Friday, January 25, 2013


Sometimes one looks for inspiration in previous ‘not quites’. The F-1 engine is able to produce 1.5 million pounds of thrust using a fuel composed of liquid oxygen and kerosene; Not one of the propellants that was being considered. Actually, is still not one of the propellants being considered.

The F-1 was supposed to get Apollo 11 up into space back in 1969. When NASA sent Neil Armstrong up,the F-1 stayed earth-bound. There was a glitch of some sort during testing and so it was housed at the Smithsonian Institute.

Today in 2013, about a dozen F-1 engines remain in Alabama at NASA’s main propulsion center while many others are in various cities on display. But all they need is the one. NASA doesn’t intend to use this rocket and finally allow it a turn at space. Instead NASA intends to glean from it what they can. Grab inspiration from what was a really good engine, well, except for that glitch.

Oringinally five of them were banded together to act as one. But in test firing, one was all that was needed. Test firings of the F-1 or the F-60049 as it was called, were made as NASA engineers watched and contemplated constructing a new generation version of the Apollo engine that would offer more thrust and be utilized in deepspace. The familiar rumbling sound accomapnied by the thick smokey plume set fire to the grassy test site that was soon extinguished. But not before the engineers had gleaned some inspiration. You see sometimes to think out of the box, you have to climb in the old box, revisit where you were and then go forward.

Pictured below are some of the original engineers from back in the 1960's.

For NASA, everything old is new again……..

No comments:

Post a Comment