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Saturn V S-II (Second) Stage

The Saturn V's S-II stage was located in the museum's Rocket Park from June 28, 1969 (the day it was transferred from Marshall Space Flight Center) until July 13, 2007 (the day it was moved into the Davidson Center for Space Exploration).

This particular S-II stage is the S-II-F/D stage, which was initially used for facilities checkout (as part of the AS-500F vehicle; see NASA's Moonport: A History of Apollo Launch Facilities and Operations, especially Chapter 15-4 and Chapter 15-8 and subsequent).

The S-II program was beset with problems and delays. NASA had planned on North American making an S-II stage, S-II-D, for dynamic testing but the order for that stage was cancelled in early 1965 in favor of using the structural static test stage, S-II-S, as a combined static/dynamic test stage; that stage was renamed to S-II-S/D. Unfortunately, the S-II-S/D stage was destroyed during testing, leaving S-II-F to take on the added role of dynamic testing and being redesignated as S-II-F/D.

As a testing stage, this stage differs from flight stages in a number of ways. This stage has no liquid hydrogen feed lines which would ordinarily be routed around the LOX tank, down the thrust structure, and to the engines. Similarly, there are no LOX feed lines, which would ordinarily go from the LOX sump at the center of the aft LOX tank bulkhead to the engines (the stage is equipped with mass simulators in place of the LOX feed lines).

Additionally, as an early stage, S-II-F/D has honeycomb insulation, rather than the spray-on insulation that later flight stages sported. Additionally, as a test stage, this honeycomb insulation was only 0.8 inches thick; the thickness of the insulation was increased to 1.6" for flight stages (see my page on S-II insulation).

It's hard to believe, but I only saw the Saturn V in the Rocket Park over the course of three summers (2002-2004) before restoration work began and the rocket was subsequently relocated. These photos were taken before I really planned out the photos I took, leaving me to add method to the madness after the fact and trying to arrange the photos in a logical presentation.

I have so many pictures of the Saturn V in the Rocket Park that I divided them by stages: the S-IC (first) stage, the S-II (second) stage, the S-IVB (third) stage, and the Command/Service Module (CSM) and Spacecraft Lunar Module Adapter (SLA). I also have some overall shots of the Saturn V in the Rocket Park as well.

I additionally have photos of this stage in its current home in the Davidson Center, as well as photos from 2005 through 2007 as the stage was undergoing restoration and relocation.

This stage is Smithsonian catalog #A19750676000.

Also see my S-II-related resources.

 
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