The sign accompanying the H-1 engine. It reads
The H-1 Engine
Priming for the Moon
The H-1 engine was
developed in the 1950s as the first stage rocket motor for the Saturn I and IB launch vehicles. From
1968 to 1975, the H-1
was used actively in America's manned space program. A cluster of eight H-1 engines
launched Apollo 7, the
three Skylab crews, and the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.
Together, the eight H-1
engines produced a thrust of approximately 1,600,000 pounds. This total
thrust was nearly equalled by one of the awesome F-1 engines that followed later in the
Saturn V rockets. The
H-1 was powered by a
gas generator burning a mixture of liquid
oxygen and a kerosene base.
Rocketdyne Division of Rockwell International was the primary contractor for
The engine you are looking at has had a section of its exhaust nozzle cut away,
so guests who have just attended Dr. Goddard's Lab can see for themselves how
the principles demonstrated in the show look on an actual rocket engine. It is
easy to see the ignition plate that sprays the oxygen and, in the case of the
H-1, the kerosene into the
combustion chamber. Also easy to observe is how the liquid kerosene travels
through the tubes between the walls of the combustion chamber to cool the
metal. These are just two of Dr. Goddard's 214
patents in the field of rocketry that made modern spaceflight possible.
On loan from the Smithsonian's National Air
and Space Museum, L2576.
The H-1 engine initially produced 165,000 pounds of thrust, but the thrust was
uprated incrementally during successive engine blocks to 188,000 lbs (starting
with engines delivered February 12, 1962), 200,000 lbs (March 31, 1964), and
finally 205,000 lbs (October 21, 1965).
Strictly speaking, Rocketdyne was a division of
North American Aviation until the merger with Rockwell in 1967; the
resulting company was initially known as North American Rockwell before another
merger in 1973 resulted in the name "Rockwell International."
From mid-1962 until early 1968, Rocketdyne produced H-1 rocket engines (along with the
S-3D engines used by Thor
and Jupiter and the LR-89 Atlas booster
engines) at its Neosho, Missouri
plant. Rocketdyne manufactured research and development engines at its
Canoga Park facility, as well as production engines prior to and after the
production run at Neosho. Rocketdyne delivered its first production engine to
the ABMA on April 28, 1959, and delivery of production engines continued until
The accompanying diagram calls out the following H-1 engine components:
This cut-away H-1 is NASM catalog #A19700285000.