Broadcast 1104 (Special Edition)

13 Feb 2009 Alan Lawrie
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Guest: Alan Lawrie. Topics: Saturn 1/1B rocket, A-1B manned flights, Saturn 5, rocket engineering, design challenges, Von Braun, lost knowledge. Alan Lawrie was our guest to talk about his new Apogee book, "Saturn 1/1B." We discussed the Saturn rocket program in-depth from the engineering qualifications and risk-taking to the management and leadership needed to make the program successful. Alan pointed out design challenges for the Saturn, including the common bulkhead and insulation issues, and he told us about the problems such as the explosion of the S-IV All Systems Vehicle with a frozen valve. In response to a listener question, he talked about the jobs assigned to the various astronauts at the time regarding the rocket, the lunar landing rocket, and the other systems. We talked about the condition of the Saturn archives, the availability of the historic information, and lessons learned from the Saturn program that can be applied to the Ares/Constellation program of today. We also contrasted the leadership and management at the time of the Saturn program with that of today's rocket and space programs. Another listener asked about comparing the Space-X model of building most, if not all the parts of the rocket in-house, where with Saturn, outside contractors were used. You will find Alan's response to this question quite interesting. Toward the end of the show, a listener asked Alan if there were any remains to be seen of the Sacramento rocket test facility he talked about frequently during the show and in the book. You will be surprised to find out that the hardware is available to be seen although not on any official tour. In fact, it's just outside on a road. Listen to what Alan said about it. I hope to go to Sacramento for a Space Show tour of this testing hardware so stay tuned for progress on this possibility. If you have comments or questions for Alan Lawrie, please send them to me at and I will forward them to him.



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