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Fourth Annual Saturn/Apollo Reunion (2007) Gallery

Steve Cook

Here are the remainder of Steve Cook's remarks:

Now let's talk about the hardware, because this is about building launch vehicles, building spacecraft, because that's what we're about, and that's where we need to go. Behind me you can see the Ares I on the right and the Ares V on the left.

Ares is the Greek name for the god of Mars, and that is our goal. Because our goal is to get to Mars. It's not just to go to the moon. It is to go to the moon, to establish a long-term presence, learn how to operate, and then to move beyond.

In Apollo, we designed one launch vehicle, in the end, the Saturn V, to be able to take everything we needed to take to the moon. The approach we're taking today is two launch vehicles: Ares I will take up the crew and Ares V will take up the lander and the cargo systems that we need to do it.

Let's talk about size. Size is important. Of course, we started with the Saturn IB. The Saturn IB, which is the most equivalent to what we are talking about with the Ares I, was 224 feet tall and weighed 1.3 million pounds on the pad. The Ares I will be 328 feet tall and weigh 2 million pounds on the pad. That's because Mr. Halsell's first stage over here, which is derived from the shuttle SRB, weighs so much. [laughter] If we could get a little weight reduction going there, Jim, and we'd be even better. [more laughter]

Now let's go on to the mighty cargo vehicle, the Saturn V. The Saturn V was 364 feet long; that was before the cryo shrinkage there. The Ares V will be almost as long, 362 feet long. The Saturn V weighed 6.6 million pounds sitting on the pad. The Ares V will weigh 7.3 million pounds. This will be the largest liquid-fueled stage, the most powerful rocket, that we will have ever built.

Now, as far as similarities go, the Saturn V, as you know, was 33 feet in diameter. The Ares V will also be the same diameter, and that's by no accident -- that is the largest-diameter stage that we can build in the Michoud Assembly Facility down in New Orleans. That is the same place the Saturn V was built, the first stage, the S-IC. That is where we build the external tank today, and that is where we will build the Ares I upper stage, and that is where we will build the Ares V core stage, and the Ares V earth departure stage. That was actually sized for liberty ships in World War II even before that. So, it's interesting where these size issues come along.

As far as propulsion goes: The Saturn IB was powered by eight H-1 LOX/kerosene engines and it had a one J-2 upper stage, and had 1.5 million pounds of thrust off the pad. The Ares I will use a solid rocket booster derived from the shuttle that we use today. It will have 3 1/2 million pounds of thrust off the pad. The astronauts will know that they are lifting off when they take off the pad. [laughter] One very key similarity, though, is when you look out here at the Saturn V laying there on its side in the Davidson Center or standing up and you see the S-IVB stage, that is very similar to the upper stage behind me over here on the Ares I. It is also powered by a derivative of the J-2 engine, what we call a J-2X, to be powered by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Engines that they're building today.

So, we're taking the best of shuttle, best of Apollo, bringing them with modern capabilities and technologies, and moving on with the engines. Again, taking pages out of the playbooks of the past.

Now, we'll talk about the Ares V, which is our heavy-lift vehicle. The Saturn V had 7 1/2 million pounds of thrust at launch; we've got to out-do that! We will have 10 1/2 million pounds of thrust at launch. We knew that the Saturn V blew out windows all over south Huntsville. How many of you had windows that shattered in south Huntsville? Raise your hands. [chuckles]

Well, unfortunately, we can't test those here in town any more. [laughter] But we think some folks in south Mississippi [heroicrelics: presumably near Stennis Space Center] might have that problem. [laughter]

This thrust blast is actually -- how many remember the Nova? Remember the Nova? That was von Braun's dream to go beyond the Saturn V. This actually puts the Ares V in the world of Nova class. Whereas the Saturn V could throw 100,000 pounds into lunar orbit, which is what its key measure was, the Ares V, in combination with the Ares I, can throw 33% more, 133,000 pounds. That additional capability allows us to take additional crew to the lunar surface. Where we could only take two in Apollo, we will be able to take four. Where we were only able to stay for a few days at a time, we will go and stay for seven days at a time. Where we could only go to the mid-equatorial regions, we will be able to go anywhere we want to go on the lunar surface and return any time from our stay. Because the point now isn't just to go and beat someone, the point is to go, to stay, to learn, and then to move on to Mars and beyond.

Let's talk about the spacecraft: The Apollo spacecraft was 13 feet in diameter and had a volume of 210 feet. The Orion is 16 1/2 feet in diameter and has a volume of almost 400 cubic feet; that is 80% more. So, John Young keeps reminding all these astronauts, "You've got way too much room! You don't need anywhere near that much room." [laughter] And we're only carrying one more crew member. Because our goal here is to be able to take four crew to the lunar surface. Now, we will also be able to ferry up to six astronauts, however, to the International Space Station, because, in the interim, we're going to be able to take crews to the International Space Station because we will have an orbiting laboratory which is a direct descendent, obviously, of Skylab and the lessons learned there and to be able to go to the moon. So, this will be a much more robust program than what we were able to do then.

And, in terms of astronauts, obviously a key difference was, Apollo was all male, and now we obviously have male and female crew that are going.

And in the end, when Apollo ended, we stopped exploring past our world. We turned our focus on the Earth, and we focused on developing a space transportation system which was to, we hoped, develop routine transportation to and from lower Earth orbit. It turned out to be a much bigger challenge than we anticipated. It is, out this side door right here [gesturing toward the Shuttle Pathfinder in the plaza behind and outside the stage], a technological marvel known to man today. It is a great machine, but now it is time to turn our focus again outward and to get on with exploring, pick up where we left off 38 years ago, and move on back to the moon and to Mars.

So I'd like to end, returning to the similarities between Apollo and Constellation, then as now, many people ask -- and I'm sure you get this question as well -- "Why are we spending money on space when there are so many more important things we can do right here on Earth?" I get this question quite frequently, and I'm sure you do as well.

In the end, much like physics has not changed much since then 1960s, amazingly so, so have the answers to this question. In 1970, Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger, Associate Director of Marshall Space Flight Center, received a letter from a nun doing relief work for the poor in Africa asking this question. He wrote back in length.

He began his letter, relating a story about a small town in Germany which was ruled by benign count who gave a large part of his income to the poor. He was much appreciated because of the poverty and epidemics of plague which ravaged his country during those times.

One day he met a strange man who ground small lenses from pieces of glass, mounted the lenses in tubes, and used these "gadgets" to see very small objects. He invited the man to move his laboratory into his castle, become a member of his household, and continue his work.

The townspeople became very angry and thought he was wasting his money. The count replied, "I'll give you as much as I can afford, but I will also support this man and his work because I know that some day something good will come of it."

Something good did come out of his work: the microscope, an invention that made major contributions to the progress of medicine and helped in ending the plague. The count, by using some of his spending money for research and discovery, contributed far more to the relief of human suffering than he could have contributed by giving all that he could directly to his community.

Stuhlinger concluded his story by saying, "The situation we are facing is similar in many respects."

He would be right in 1970 and he would be right today. If anything, the reasons for exploring space have become even more urgent today than they were more than 40 years ago. We are losing our technological edge because we are losing our capabilities to produce scientists and engineers in this country in drastic numbers today. Space exploration is considered the ability to be a world leader. If we do not continue to take up the mantle of space exploration, other countries will do so. The Chinese are doing so today, and the Indians are not far behind. The Europeans and Russians are already there. We must continue to do so.

Space still represents the ultimate frontier for learning and testing of our knowledge. It provides a means for improving and developing our technology. It helps to inspire, education, and improve the skills of our next generation of explorers and our workforce, and going into space does improve life here on Earth by making us try to do new and difficult things. And, as I remind my friends, every dollar spent on space is spent here on Earth.

Again, I appreciate the opportunity to be with you here this evening on this great, eventful occasion, to honor the past and think about the future and the great work the men and women have accomplished here in this town, and we will accomplish in the future.

Thank you very much.

Larry Capps concluded the evening:

It's been a great week in Huntsville, Alabama. [applause]

Again, I want to thank all of you for being here this evening. You have made my week, and I'm sure you have made the week for a lot of my staff and for a number of other people here in Huntsville.

And, speaking of my staff, I'd like to give them all a round of applause.

He then announced that Saturn/Apollo team members should report for the taking of the traditional reunion photo and that there would be a fireworks display in the west parking lot.

Steve Cook speaking at the Fourth Annual Saturn/Apollo Reunion (2007) at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.
Time picture taken Fri Jul 13 19:54:24 2007
File name dsc39661.jpg
Location picture taken Space Camp Cafeteria
US Space & Rocket Center
Huntsville, AL
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