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2012 Archived News

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December 30, 2012 (Update #2):

Since I spent so much time cleaning up an S-3D rocket engine diagram for inclusion in the recent Development of the Rocket Engine for the Jupiter Missile, I decided to create an S-3D Rocket Engine Overview page including that S-3D diagram, a photo of the S-3D from that report, plus an additional photo comparing the Redstone, Thor, and Jupiter engines.

This should pretty much conclude my Jupiter-related material (at least for this year :-)


December 30, 2012:

I've added another diagram to my Jupiter tail unit page.


December 27, 2012:

Today's update is in keeping with the recent Jupiter theme.

The Jupiter is a missile that doesn't get much love out there on the Internet, with few good diagrams available. The one diagram that is out there seems to have originated from the Redstone Arsenal History Office's now-defunct Website, but suffers from some fairly severe JPEG compression artifacts.

I dusted off this diagram from my copy of the former Website, spending some quality time in my graphics editing program's zoom mode to clean up this diagram as much as practical. The result is a new page intended to be a repository for Jupiter missile diagrams.


December 26, 2012:

Additional Jupiter-related material:


December 16, 2012 (Update #2):

I've prepared an OCRed version of the History of the Jupiter Missile System, which does not appear to be anywhere else out there on the Internet.


December 16, 2012:

I've added three additional diagrams to my Jupiter tail unit page.


December 10, 2012:

By special request, an Apollo docking latch at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and photos of the docking ring on Apollo 13 at the Kansas Cosmosphere.


December 9, 2012:

The F-1 Engine Test Stand (Building 4696) at Marshall Space Flight Center underwent final demolition on November 30, so I uploaded the photos I've taken of it.


November 17, 2012:

The V-2 theme completes with photos of the V-2 at the Kansas Cosmosphere and a page of V-2 cut-away diagrams.


November 8, 2012:

A few more V-2-related items:


November 1, 2012:

I stumbled across a link to Ars Technica's recent behind the scenes tour of Mission Control. Near the bottom of page 4, I noticed a diagram that looked rather familiar: my Apollo 13 Command Module control panel diagram.

I spent some time eyeballing it, coming to the conclusion that it was probably mine, when I returned to the story and saw that heroicrelics was credited. A rather nice surprise!


October 27, 2012 (update #2):

In support of my recent V-2 combustion chamber update, I had started sorting through some V-2 engine photos. I was interrupted by the B-1 update and today's loose ends, but I had time to finish up the V-2 engine photos:


October 27, 2012:

I was just going to tie up a few loose ends from yesterday's update, but I wound up expanding that to a few C-47-related photo sets:

But, my loose ends are not yet tied up, so who knows what'll come next ...


October 26, 2012:

The National Museum of the United States Air Force sent me an email telling me that today is the 38th anniversary of the roll-out of the first B-1A bomber (this one located at the Strategic Air & Space Musuem) (strictly speaking, they sent this email to everyone on the museum's mailing list :-)


October 22, 2012:

Added another diagram to my V-2 combustion chamber cut-away page.


October 13, 2012:

Two maps of the Peenemünde Army Research Center, research and development center for the A4/V-2 during World War II.


October 4, 2012:

Fifty-five years ago today, the Soviet Union launched the Earth's first artificial "fellow traveller", Sputnik 1.

Neil Armstrong Air & Space is among the many places which displays a Sputnik replica.


September 28, 2012:

I created a page for the Rocketdyne Mark 3 turbopump. This turbopump was introduced with the Navaho engine and saw use on the S-3D (Jupiter and Thor) engine, the Atlas engines, and the Saturn I/IB H-1 rocket engine.

I also uploaded a picture set of the H-1 rocket engine stored next to the Static Test Tower at Marshall Space Flight Center. This particular H-1 lacks its turbine exhaust hood, allowing inspection of its turbine and turbopumps.


September 22, 2012 (update #3):

I had the opportunity to scan the original ABMA memo (DD96), "Infringement Claim - Mrs. Esther C. Goddard", initiating an investigation into patent infringement claims. The task was eventually assigned to Dave Christensen, who received the memo and accompanying DD95 routing slip annotated with "Sympathetically!"


September 22, 2012 (update #2):

I also restored and posted a cut-away diagram of the LR-89 (Atlas booster) injector.


September 22, 2012:

Keeping in the overall Atlas theme, I restored and posted a cut-away diagram of the LR-105 (Atlas sustainer) thrust chamber and injector.


September 20, 2012:

By special request, I started this update by processing my photos of Atlas 8A at Strategic Air & Space. The Atlas A was the first research and development series of Atlas missiles; it had no center sustainer engine, only the two outer boosters. These engines were of a very early design, similar to the Navaho rocket engines (as displayed at the Udvar-Hazy Center.

Since I was in an Atlas sort of mood, I also sorted through my photos of the Atlas-Agena and Mercury-Atlas, both in the Kennedy Space Center Rocket Garden, and the unidentified Atlas behind Hangar C on the KSC "Then and Now" tour.

These later Atlases had a full complement of engines, including the sustainer engine, so I also uploaded my photos of the LR-105 (Atlas sustainer) engine at Stafford Air & Space and the LR-105 rocket engine at the Air Zoo.

The Atlas, in addition to its three large engines, also had two smaller, side-mounted engines, the LR-101 vernier engines. I also uploaded photos of the LR-101 vernier engine at the Air Force Space & Missile Museum (via the KSC "Then and Now" tour). Although these verniers used propellants from the main tanks once in flight, the engines used propellants stored in vernier start tanks (as displayed at the Kansas Cosmosphere) before the sustainer engine's turbopump came up to speed. I also uploaded some photos of the vernier start tanks installed in the boattail of the Atlas at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

In addition to the Atlas, the LR-101 verniers were also used in the Thor missile (as displayed at Strategic Air & Space).

The Thor served as the first stage of the early models of the Delta space launch vehicle, so I uploaded photos of the Delta at Kennedy Space Center and the Delta at Goddard Space Flight Center.

The upper stage of these early Deltas was the Able, which was derived from the Vanguard launch vehicle, used to orbit America's second satellite, Vanguard I (as displayed at the Udvar-Hazy Center). Of course, the Vanguard launches were rushed due to the launch of the Soviet Union's Sputnik I satellite (as displayed at Neil Armstrong Air & Space).

The main engine of the Thor (and therefore Delta) was the S-3D rocket engine (at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force). The S-3D was also used as the engine in the Jupiter missile (e.g., in the Marshall Space Flight Center Rocket Garden).

And, somewhere long the way, some sign or another mentioned that the Atlas served as the launch vehicle for the Lunar Orbiter lunar probe, so I uploaded my photos from Virginia Air & Space.

So, there you have a nice stroll through the early Space Race, in 274 new photos and one new info page.


September 4, 2012:

By request, a diagram of the F-1 rocket engine with call-outs.


September 1, 2012:

I've restored a scan I took of the launch of Atlas missile 4B and added a few other photos which I found floating around the Internet.


August 20, 2012:

Uploaded photos of the Apollo boilerplate at the Naval Aviation Museum.


August 15, 2012:

Today marks heroicrelic's fourth birthday! The site went live on August 15, 2008.

By sheer coincidence, I decided to start a Website on the 50th anniversary of the authorization of the Saturn program. Thus, today marks the Saturn program's 54th birthday as well.

To celebrate this event, I've uploaded a Saturn-related document: the SA-5 Saturn I Block II Vehicle Description, consisting largely of cut-aways of the S-I stage, with a couple of S-IV stage cut-aways as well.

Since we're on the topic of fourth birthdays, be sure to check out the pictures from my own fourth birthday. Not exactly a Saturn, but I thought it was pretty spiffy back in the day!


August 3, 2012:

Once again, I've proven that I can't make a small update.

On a visit to Marshall Space Flight Center last month, I visited a lab housing the components of an F-1 engine which had been disassembled. I got all sorts of great photos, including the injector (forward and aft faces, as well as the fuel feed passages and hypergol feed lines on the side), the turbopump components, and the interior of the heat exchanger.

I took 88 photos of these F-1 component which were worthy of uploading.

Somehow, in the process of preparing these 88 photos, I found it necessary to prepare an additional 88 photos, for a total of 176 photos to tell the story of this one disassembled F-1.

These other photos encompass

Keep in mind that all this is with me constantly telling myself to not include additional picture sets and to not create any additional info pages for things like F-1 turbopumps, hypergol manifolds, gimbal bearings, heat exchangers, nozzle extensions, the F-1 engine tear-down which took place after the F-1 Qual Testing completed, or anything else which I really wanted to do.

All this will happen some day, but today is not that day.


July 14, 2012:

I've updated my Saturn I Block I Profile page with high-resolution and more-complete graphics. I scanned several pages from the document one of the last times I was at UAH; the original graphics on this page were extracted from the UAH scan.

Since originally writing this page, I've come across a number of vintage photos of the SA-T stage with 51 (rather than 48) triplex nitrogen spheres, so I added links to those photos as well.

I also created PDFs containing these diagrams, at resolutions up to 600 dpi.


July 8, 2012:

Regular visitors may have noticed that updates for these past few months have been infrequent and rather meager when they did occur. This is because I've been working on a project which has grown entirely out of hand. While I went through several periods when I thought I would never finish this update, I actually finished it up this afternoon.

And, what an update it is! All (somehow or another) related to the F-1 rocket engine, the update includes four new "info" pages, a significant update for an existing "info" page, 14 picture sets either newly uploaded or significantly updated, and numerous minor updates to an uncounted number of other picture sets. This encompasses 308 new photos of artifacts in museums and close to 40 supplemental images.

The new "info" pages include

I've updated my F-1 Engine tube markings page.

The following picture sets have been uploaded or updated:

I'm preparing to visit Huntsville again later this month. When I return, I should have some exciting photos to upload.


July 6, 2012:

On a recent trip to Huntsville, I visited the home of aerospace consultant Dave Christensen and scanned some Jupiter-related documents.

I've restored and uploaded a diagram of the Jupiter tail unit.


June 24, 2012:

On a recent trip to Huntsville, I visited the home of aerospace consultant Dave Christensen. Among his many roles in the 1960s Space Race, he was Project Engineer for the Saturn H-1 rocket engine. One of the items in his personal collection is a memo entitled "Saturn H-1 Engine Design Features."

This is an early memo discussing features of the early H-1 engines as well as proposed improvements to the H-1. It even mentions an engine about which I'd never before heard, the H-2.


June 22, 2012:

I uploaded a few J-2 rocket engine photos from Stennis Space Center.


June 19, 2012:

Added a scan of an H-1 rocket engine fact sheet.


June 12, 2012:

Just back from another trip to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, I've got a few minor but interesting updates to several artifacts:


May 28, 2012:

Another update to my vintage KSC photo page: I added a scan from a souvenir booklet of the Vehicle Assembly Building. This photo is interesting in that it shows the Saturn V S-IC-T stage on display alone, without the remaining stages, at a different location than the postcard I uploaded yesterday.


May 27, 2012:

I added a postcard of the Saturn V in the VAB parking lot to my vintage KSC photo page.


May 26, 2012:

What started out as one set of photos tangential to the project I'm working on (or at least trying to work on) has turned into a full-blown project with an H-1 engine theme:


May 14, 2012:

I started a page for vintage Kennedy Space Center photos. So far, I have two old postcards of the Visitor Center.


May 13, 2012:

Today I added photos of the Gemini trainer at Goddard Space Flight Center and some additional photos of Gemini 9 at Kennedy Space Center (primarily heat shield-related photos).


May 5, 2012:

I upgraded several graphics on my MSFC Rocket Garden page, from scans I took during a recent research trip to the University of Alabama at Huntsville archives.


April 28, 2012:

I created a page containing several vintage Michoud Assembly Facility maps.

I also uploaded a few photos of freeway road signs for Slidell, Louisiana, which in the 1960s housed a computing facility used by Michoud and the Mississippi Test Facility (subsequently renamed the Stennis Space Center).


April 16, 2012:

I found out, too late last night to do anything about it, that April 15 was the 60th anniversary of the first flight of the YB-52, the first B-52 bomber to take flight.

To commemorate (late), I've uploaded photos of the B-52D and the B-52G at the Eighth Air Force Museum.

I'll also direct your attention to the the first operational B-52, B-52B 52-711, at the Strategic Air & Space Museum.


April 15, 2012:

The 2007 Saturn/Apollo Reunion.


March 31, 2012:

I added an additional diagram to my F-1 Rocket Engine LOX Dome page.


March 25, 2012:

I uploaded a photo showing a test of the LC-39 water control system prior to the launch of SA-501.


March 23, 2012:

Today would have been Wernher von Braun's 100th birthday.

von Braun is probably best known for the V-2 missile and the Saturn V moon rocket. I've got photos of V-2s at Science Museum Oklahoma and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Surviving Saturn Vs are located at Kennedy Space Center, Space Center Houston, and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

He passed away on June 16, 1977 and is buried at Ivy Hill Cemetery in Alexandria, Virginia.


March 20, 2012:

I added a new photo of an F-1 engine with the twin-elbow LOX dome inlet to my F-1 Major Configuration Change Points page.


March 11, 2012:

Still working on that "snowballed" update.

One thing referenced by that update is a file hosted by a Website no longer on the Internet, so I've updated my companion site with a mirror of the Saturn/Apollo documents formerly available from the Indiana University Department of Computer Science (the former


March 2, 2012:

I've been working on a different update, but it's snowballed into something much larger, and is thus taking much longer.

But, until I'm ready with that, I've updated my "LM 62" Lunar Module model at the National Air & Space Museum with some additional photos I took on my last trip there.

I also updated my LM evolution page with some recently-acquired photos of the LM 62 model, inside a large-scale Saturn V model.


February 15, 2012:

To accompany my F-1 engine G4080 nozzle extension handling fixture at Marshall Space Flight Center, I created an info page with photos and diagrams for the F-1 engine nozzle extension with the G4080 nozzle extension handling fixture.


February 4, 2012:

To accompany my recent F-1 supplement, I uploaded several picture sets from the U.S. Space & Rocket Center:


January 28, 2012:

Another scan from my recent trip to Huntsville, I uploaded what is essentially an informational comic book published by Marshall Space Flight Center called Saturn and Noise, a PR booklet regarding the noise generated by static firing Saturn I first stages in the Static Test Tower.


January 26, 2012:

Back from a recent trip to Huntsville, today I uploaded a gem from the Morea Collection at the archives of the University of Alabama at Huntsville: A small document called the the F-1 Rocket Engine Technical Manual Supplement (R-3896-1A). This supplement documents the formerly-classified gas generator injector, thrust chamber injector, and turbopump.


January 8, 2012:

By special request, I've sorted through and uploaded my remaining photos of the C-47 interior at the Air Zoo.


January 2, 2012 (update #2):

I added a scan of a rocket engine postcard to the Space Orientation Center portion of my Marshall Space Flight Center Rocket Garden page.

Also, I updated my Vintage U.S. Space & Rocket Center Photos page with a postcard showing a model of the Alabama Space & Rocket Center's Rocket Park from the early planning stages.


January 2, 2012:

I uploaded what I believe to be the very first brochure for the Alabama Space and Rocket Center (which was subsequently renamed to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center). To go along with this brochure, I also uploaded a picture set of the Titan II formerly displayed at the USSRC.


January 1, 2012:

With the start of a new year, I archived 2011's news.

It seems that in 2011 I spent more on research and historical documents, rather than uploading photos of artifacts in museums. This isn't any sort of strategic shift, but rather what held my interest long enough to bring a project to completion.

I visited the archives of the University of Alabama at Huntsville several times, taking my laptop and scanner. Many of the items I put online in 2011 came from the archives at UAH.

Some of the original documents I scanned at UAH were already available on the Internet, but of a much lower quality (e.g., the Saturn V Apollo Flight Configuration Saturn V poster -- including the elusive "Sheet 2", a huge Apollo Command Module Main Display -- where all the labels on all of the buttons and switches are clearly readable, and the similarly large Lunar Module Controls and Displays). I also painstakingly restored the famous "Operation Paperclip" photo of the von Braun Rocket Team at Ft. Bliss and made an interactive identification version of this photo.

Something I'd not seen elsewhere on the Internet is my 55-inch-wide Assembly Layout S-IC Stage, Saturn V, an impressive engineering drawing of the Saturn V first stage.

One of my larger research projects included my F-1 Major Configuration Change Points. This started off as a transcript of a memo I found at UAH. I annotated this memo and added many photos illustrating these changes. While several of the photos were ones I'd taken and were already on the site, many of the photos are much rarer, being ones I scanned at the UAH archives or obtained from a Rocketdyne retiree.

I've already got the first road trip of 2012 planned; it includes a stop at the UAH archives, the USSRC, Grissom Memorial, and a stop off at somewhere I've not previously visited, one of the few German-produced V-1s in the U.S.

So, I ended 2011 with 6,055 pictures of relics (an increase of only 470) and 502 supplemental images online (an increase of 247, nearly doubling this number).


January 1, 2011:

With the start of a new year, I archived 2010's news.

2010 saw a number of technical improvements to the site.

Around the beginning of the year, I finished rewriting the software I use to maintain the site. Over the years, I've made several visits to many museums, and I've upgraded my camera between some of those visits. Prior to this rewrite, it wasn't possible to combine the batches of pictures I've taken with different cameras in a single page, because the software only supported a single camera resolution on a given museum page. This forced me to maintain two different data files for each of these museums, and was quite a bother to deal with. But, now I've got all the pictures from each museum residing in a single data file, allowing me to mix-and-match pictures from each trip.

In October, I moved away from "plain-text" info pages. I rolled out a theme loosely-based on the Apollo command and lunar module control panels, making these pages as attractive to look at as they are informative. I hope to modify my software again so I can use this theme on all remaining pages, but that'll be a fair chunk of work.

Another goal in 2010 was to upload at least one picture set from each museum or other venue I've visited. Creating the initial upload for a museum involves a fair amount of overhead, and there'd been times when I wanted to upload a picture set in response to a news event or some forum post, but I couldn't quickly do so because that picture set was part of a museum I'd not yet uploaded. I didn't quite meet that goal – I still have five museums to go – but I'm in a much better position and I hope to get those remaining museums online in the coming weeks.

In the "bragging" portion of this news item, in August I was asked to prepare a version of my S-II stage insulation page for inclusion in NASA's Apollo Flight Journal; it's available via the Journal's home page or at

Finally, in the "vital statistics" portion of this news item, 2010 ended with 5,585 pictures of relics and 255 supplemental images online, an increase of 2,118 and 110, respectively.


January 1, 2010:

With the start of a new year, I archived 2009's news.

The Website continued to grow in 2009. In May I moved away from a "plain text" main page, adding the Mission Control console theme, and splitting the main page into multiple sub-pages.

2009 ended with 3,467 pictures of relics and 145 supplemental pictures online, an increase of 1,779 and 126, respectively. 1,007 of the new relics pictures were added during the nine-day Apollo 11 anniversary.


January 1, 2009:

With the start of a new year, I archived 2008's news.

2008 was quite a year for me, as I'd been talking about starting a Website for several years. I realized that I was never going to be "ready", so I finally just went and did it. 2008 ended with 1688 pictures of relics and 19 supplemental pictures online.

Certainly the highlight of the year came December 22, when collectSPACE ran a feature article (the basis of which was written by Alan Lawrie) about an Apollo 8 F-1 engine I photographed while touring MSFC, and then a day later when a "teaser" version of that same article hit the front page of


August 15, 2008:

Site goes live. "Live" might be too strong of a word for it, as there's nothing here other than a "welcome" page, but at least I do have a presence on the web!


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