The Saturn V... Feb 7, 2006 6:52:00 GMT -6
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Feb 7, 2006 6:52:00 GMT -6
Universe Today review:
As rockets go, the Saturn V will remain as the champion of its century. A concerted engineering effort brought theory into the hard cold realm of facts, figures and data sheets. Alan Lawrie and Robert Godwin in their book Saturn V go back to the testing phase of these leviathans and recall the glories when modules passed tests or the tragedies of failures. For behind the roar and the flame of the rocket's exhaust, were countless validations and verifications that ensured this man-rated rocket performed 'nominally'.
The Saturn V richly deserves the many superlatives heaped upon it. The most apt is it being described as nearly 6 million pounds of explosive fuel waiting for a match to set it alight. Striking as this sounds, it was the control of the resulting exothermic reactions that gently pushed man and machine into the space age. However, where the car industry could continually make corrections to correct design flaws, these rockets had to perform nearly flawlessly every time. This ensured the safety of the people and the achievement of the assigned mission. As well, these rockets were at the centre of a race between nations, thus there was an impassioned need to build, test and use them as quickly as possible. Thus, judicious testing ensured that each Saturn V rocket was ready to perform when called upon.
Accompanying this book's sound review is an excellent potpourri of photographs, videos and historical documents. The book has a centre section with many colour plates of test firings, stage construction or simple transportation. Black and white pictographs are sprinkled throughout the text. The videos and support documentation are in the enclosed DVD. One can easily enjoy the sonic reverberations kicking through the speakers when viewing really close up images of the engine tests!
Though the book is large, the manufacturing and test record pages are a bit less than half. The remainder are reprints of two historical NASA publications, the Saturn V News Reference and the Saturn V Payload Planner's Guide. Both these documentations provide background information. The first provides a ready review of the details of the Saturn V's design, while the later is a marketing brochure that advertises the rockets capabilities, in the unfulfilled hope that many more would be built. By adding these, the book becomes an excellent reference for Saturn V enthusiasts as well as those interested in engineering test programs or large equipment handling and manufacturing.
Though the Saturn was a rocket, it was also a system. Millions of individual pieces, each serving their own function, had to operate in unison. Alan Lawrie and Robert Godwin in their book Saturn V recover all the manufacturing steps and test results that together gave the confidence to the engineers to say that this system was worthy to send a human on a journey into space.
Full review here: www.universetoday.com/am/publish/book_review_saturn_v.html?522006
Here is a book on my list to read, and the DVD just clinches it...