Shaky Saturday


Since we find ourselves in the midst of the Apollo 11 Moon mission this weekend, it seems appropriate to start out with a video of a high tech vibrations analysis test on the Saturn V rocket! On October 14, 1966, a full Saturn V and Apollo spacecraft were stacked inside the Vehicle Assembly Building, and tested by being rocked back and forth. This was to check stability and measure stresses which might result from winds at the launch pad. Check it out after the jump!

You can read more about this particular test, and the SA-500F, the full-size but not flight worthy rocket designed for use as a facilities demonstrator that is seen in the video, in this Untold Apollo article on!

Video from the YouTube of Jeff Quitney via the Green Box, image from NASA.

  • Night Traveller

    One of the more heartwarming stories I have seen this year.

  • craigsu

    I'll admit that's somewhat less sophisticated than what I was expecting.

    • nanoop

      For this job, you need engineers that understand the concepts behind harmonic oscillators, or else they'd loose at tug o' war.

      • OA5599

        These guys are available.

        [youtube PP8tLAwv1kE youtube]

        • nanoop

          They seem less tense than the NASA guys. Must be the song (or the average price of an Apollo-brand pillar).

        • That reminds me of when I worked assembling airport tug tractors. Those things had about 3/8" thick steel plate for running boards. It was inevitable that the mounting holes wouldn't line up. The alignment method was about 4 skinny Vietnamese guys (the workforce in assembly was about 75% Vietnamese) on a 6 foot long steel pry bar. They were really happy when the 6'1" 295lb American guy showed up. If one of those bolts ever failed, somebody was going to get hurt BAD.

  • Martin M

    Those were better days, in my opinion. Today, with all the throngs of programmers and engineers testing virtual equipment using massive computers running simulations and models, you have to wonder if it is actually better.

    Old school. Love it.