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The Force

In 2009 (about 18 months after the Davidson Center opened) the USSRC installed a major exhibit called "The Force". In addition to extensive new signage for their four Saturn engines (F-1, J-2, H-1, and RL-10), it features an interactive exhibit documenting the first five-engine test fire of the S-IC stage in Marshall Space Flight Center's S-IC Test Stand.

The appearance of interactive exhibit itself is inspired by the S-IC Test Stand, with "concrete" pillar leg (complete with simulated rust stains from drain pipe). The area inside the exhibit (under the F-1 rocket engine) is shaped like a test stand's flame deflector. Multiple video monitors tell of the importance of five-engine test to the moon landing program.

As the countdown reaches zero, the floor of the "flame deflector" shakes and lights simulate the effects of the F-1 engine's exhaust. The sound track mentions that the narrator can feel his pants legs fluttering from the force of the exhaust. Although I don't recall ever experiencing this, I noticed several rows of holes along the bottom of the flame bucket, as if there should be a blower fan to flutter visitors' pants legs as well.

I happened to visit twice within a short period of time, just as the contractor was completing the exhibit and then 8 days later during the ribbon cutting ceremony.

I spoke with Clif Broderick, the USSRC's COO at the time, and he told me that they used the same molds as were used to create the F-1 engine mockups on the Saturn V replica, but that they didn't expect that they'd be able to make any more due to the age of the molds (the Saturn V replica was installed in time for the 30th anniversary of the moon landing in 1999) and from the effects of the molds being stored outdoors.

As of now, I have not yet sorted through all of my pictures of The Force, but some other page references this location. Thus, this is a "place holder" version right now, with only the pictures actually referenced. Come back some time later to see if I've finished up, or drop me an email to request me to prioritize the rest of these pictures.

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