You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

U.S.

  • Engineer vital to moon landing success dies
    SCARBOROUGH, Maine – John C. Houbolt, an engineer whose contributions to the U.S. space program were vital to NASA’s successful moon landing in 1969, has died. He was 95.
  • Documents detail GM delays in another recall
    General Motors waited years to recall nearly 335,000 Saturn Ions for power steering failures despite getting thousands of consumer complaints and more than 30,000 warranty repair claims, according to government documents released Saturday.
  • Snowy owl hurt in DC released after healing
    A rare snowy owl that was apparently hit by a bus in the nation’s capital flew back into the wild on Saturday, after weeks of rehab in Minnesota and procedures to replace its flight feathers.
Advertisement
Associated Press
An F-1 engine gas generator is tested at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., on Thursday. It was the last of 11 tests.

NASA tests vintage Apollo rocket with eye on future

– A vintage rocket engine built to blast the first U.S. lunar mission into Earth’s orbit more than 40 years ago is again rumbling across the Southern landscape.

The engine, No. F-6049 to NASA engineers, was supposed to help propel Apollo 11 into orbit in 1969, when NASA sent Neil Armstrong and two other astronauts to the moon for the first time. The flight went off without a hitch, but no thanks to the engine – it was grounded because of a glitch during a test in Mississippi and later sent to the Smithsonian Institution, where it sat for years.

Now, young engineers who weren’t even born when Armstrong took his one small step are using the bell-shaped motor in tests to determine if technology from Apollo’s reliable Saturn V design can be improved for the next generation of U.S. missions back to the moon and beyond by the 2020s.

They’re learning to work with technical systems and propellants not used since before the start of the space shuttle program, which first launched in 1981.

Engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center on Thursday completed a series of 11 test-firings of the F-6049’s gas generator, a jet-like rocket that produces 30,000 pounds of thrust and was used as a starter for the engine. They are trying to see whether a second-generation version of the Apollo engine could produce even more thrust and be operated with a throttle for deep-space exploration.

There are no plans to send the old engine into space, but it could become a template for a new generation of motors incorporating parts of its design.

In NASA-speak, the old 18-foot-tall motor is called an F-1 engine. During moon missions, five of them were arranged at the base of the 363-foot-tall Saturn V system and fired together to power the rocket off the ground toward Earth orbit.

Advertisement