F-1 Engine Test Stand Pre-Demolition Documentation
The F-1 Engine Test Stand (Building 4696) was used at Marshall to static-fire single F-1 engines.
The test stand proper was 214 feet tall (with its cranes extending approximately an additional 50 feet) and consisted of a steel superstructure mounted on four concrete pillars. These pillars were 18 by 16 feet, and extended 40 feet underground to bedrock. Three of the pillars were 105 feet tall, stopping at the stand's main level while the fourth extended to the test stand's full height, serving as a mount for the crane. Although the F-1 engine produced only 1.5 million pounds of thrust, the stand was built to accommodate engines with as much as 3.4 million pounds of thrust.
The stand featured a flame deflector which was 65 feet tall. The flame deflector was double-walled, consisting of one inch thick steel plate. During operation, 136,000 gallons of water (from a pump house shared with the S-IC test stand) flowed through the flame deflector and out some 20,000 holes in the deflector walls.
Construction on the test stand began in 1962 and was completed by 1965. The first F-1 engine test, lasting only 14 seconds, was performed on July 8, 1965 (single F-1 engine tests at Marshall had previously been conducted in the west position of the Static Test Tower). A total of 107 tests were performed in the F-1 test Stand, the last one on February 13, 1969.
I received this set of photos of the F-1 Engine Test Stand, which were taken on March 18, 2009, from Marshall Space Flight Center. The test stand was slated for demolition, but the Alabama State Historic Preservation Office demanded that the stand be documented. These photos would appear to be part of that documentation effort.
Demolition started on the stand in 2011 and final demolition place on November 30, 2012.
Oddly, the photos I received were of a rather low resolution (1029x684); if not for the fact that the photos contained all the normal EXIF information recorded by a camera, I would have thought that they had been reduced.
These photos include a few of the exterior of the test stand (including the flame bucket) as well as many photos of the interior. The crew who documented the interior of the test stand apparently wore hazmat suits.
I did not take these photos, but I do have photos which I took (with additional information about the test stand), both in 2008 (before demolition had begun) and also the summer of 2012, about four months prior to the stand's final demolition.
The F-1 Engine Test Stand was on the Historic American Buildings Survey. The survey includes a number of engineering-type drawings of the test stand, as well as an extensive essay on the history of the stand, the F-1 engine, and their place in the Space Race.
F-1 Test Stand Exterior
F-1 Test Stand Flame Deflector
F-1 Test Stand Interior