Monday, April 15, 2013

On to something a little less depressing

Remember the Saturn V rocket?
Some engineers found out they could learn a lot from the engines.  Like, since they didn't have a lot of the manufacturing tech we do now,
"Oh, the welds!" interrupted Case. "The welds on this engine are just a work of art, and everything on here was welded." The admiration in his voice was obvious. "Today, we look at ways of reducing that, but that was something I picked up on from this engine: just how many welds there were, and how great they looked."

And read this, and think about it:
As with everything else about the F-1, even the gas generator boasts impressive specs. It churns out about 31,000 pounds of thrust (138 kilonewtons), more than an F-16 fighter's engine running at full afterburner, and it was used to drive a turbine that produced 55,000 shaft horsepower. (That's 55,000 horsepower just to run the F-1's fuel and oxidizer pumps—the F-1 itself produced the equivalent of something like 32 million horsepower, though accurately measuring a rocket's thrust at that scale is complicated.)


Steve said...

I was at the Kennedy Space Center visitor complex in January and got to see a Saturn V. Wow. Looking up at those five engines on the first stage was just effing awesome.

The Saturn V Center has the mission control hardware from the launches and runs a simulation.

I did a tour that took us over to the Cape and got to see the launch pads for the first two Mercury launches as well as the one for the Apollo 1 test and Apollo 7 launch.

Our guide also pointed out some underground silos where the remains of the Challenger are interred.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

On the flip side, one commenter points out how far we've come at the same time.

"Imagine you're a Rocketdyne engineer in the 60's and one day, some guy walks out of a time warp into your assembly area, pulls out some weird looking cameras, takes a few pictures of your engine, plugs some cables into some unknown equipment, and then, looking bored, sits down and directs his attention to a thin metal and glass slab for a while. When a light changes on the unknown equipment, the guy gets up, sticks his hand inside, and pulls out a tool which takes apart your engine.

That would be magic. You'd think the guy was from the 25th century or something. But no, only 45 years."

Keith said...

I gather the only reason for the shuttle using the solid boosters - was last minute military design input.

The military's changes made it too heavy for its own engines to lift it, so it got solid fuel boosters fastened to it.

The military changes also resulted in much poorer glide performance and a requirement for much longer runways to land it.

somewhere I've got a copy of Igor Kolin's "heat engines", he printed and bound them himself - he likens the power requirement for the turbo pumps on the F1 to the remarkably simillar ratio of energy requirement of a diesel engine's injector pump compared to the total engine power output