I'm very proud to note that there are over 800 people here for the Fourth
Annual Saturn/Apollo Reunion. We only had 500 or 600 chairs, so I think
somebody had to use mine.
I feel like the middle-man tonight. I am the chairman the Saturn V Restoration
Committee, and I feel like I'm kind of caught between generations. I'm 58
years old, so I'm just past middle age. [chuckles] We have a couple of the old
guys here, who flew Apollo, did Skylab, and did stuff like that, and then
you've got the young guys, like Halsell and Cook over there, who fly the
shuttle ... [interrupted by Jim Halsell] .. huh? Yeah, I said the "young guys"
[laughter] who fly the shuttle and build the space station. My generation,
when peace broke out, didn't do anything. I was just in the middle -- that's
all there is to it.
Fifth-three years ago, Huntsville, Alabama, underwent a long transformation
from a sleepy little Alabama town that mostly raised cotton to the birthplace
of space travel for this nation. Four years earlier, Redstone Arsenel had been
for sale -- there was a
"for sale" sign on Redstone Arsenel.
In 1950, Dr. Wernher von Braun brought a team of rocket
scientists to Huntsville from Germany that would, in less than two
decades, and with the help of a host of Alabamians from every county, and other
workers from across this great nation totalling somewhere in the neighborhood
of 250,000 to 400,000, depending on where you get your count, would design,
build, test, and launch the vehicle that would take mankind to the moon.
This would be, without a doubt, the most complex and significant technological
achievement the world had seen. In the vernacular of today's Discovery
Channel, this was the world's truly "extreme machine."
Standing taller than a 30-story building, about 360 feet, we are told that the
primary reason the first stage is 33 feet in diameter is because the width
of the door of the building in which it was built at Redstone Arsenel was
35 feet. [laughter] That was no accident, the way it was designed. [laughter]
It launched the Saturn V, which weighed over 6 million pounds, and when fully
fueled it was 7 3/4" shorter than when it was unfueled -- I guess that's like
most of us after we eat, right? [laughter]
Each of those five F-1 engines of the first stage created, as Jim said earlier,
over 1 1/2 million pounds of thrust for a total of 7 1/2 million pounds of
thrust for those 6.5 million pounds. The first stage burned for only 2 1/2
minutes, right under 156 seconds, to achieve an altitude of 38 miles and a
velocity of 5800 miles per hour.
In this 156 seconds, the Saturn V first stage consumed 4 1/2 million pounds of
fuel -- kerosene and liquid oxygen. This is 30,000 pounds of fuel per second,
and therefore each of the five engines was consuming about 6,000 pounds --
about three tons -- of fuel per second. That's awesome.
Buzz Aldrin, my honorary co-chair for the Saturn V Restoration Committee, and
an Apollo 11 astronaut who landed on the moon in 1969, has a PhD from MIT in
physics. He said he once calculated the fuel economy of the Apollo/Saturn V.
It was approximately one gallon per foot. [laughter] That's 5,280 gallons
per mile, or slightly less than two ten-thousands of a mile per gallon.
[laughter] It is the largest, most powerful, most reliable, and most successful
and safe launch vehicle ever built. And today we have the pleasure of
knowing that the world's first Saturn V, that once rested on its side in the
yard out here, has now been moved to its permanent new home in the Davidson
Saturn V Center. [applause]
Those of you who've seen it should recognize it doesn't have its final coat
of paint on it. It didn't just kind of rub right off -- there was a great
cloud of dust out there as the guys got to it in the last few months, and
we're going to repaint it in the building.
But, thanks to the passionate efforts of a large group of dedicated volunteers
and donors, as well as through the large crowd of somewhat aging rocketeers --
rocket boys, rocket girls -- and visitors here tonight, there will soon be
a new, beautiful, identifiable icon on I-565 in Huntsville, Alabama.
My guess is that there's going to be some wrecks out there from people
In its restored condition, and in its new, environmentally controlled facility,
it will forever proclaim Huntsville as the Rocket
City of America and Alabama (as our new Saturn V car
tag says) quote, "First to the Moon and Beyond." By the way, Johnson and Kennedy Space Centers have their restored Saturn Vs and can say
this, too, but only ours can lay claim to the title of the world's first Saturn
V rocket and a National
It was the pinnacle of rocketry achievement in the Space Race with the former
Soviet Union. It was the pride of a great nation that had the will and the
resources to accept such a monumental challenge and excel in its achievement.
But all we know is that the Rocket City never rests. The sky is not the
limit for the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce.
The story continues with the shuttle, International Space Station, and now the
new space exploration challenge to return to the lunar surface in preparation
for a manned mission to Mars.
Thanks so much from a grateful Saturn V Restoration Committee for your
overwhelming support of the project and a very special thanks to Dorothy and
Julian Davidson. Please stand. [applause]
Please accept our heart-felt thanks. We are so proud and honored to thank you
for making a contribution to our Saturn V restoration project.
I now am pleased to introduce our next speaker, Mr. Jim Halsell. Jim is a
distinguished Air Force pilot, an Academy graduate, and has logged over 1,250
hours in space. He has piloted three shuttle flights and has commanded an
additional two flights [his NASA bio
states that he actually piloted two and commanded three flights]. Halsell was
also served as NASA Director of Operations at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut
Training Center, Star City, Russia prior to a position of Manager of Shuttle
Launch Integration and Space Flight, Halsell now resides here in Huntsville and
is currently Vice President and Program Manager of the Ares Upper Stage at ATK Systems.
Ladies and gentlemen, Jim Halsell.