc. Adm., NASA, et al, teletype, subj: "SA-9 Flight Results," Feb. 19, 1965; Speer to Mueller, subj: "SA-9 Flight Results," Feb. 26, 1965.
The S-IVB-500F arrived at SACTO February 17 and installation began in Beta III test stand. On February 19 MSFC ME Lab began structural fabrication of S-IU-500FS.

Douglas shipped S-IV-8 to KSC from SACTO on February 23.218 Also on this date Douglas personnel completed post-static checkout and repair of the S-IV-10 stage and removed the stage from test stand Beta II at SACTO. The following day Douglas initiated pre-static checkout of the first flight S-IVB stage, S-IVB-201, at the Space Systems Center at Huntington Beach.219

    218. MSFC, MAF Hist. Report, Jan. 1-June 30, 1965, pp. 5 and 23.
    219. MSFC Saturn I/IB Prog. Off., Saturn I/IB Prog. Report, Oct. 1, 1964-Mar. 31, 1965, pp. 5 and 23.
Launch of SA-9223

223. SA-9 launch at Kennedy
Space Center

On February 28 the first industry-produced Saturn I first stage, S-I-8, arrived at KSC from Michoud.220
    220. MSFC Saturn I/IB Prog. Off., Saturn I/IB Prog. Report, Oct. 1, 1964-Mar. 31, 1965, p. 11.
During February fabrication of major structural subassemblies for S-II-1 had begun at Seal Beach. Also during February NASA modified the H-1 engine research and development contract to include uprating the H-1 from 188,000 pounds thrust (188K) to 200K for Saturn IB application. NASA approved modifications to the Rocketdyne H-1 engine production contract converting it from cost-plus-fixed-fee (CPFF) to cost-plus-incentive-fee (CPIF).221
    221. MSFC, MAF Hist. Report, Jan. 1-June 30, 1965, pp. 5 and 23.
S-II-1 fabrication224

224. S-II-1 thrust structure
fabrication at Tulsa
225. S-IC-T en route from
ME lab to test stand


On March 1, 1965, workmen ahead of schedule moved the S-IC-T out of MSFC's ME Lab and on to the static test stand where they erected it in the stand. The following day MSFC shipped the instrument unit for SA-8 (S-IU-8) to KSC while technicians erected the S-I-8 stage on Launch Complex 37B at the Cape.

The S-IB-1 stage left Michoud aboard the barge Palaemon for MSFC on March 6. Eight days later the stage arrived at MSFC. Meanwhile, on March 10, ME Lab technicians completed component assembly and structural modification of S-IU-200S/500S.

On March 15 Chrysler technicians placed the S-IB-1 into a static test stand at the MSFC complex in Huntsville, and began readying the stage for static firing.222 This same date the S-IU-200S/500S arrived at MSFC's structural test facility.

    222. MSFC Press Release No. 65-43, Feb. 16, 1965.
KSC technicians at Launch Complex 37B on March 17 erected the S-IV-8 stage and the S-IU-8 atop the S-I-8 stage and began a series of systems tests including radio frequency checks, tanking procedures, and simulated flights.223
    223. MSFC, MAF Hist. Report, Jan. 1-June 30, 1965, p. 6.
Technicians at Michoud on March 24 installed the S-IC-D thrust structure in the Vertical Assembly Building.
S-IC-T at MSFC225

S-IC-T at MSFC test stand226

226. Erection of S-IC-T in
test stand at MSFC
227. Saturn IB booster being
moved into static test stand

On March 26 NASA and Boeing signed a supplemental agreement incorporating a new Saturn V delivery schedule called Plan VIII.

At MSFC, on March 29, S-IU-500V structural fabrication began. The following day S-IU-500FS component assembly began. NASA on March 31 approved award of the Saturn IB/V instrument unit contract to IBM. This contract (NAS8-1400) was the first major incentive contract to be negotiated in the Saturn IB program.224

    224. MSFC, MAF Hist. Report, Jan. 1-June 30, 1965, pp. 5 and 23.
In March NASA delineated specific management roles for the Saturn IB/Centaur System to MSFC and Lewis Research Center. MSFC received project management for the Saturn IB/Centaur System and Lewis management of the Centaur System.
Saturn IB booster at test stand227

SATURN IB/CENTAUR Saturn IB/Centaur 229
Prime Contractor
General Dynamics
30,000 LBS
3,600 LBS (Dry)
RL-10-A-3 (Two)
Lunar Trajectory
1?,000 LBS
(Mars & Venus)
?,?00 LBS
S-IV stacking at KSC228

228. Positioning S-IV on S-I at KSC
229. Saturn IB/Centaur configuration


In the Saturn IB program on April 1 the S-IB-1 performed successfully in its first static firing, with engine cutoff initiated by the control operator after 35 seconds. Also on April 1 in the IB program NASA authorized Rocketdyne to increase the 200K H-1 engine to 205K to support Saturn IB application to even larger missions.225
    225. IBM Space Systems Center, Saturn IU Program Plan, Apr. 5, 1966, pp. 1.1-1.2.
S-IB-1 static firing230 230. Static firing of S-IB-1

On April 7 Major General Samuel C. Phillips, Director, Apollo Program, NASA, forwarded to MSFC an amendment to the FY 65 Research and Development Appropriations. This authorized transfer of $5 million to the Saturn IB Program for Saturn IB/Centaur design effort.226
    226. MSFC Industrial Operations, Engine Program Office, QPR, F-1, H-1, J-2, and RL10 Engines, January, February, and March, 1965, Mar. 15, 1965, pp. 15-16.
The first single-engine S-IC-T firing occurred at MSFC on April 9.

Apollo spacecraft BP-26 arrived at KSC on April 10 and entered receiving inspection. Also on this date MSFC successfully test fired a single F-1 engine on the stage for 16.73 seconds. Three days later Chrysler test personnel successfully static fired the S-IB-1 stage the second time at MSFC; the test lasted 142 seconds. The next day, April 16, Marshall personnel successfully test fired all five of the S-IC-T stage's F-1 engines. This first S-IC-T five-engine test occurred two months ahead of schedule and lasted 6.5 seconds.227

    227. Maj. Gen. Samuel C. Phillips, Dir., Apollo Program Off., NASA, to MSFC, Attn. Stan Reinartz, Saturn IB/Centaur Program Mgr., teletype, Apr. 7, 1965.
S-IC static test firing231 231. Static test of all five
engines of Saturn V booster
(S-IC stage)

On April 20 workmen loaded the S-IB-1 stage aboard the Palaemon for its return trip to Michoud to undergo post-static checkout and modification.228
    228. MSFC Test Lab., Hist. Report, Jan.-Dec. 1965, pp. 7-8.
Pegasus B, second of the micrometeoroid detection satellites, arrived at KSC on April 21 to be readied for launch.
Pegasus deployment232 232. Deployment sequence
of the Pegasus

MSFC on April 22 began negotiating with Chrysler for an equitable adjustment to contract NAS8-4016. This resulted from NASA program redirection and termination of six S-I stages. Negotiations would continue throughout 1965.

On April 24 the S-IB-1 arrived at Michoud from MSFC where it had undergone static tests. On this same date, at Santa Susana, S&ID conducted the first five-engine ignition test of the S-II battleship.229

    229. MSFC Test Lab., Hist. Report, Jan.-Dec. 1965, p. 1; Systems Static Test Branch, CCSD, Saturn S-IB Stage Final Static Test Report, S-IB-1, June 4, 1965, pp. 1-2.
MSFC on April 29 completed assembly of the S-IU-200F/500F.

The S-IVB contractor loaded the first flight S-IVB stage aboard the NASA barge Orion on April 30 for shipment to SACTO. Also on April 30, during the final test of S-II-S at Seal Beach a failure occurred that seriously damaged the stage.230

    230. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, April-June 1965, p. 15.
S&ID activity during April included installation and checkout of electro-mechanical mockup systems, beginning vertical assembly of S-II-F, and the first test to ultimate load on the S-II-S/D. In April also, NASA modified a Boeing contract to provide engineering services and instrumentation for the Saturn V dynamic test program.


On May 4 the S-IVB battleship stage successfully performed a hot-gimbal, full-duration firing at SACTO to conclude the Saturn IB battleship hot-firing test phase.231 The following day S-IVB-201 arrived at Courtland, California, aboard the barge Orion. There workmen unloaded it and placed it on the S-IVB transporter for the remainder of its journey to SACTO. The next day, May 6, S-IVB-201 arrived at SACTO, and preparations began immediately for positioning it in the Beta III test stand.
    231. NAA S&ID, S-II Stage MPR, Apr. 1965, p. 36.
S-IVB-201 aboard Orion233

233. S-IVB-201 en route to
Courtland, California, aboard
the Orion

On May 7 at Santa Susana there was a successful 10-second cluster firing of the S-II battleship after two previous unsuccessful attempts.232
    232. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, Apr.-June 1965, p. 21; MSFC Sat. V Prog. Off., "Saturn V Weekly Report No. 18," May 10, 1965.
Douglas on May 10 delivered the tenth and last Saturn I S-IV stage (S-IV-10) to KSC aboard the Pregnant Guppy aircraft.

MSFC submitted the procurement plan for nine additional Saturn V S-IVB stages to the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight (OMSF) on May 17 for approval.

S-IVB production234 234. S-IVB production
235. S-II stage

Final period of countdown for the SA-8 launch started on the afternoon of May 24 and, except for a scheduled 35-minute hold, continued uninterrupted to liftoff. Liftoff occurred the next day, May 25, as SA-8 flew the ninth successful Saturn I flight. SA-8 placed in orbit Pegasus B.233
    233. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, Apr.-June 1965, p. 15.
Workmen on May 25 successfully completed vertical assembly of the S-II-T, in progress at Seal Beach since February. On May 26, the first stage S-I-10, for the tenth and last Saturn I launch vehicle left Michoud on the barge Promise for KSC.

During May MSFC and Rocketdyne completed negotiations for conversion of the J-2 contract to an incentive type.234 Also in May S&ID structural assembly of the S-II-2 flight stage began at Seal Beach. Technicians at SACTO began conversion of the S-IVB battleship from the Saturn IB to the Saturn V configuration.

    234. MSFC Saturn Flight Evaluation Working Group, Results of the Ninth Saturn I Launch Vehicle Test Flight SA-8 (MPR-SAT-FE-66-10), June 13, 1966, pp. 1-6, 8-9, 14-15, 19-30, and 91-97; William M. Bland, Jr., Chief, Checkout and Test Division, MSC, to NASA Headquarters, Attn: R. R. Gilruth, et al, teletype, subj: "Apollo Mission A-104 (SA-8) Flight Report," May 28, 1965.
S-II stage235

Launch of SA-8236

J-2 engine checkout237 236. Launch of SA-8 from
pad 37B at KSC
237. Rocketdyne technicians
checking out a J-2 engine

S-IU-10, final instrument unit for the Saturn I vehicles, arrived at KSC from MSFC on June 1, a day before KSC technicians erected the S-I-10 on Launch Complex 37B.


On June 8 the launch support crew at KSC erected the S-IV-10 atop the S-I stage on Launch Complex 37B. KSC technicians on June 9 erected the S-IU-10 on the SA-10 vehicle and began connecting umbilicals of the launch support equipment.

CCSD shipped the S-IB-2 stage on June 12 from Michoud to MSFC.

After arriving at Seal Beach from SACTO on the barge Orion, the S-IVB-500F stage on June 13 went aboard the USNS Point Barrow for its trip to KSC via the Panama Canal.

Point Barrow238 238. Point Barrow, carrier
for S-IVB-500F stage
239. Launch complex 34
gantry at KSC

MSFC workmen completed structural assembly of S-IU-500V on June 14.235
    235. L. F. Belew, Mgr., Engine Prog. Off., MSFC, paper, "Apollo Vehicle Propulsion Systems," AIAA Annual Meeting, July 26-29, 1966, Paper 65-303; Engine Prog. Off., Semiannual Progress Report, July-December 1965, p. 30.
The S-IB-2 stage arrived at MSFC's Huntsville dock on June 19 from where Chrysler and MSFC personnel moved it to the static test tower in preparation for a series of acceptance firings. The S-IU-200F/500F left MSFC on this date en route to Michoud to await reshipment to KSC. At KSC it would be used in facilities checkout of Launch Complex 34. On June 19 at SACTO test personnel attempted the first Saturn V development firing of the S-IVB battleship; the test ended after several seconds because of an automatic cutoff.236
    236. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, July-Sept. 1965, p. 42.

Launch complex 34239
The Apollo BP-9 service module and service module adapter, modified by MSFC to serve as a shroud for the Pegasus C experiment, arrived at KSC on June 21. Meanwhile at KSC, to avoid delay of the SA-10 launch and also delay of planned Launch Complex 37B modification, NASA shifted the launch to July 30, ahead of the Gemini 5 launch.237
    237. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, Apr.-June 1965, p. 21.
In a last captive-firing condition test at MSFC S-IC-S on June 21 withstood 140 percent of the design load.238
    238. Rocco A. Petrone, Dir., Plans, Programs, and Resources, KSC, to Col. Lee B. James Saturn I/IB Program Mgr., MSFC, teletype, subj: "Possible Interference of Scheduled Launch Date of SA-10 with that of GT-5," June 10, 1965; Kurt H. Debus, Dir., KSC, to Dr. George E. Mueller, Assoc. Adm., Office of Manned Space Flight, subj: "Possible Interface of Launch Schedules," June 11, 1965; Maj. Gen. Samuel C. Phillips, Dir. Apollo Program Office, NASA, to Dr. Wernher von Braun, Dir. MSFC, subj: "Reschedule of SA-10 Launch," June 21, 1965.
The Fairchild Hiller Corporation shipped the third meteoroid detection satellite, Pegasus C, to KSC on June 22 aboard the Pregnant Guppy aircraft.
Pegasus wing deployment240

240. Pegasus with partial
deployment of wings
241. Opening of locks at

After investigating ways to reduce the complexity of the Saturn/Apollo onboard communications and tracking systems, MSFC on June 28 recommended, and NASA approved, deletion of the MISTRAM transponder and use of the more reliable AZUSA "C." Both were not required for program success.239 On this date also the S-II stage simulator became the first "space-age" hardware to pass through the Mississippi Test Operations lock and into the site's seven and one-half mile canal system.
    239. MSFC P&VE Lab., MPR, June 1-30, 1965, p. 49.
The Point Barrow arrived at KSC on June 29 with the S-IVB-500F. Arriving at KSC on June 29 was the last boilerplate version of the Apollo spacecraft command module. It arrived from MSFC along with the launch escape system.

Locks at MTF241
During June MSFC began contracting negotiations with Rocketdyne for the 22 remaining engines needed for the 12 Saturn IB vehicles. S&ID technicians at Seal Beach began assembly of S-II-3, the third Saturn V flight stage.


A July 1 "third firing" of the Saturn IVB battleship stage (Saturn V configuration) at SACTO resulted in an explosion and fire that damaged wiring and instrumentation.240
    240. Maj. Gen. Samuel C. Phillips, Dir., Apollo Program, NASA to E. Betram, KSC, et al, teletype, subj: "AFETR CW Radar Standardization, June 28, 1965; and Azusa/Mistram," June 28, 1965.
On July 2 NASA at KSC awarded a $6,745,000 construction contract to adapt Launch Complex 37 for Saturn IB. Also at KSC, following completion of premating systems checks and panel deployment checks, technicians on July 6 attached Pegasus C to the S-IU-10 instrument unit. They then positioned BP-9 as the shroud for the satellite. A July 6 Saturn V milestone occurred at Seal Beach, California, as workmen began vertical buildup of the S-II-1.241
    241. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, July-Sept. 1965, p. 26; Saturn V Prog. Off., "Saturn V Weekly Report, No. 26," July 7, 1965.
After a suggestion by NASA Administrator James E. Webb, the name of the Mississippi Test Operations was officially changed to Mississippi Test Facility (MTF).

A faulty signal from the engine pressure switch on July 8 automatically ended a first attempt to static fire S-IB-2 in the S-IB test stand at MSFC. The test, conducted by Chrysler personnel, lasted only three seconds. But the following day the S-IB-2 stage successfully performed a short-duration 35-second captive firing in the stand.242 On July 12 component assembly of the S-IU-500ST started at ME Lab. A 27-second S-II battleship firing occurred at Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) on July 13; this was the longest firing to date of the S-II program.243

    242. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, July-Sept. 1965, p. 23.
    243. MSFC Test Lab., Hist. Report, Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1965, pp. 1-2.
S-IB static firing242

242. S-IB static test
243. Saturn SA-10 during
countdown demonstration test

The S-IB-2 stage successfully completed its series of static tests at MSFC with a 2.5-minute full-duration test on July 20.244
    244. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, July-Sept. 1965, p. 18.
In the Saturn V program, on July 20 technicians at SSFL successfully accomplished a 150-second firing of the S-II battleship. The KSC launch crew successfully performed the countdown demonstration test for SA-10 on July 27. Final phase of countdown for the SA-10 launch was under way at 9:25 pm est on July 29 and continued to liftoff without any technical holds. On July 30 SA-10, the final flight test of the Saturn I program, performed excellently. The launch vehicle inserted its dual payload of Pegasus C and BP-9 into an orbital trajectory. This SA-10 flight concluded NASA's Saturn I program.245
    245. MSFC Test Lab., Hist. Report, Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1965, pp. 1-2.
The second Saturn IB booster (S-IB-2) left MSFC's Huntsville port aboard the barge Palaemon on its return trip to Michoud on July 30.

A component malfunction in pneumatic console A at SACTO prematurely ended the first attempt to static fire S-IVB-201. But stage propellant loading and the automatic countdown sequence proceeded satisfactorily to the point of cutoff in this July 21 static firing.246

    246. MSFC Saturn Flight Evaluation Working Group, Results of the Tenth Saturn I Launch Vehicle Test Flight SA-10, July 14, 1966, (MPR-SAT-FE-66-11), pp. 5-9.
During July in support of the Saturn IB and V programs Rocketdyne completed the flight rating tests of the 200K J-2 engine at SSFL. Also in July, Rocketdyne initiated a development program to uprate the J-2 engine thrust capability from 200K to 230K.247
    247. DAC, Saturn S-IVB Monthly TPR, July 1965, p. 48.

SA-10 during CDDT243

Launch of SA-10244

J-2 engines on S-II stage245 244. Launch of SA-10 from
pad 37B, KSC
245. Technicians checking
Rocketdyne built J-2 engines
on S-II stage


On August 2 MSFC personnel conducted the first successful ignition test of the MSFC S-IVB battleship. It lasted for 2.1 seconds. This first firing of the MSFC S-IVB battleship completed activation of the J-2/S-IVB test stand at MSFC.248
    248. Belew, AIAA Paper 65-303, pp. 12-14; MSFC Engine Prog. Off., Semiannual Progress Report, July-December 1965, pp. 21-23.
The first full-duration run of S-IC-T occurred at MSFC on August 5. The firing lasted 143.6 seconds.249
    249. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, July-Sept. 1965, pp. 26-27; MSFC Test Lab., Hist. Report, Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1965, Addendum, pp. 1-3.
S-IC static firing246

246. S-IC static firing

The S-IVB-201 stage successfully performed a full-duration firing of 452 seconds at SACTO on August 8. The test was computer-controlled throughout, marking the first use of a fully automatic system for performing a complete checkout, propellant loading, and static firing of a vehicle stage.250
    250. MSFC Test Lab., Hist. Report, Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1965, pp. 7-8.
SACTO computer room247 247. Computer room during
S-IVB-201 firing at Sacramento

On August 9 Chrysler shipped the first Saturn IB flight booster, S-IB-1, to KSC. The stage would be used in launch facilities checkout and then readied for flight.

In the Saturn V program, on August 9 S&ID at SSFL accomplished a full-duration S-II battleship cluster firing; it terminated manually after 385.6 seconds.251 And the structure of the S-IU-200S/500S on August 13 withstood 140 percent load limit at MSFC, proving its structural integrity.252 Meanwhile, Boeing workmen at Michoud began final assembly of the S-IC-4 thrust structure.

    251. NASA Hist. Off., Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965, Chronology on Science, Technology, and Policy, SP-4006, p. 373. Hereafter cited as NASA Hist. Off., Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1965.
    252. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, July-Sept. 1965, p. 18.
The S-IB-1 and S-IU-200F/500F arrived at KSC on August 14 aboard the barge Promise from Michoud. This cargo was the first barged through the new Port Canaveral locks.

The first two-burn full-duration firing of the S-IVB battleship lasted 170 and 320 seconds, respectively, at SACTO on August 17.253

    253. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, July-Sept. 1965, p. 40.

S-II battleship firing248

248. S-II battleship cluster
firing at SSFL

At KSC workmen transported the S-IB-1 stage to Launch Complex 34 and erected it on the pad on August 18. On this same day workmen also completed erection of the S-IVB-500F stage and the S-IU-200F/500F on Launch Complex 34, using the S-IB-1 stage as a spacer, and began vehicle checkout of the Saturn IB launch facilities with propellant tankings to verify the facility LOX and liquid hydrogen loading systems. Also on August 18 Chrysler personnel at Michoud completed pre-static checkout of S-IB-3.

Conclusion of the Saturn V S-IVB battleship test program occurred at SACTO on August 20 with a two-burn test for 170 and 360 seconds.254 Meanwhile, at MSFC on this date technicians completed S-IU-500V assembly and delivered it to test contractor.

    254. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, July-Sept. 1965, p. 26; MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., "Saturn V Weekly Report No. 32," Aug. 23, 1965.
On August 29 MTF operations began with installation of S-II stage simulator into test stand A-2 for facility checkout.
A-2 test stand at MTF249

249. S-II A-2 test stand,
Mississippi Test Facility
250. S-IVB-201 being hoisted
on the Steel Executive


The S-IVB-202 stage arrived at SACTO from Huntington Beach on September 1. The following day Douglas technicians installed the stage on the SACTO Beta III test stand and continued stage modification not accomplished at Huntington Beach because of parts shortages and design changes.255 Then on September 3 Douglas transported the S-IVB-201 to the Courtland dock, loaded it on board the Orion, and shipped it to Richmond, California, where it would be loaded on the ocean freighter Steel Executive for the rest of its journey to KSC.256
    255. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, July-Sept. 1965, p. 26; MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., "Saturn V Weekly Report No. 32," Aug. 23, 1965.
    256. DAC, Saturn S-IVB Monthly TPR, Sept. 1965, p. 38.

Transport of S-IVB-201250
On September 8 workmen at SACTO removed the S-IVB battleship from the Beta I stand and shipped it to Tullahoma, Tennessee, for engine environmental testing.
Test facility at Tullahoma251 251. Altitude simulation
test facility at Tullahoma,

Hurricane Betsy entered the Michoud area about 8 pm on September 9 and left severe roof and building damage at Michoud. It also washed the NASA barge Promise upon the levee, inflicting damage to the barge in the amount of $89,138. The NASA barge Palaemon, with the S-IB-3 stage as cargo, weathered Hurricane Betsy near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, without damage during the first day of its journey from Michoud to MSFC in Huntsville.
Hurricane damage at Michoud252 Promise on levee253
Promise on levee254
252. Damage at Michoud by
Hurricane Betsy
253. NASA barge Promise
upon levee after Hurricane
254. Hurricane Betsy leaves
Promise on levee
255. Aftermath of Hurricane
Betsy at Michoud

IBM on September 9 delivered to NASA the flight launch vehicle digital computer and launch vehicle data adapter (LVDC/LVDA) for the AS-201 vehicle.257
    257. DAC, Saturn S-IVB Monthly TPR, Sept. 1965, p. 38.
The upper stage testing in the Saturn IB dynamic test program ended at MSFC on September 11. The S-IVB battleship at MSFC fired for 400 seconds on September 15, a full-duration test.258 On September 16 the S-IB-3 arrived at MSFC where Chrysler test engineers would static fire the stage in MSFC's S-IB test stand before returning it to Michoud.
    258. MSFC Saturn I/IB Prog. Off.,Saturn I/IB Prog. Report, Oct. 1, 1964-Mar. 31, 1965, p. 1; IBM, Saturn Instrument Unit Mission Monthly Progress Report for September, pp. 1, 7, 22, and 30.
The S-IVB-201 arrived at KSC aboard the Steel Executive September 19; workmen unloaded the stage and moved it to the special assembly building for receiving inspection.

On September 29 the S-II-S/D ruptured and disintegrated during a structural loading test at Seal Beach. The failure occurred at 144 percent of limit load on the aft skirt. This failure necessitated redirection of the S-II program by substitution of the S-II-T as a dynamic test vehicle following static testing at MTF.259

    259. MSFC Test Lab., Addendum to Test Lab. Hist. Report, Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1965, pp. 1-3.

Hurricane damage at Michoud255

S-IB dynamic test stand256

256. S-IB-200D at MSFC
dynamic test stand

Workmen at Seal Beach completed manufacture of the S-II-T stage on September 30. Meanwhile, on this date IBM at Huntsville completed fabrication of the S-IU-200S/500S-II.260
    260. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, Oct.-Dec. 1965, pp. 15 and 17; NAA S&ID, S-II Stage MPR, Sept. 1965, p. 41.
S-IU-200/500S during fabrication257 257. S-IU-200/500S on
fabrication stand No. 1
258. Loading S-II-T on AKD
Point Barrow

During September NASA added to the Boeing contract (NAS8-5608 Schedule II) $4.5 million to provide services in connection with systems engineering and integration of mechanical GSE.


Workmen at KSC on October 1 mated the S-IVB flight stage for AS-201 (S-IVB-201) to the S-IB-1 stage on Launch Complex 34.261 Also on October 1 NASA approved a two-year incentive contract with Pratt & Whitney for follow-on RL10 engine research and development effective this date. The contract covered qualification of RL10-A-3-3 (uprated version) for Centaur application and continued flight support. In the Saturn V program on October 1 the S-II-T, S-II all-systems stage, left Seal Beach on the Point Barrow bound for MTF.
    261. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, Oct.-Dec. 1965, p. 34.

S-II-T on Point Barrow258
On October 6 workmen at Michoud completed assembly of the S-IVB-4 stage, and the stage entered pre-static checkout.

The first S-IC-T firing in automatic configuration occurred at MSFC on October 8 for a scheduled duration of approximately 45 seconds.262 On October 13 the S-IC-D arrived at MSFC's Saturn V dock after leaving Michoud dock aboard the barge Poseidon October 6, the Poseidon's first trip. Two days later technicians at MSFC began Saturn V dynamic testing of the S-IU-200D/500D.

    262. MSFC Saturn Flight Evaluation Working Group, Results of the First Saturn IB Launch Vehicle Test Flight AS-201, (MPR-SAT-FE-66-8), May 6, 1966, p. 13.
S-IC-T test firing259

S-IC-D arriving at MSFC260

259. S-IC-T static test firing
260. S-IC-D being unloaded
from barge Poseidon
261. S-II-T arriving at S-II-A2
stand at MTF
262. Installation of S-II-T
in MTF test stand A2

The S-II-T, first "live" launch vehicle stage at MTF, arrived October 17 for start of stage all-systems testing. S&ID personnel at MTF placed S-II-T into test stand A-2 on October 19.263 The S-IU-201 arrived at KSC on October 20 aboard the Palaemon; workmen unloaded it and took it to Hanger AF for prelaunch checkout. Five days later technicians at KSC erected the S-IU-201 atop the S-IVB-201 stage on Launch Complex 34. That same day, October 25, Apollo command module 009, part of the payload for the AS-201 vehicle, arrived at KSC and entered checkout.
    263. MSFC Test Lab., Hist. Report, Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1965, pp. 8-9. N. C. Milwee, Manufacturing Engineering Lab., MSFC, "Quarterly Report, July-Sept. 1965," (draft)
Douglas technicians on October 26 completed the S-IVB-202 pre-static firing checkout at SACTO. On this date S-IB-3 successfully performed a 2.5-minute static firing in the S-IB static test stand at MSFC in Huntsville.264
    264. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, Oct.-Dec. 1965, p. 17.
On October 28 Rocketdyne delivered to Chrysler at Michoud the first two H-1 engines uprated from 200K to 205K. Eight of the uprated engines would add about 40,000 pounds thrust to the S-IB stage and increase the total thrust of the stage to 1,640,000 pounds.265
    265. Systems Static Test Branch, CCSD, Saturn S-IB Stage Final Static Test Report, Stage S-IB-3, pp. 3-5.
Difficulties experienced with the stage electric power system at SACTO terminated the first S-IVB-202 acceptance firing attempt on October 29.266 Also on October 29, the S-IVB stage contractor shipped S-IVB-203 to SACTO.
    266. MSFC P&VE Lab., MPR, Oct. 1-31, 1965, p. 19; MSFC Press Release No. 65-259, Oct. 28, 1965.
During October construction of the Launch Complex 39 pad A ended at KSC.


NASA on November 1 increased Chrysler's contract NAS8-4016 some $18,909,000 to cover additional systems engineering. In the Saturn V program on this date the Propulsion and Vehicle Engineering (P&VE) Laboratory at MSFC began the first series of S-IU-200S/500S-II tests.

On November 2 the second S-IVB-202 acceptance firing attempt ended at SACTO after 0.41 seconds of mainstage because of a component malfunction in the J-2 engine combustion stability monitoring system.267 SACTO activated test stand Beta I on November 3 with installation of S-IVB-203.

    267. DAC, Saturn S-IVB Monthly TPR, Oct. 1965, p. 33.
The final scheduled test of the S-II common bulkhead test tank (CBTT) ended at Santa Susana on November 6. The CBTT was tested to 1.4 times the limit burst pressure. Completion of these tests, which verified the integrity of the common bulkhead, the liquid hydrogen tank, and the forward skirt, was a major milestone in the S-II stage program.268
    268. DAC, Saturn S-IVB Monthly TPR, Nov. 1965, pp. 39-40.

S-II-T at test stand261

Installing S-II-T in test stand262

S-IVB-202 installed in test stand263

H1 engine during test264

263. S-IVB-202 installed in
test stand Beta 3 at SACTO
264. H-1 engine

On November 8 the Saturn IB stage S-IB-3 arrived at Michoud from Huntsville to undergo post-static checkout and modification. The next day the S-IVB-202 stage performed a long-duration (307 seconds mainstage) acceptance firing at SACTO; a malfunctioning liquid hydrogen mass sensing unit in the propellant utilization (PU) subsystem prevented completion of the test to full duration.269 Pre-static checkout of S-IB-4, completed at Michoud on this date, revealed no significant problems.
    269. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, Oct.-Dec. 1965, p. 14.
Workmen at Seal Beach completed all S-II-1 major subassemblies on November 25 with assembly of the aft LOX bulkhead.

There was a November 30 automatic LOX loading test of the S-IB-1 at KSC to verify the automatic LOX loading and replenish systems and the LOX drain systems. The stage withstood a LOX load of 100 percent; during the loading all stage systems functioned normally.270 On this date Chrysler technicians completed assembly of S-IB-5 and moved it into the checkout station for pre-static checkout.

    270. DAC, Saturn S-IVB Monthly TPR, Nov. 1965, pp. 39-40.
265. S-II common bulkhead
test tank (CBTT)

S-II test tank265

In November NASA announced that the J-2 engine contract would be amended to add 48 engines. NASA in addition asked Rocketdyne to provide 52 additional J-2 engines for delivery in 1967 and 1968.271 November also saw the completion at Seal Beach of all engine deliveries for S-II-1 and S-II-2.
    271. MSFC Saturn Flight Evaluation Working Group, Results of the First Saturn IB Launch Vehicle Test Flight AS-201, (MPR-SAT-FE-66-8), May 6, 1966, p. 13; MSFC P&VE Lab., MPR, Dec. 1-31, 1965, Supplement, pp. 1-3.
J-2 engine266 266. Major components of
J-2 engine
1. Oxidizer Turbopump 9. Exhaust Manifold
2. Propellant Utilization Valve 10. Anti-Flood Check Valve
3. High-Pressure Oxidizer Duct 11. Auxiliary Flight Instrumentation Package
4. Electrical Control Package 12. Customer Connect Lines (Electrical)
5. Primary Flight Instrumentation Package  13. Accessory Drive Pad
6. High-Pressure Fuel Duct 14. Gaseous Hydrogen Start Bottle
7. Fuel Manifold 15. Customer Connect Lines (Pneumatic)
8. Thrust Chamber 16. Oxidizer Inlet Duct


On December 1 the S-IVB-202 stage successfully achieved all test objectives during its full-duration (463.8 seconds mainstage) acceptance firing at SACTO. Cutoff occurred automatically when the PU system indicated less than one percent LOX.272
    272. Belew, AIAA Paper 65-303; MSFC Engine Prog. Off., Semiannual Prog. Report, July-Dec. 1965, p. 30.
MSFC and Boeing on December 3 negotiated a supplemental agreement establishing Schedule III (Saturn V launch operations support) effective December 31, 1965. In the Saturn V program on December 16, the final captive test firing of the S-IC-T in original automatic configuration occurred at MSFC.273
    273. DAC, Saturn S-IVB Monthly TPR, Dec. 1965, pp. 35-36 and 41.
The S-IB-4 stage departed Michoud on December 7 aboard the NASA barge Palaemon for the MSFC test site at Huntsville. MSFC workmen on December 14 unloaded the stage from the Palaemon, moved it to the MSFC static test tower, and completed its installation in the tower. The following day, also in the Saturn IB program, Douglas completed Phase I of the S-IVB-204 pre-static checkout and successfully performed a simulated flight test before beginning preparations for shipping the stage to SACTO.

Qualification testing of the J-2 engine at the 200K level, which began on December 2, ended successfully at SSFL on December 17.274

    274. MSFC Press Release No. 66-4 and No. 66-8, Jan. 7, 1966.
Technicians at KSC erected Apollo spacecraft 009 atop the AS-201 launch vehicle at Launch Complex 34 on December 26.275
    275. MSFC Engine Prog. Off., Semiannual Prog. Report, July-Dec. 1965, p. 21.
Apollo spacecraft267 267. Apollo spacecraft

On December 29 MSFC forwarded to NASA Headquarters for approval a supplement providing for conversion of the Boeing S-IC stage contract to cost-plus-incentive-fee; the cost-effective date of this change was July 2.

During December MSFC initiated negotiations with Rocketdyne for a combined J-2 research and development contract NAS7-190 from a CPFF to a CPIF contract. In December preliminary data from the three Pegasus flights indicated that the Apollo spacecraft structure as designed would be adequate to resist meteoroid penetration.276 Two F-1 turbopump explosions occurred, one at SSFL and one at Edwards.

    276. MSFC Saturn V Prog. Off., Saturn V QPR, Oct. 1-Dec. 31, 1965, p. 34; MSFC Saturn V Flight Evaluation Working Group, Results of the First Saturn IB Launch Vehicle Test Flight AS-201 (MPR-SAT-FE-66-8), p. 13.

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