Saturn and Noise
While perusing the Sieber Collection at the archives of the University of Alabama at Huntsville I happened upon what is basically an informational comic book entitled Saturn and Noise, published by Marshall Space Flight Center's Special Project Unit, Test Division to educate the public about the noise emanating from the Saturn I test stand.
In Saturn and Noise, we meet "D.B. Noyes" (perhaps related to the Little Caesar's guy???), who teaches us about sound waves, sound frequency, and how atmospheric conditions can affect sound propagation. D.B. ultimately reaches the following conclusion:
You should now realize that, although Saturn noise may irritate you occasionally for a short while during the static test firings, there is absolutely no cause for fear of physical harm or property damage.
. . .
MSFC should be considered an educational and financial asset to this community, and you should also accept the occasional, novel noises as necessary inconveniences and marks of progress in the space age.
D.B. Noyes may have been toeing the party line, as residents did, indeed have cause to fear for damage to windows and wall plaster. And the "Parkway City Shopping Center" (which has presumably become the Parkway Place Mall since this booklet was published) is about 7 miles from the Static Test Tower as the crow flies. As D.B. Noyes points out in the booklet, the intensity of the sound varies inversely as the square of the distance from the source. The example given is that the intensity of the sound at 100 yards is four times as great as the intensity at 200 yards. Seven miles comes out to over 12,000 yards; I'm not even going to try to do that math!
Proceed to download links.
Here are some highlights from the booklet:
I've prepared three PDFs:
- A web-resolution PDF for the casual visitor; 2.1 megabytes. View now.
- A 300-dpi version for serious study; 5.9 megabytes. Download now.
- A 600-dpi version for those of you out there with really beefy PCs and like to zoom in to 800%, or want to go to your local copy shop and print up a copy of your own; 36 megabytes. Download now.