Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center

Summary: Jason Perlow goes to NASA's Kennedy Space Center during vacation.

TOPICS: Nasa / Space

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  • This is the rear end of the Saturn V Rocket's primary ascent stage. There are five Rocketdyne F-1 RP1 kerosene-fueled rocket engines here. Each F-1 can produce 1,522,000 of thrust. The F-1 was the most powerful rocket engine ever used in service.

  • The Saturn V Stage I. The enormity of this rocket is difficult to depict in this photo. The most complex machine man has ever produced, it was 363 feet high, and took men to the moon.

  • This is the rear end of the Saturn V Rocket's secondary booster stage. There are 5 J-2 hydrogen-fueled rocket engines here. There is a single J-2 on the third stage of the rocket, which was used to push the command module and Apollo capsule out of earth orbit. Each J-2 can produce 250,000lbs of thrust. Interestingly, an advanced version of the J-2 will replace the Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs) that were going to be re-purposed for the Constellation/Ares program. Why the J-2? It's less than half the price of an SSME, which was designed to be re-usable. The J-2X variant will produce 294,000lbs of thrust, and the Ares booster will only be carrying one for it's Earth Departure Stage on the Ares I manned rocket -- just like the third stage of the Saturn V. For primary ascent the Ares I will use an updated version of the Space Shuttle Solid rocket booster (SRB). The main boost stage on the heavy-lift Ares V variant for moving large cargo items into space will use five RS-68 engines, which are used on the Delta-IV unmanned rockets, and will also use the J-2X on it's Earth Departure Stage.

Topic: Nasa / Space


Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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  • Hasn't Changed Much...

    I visited here in the 80's as a child. Some of these exhibits look nearly the same as they did back then.

    I still have pictures next to the moon rover...
  • RE: Kennedy Space Center Visitors Center (Kennedy Space Center)

    Maturing memories there providing electro-chemical primary power supplies in support of Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Lunar Rover, Skylab and the Shuttle Orbiter. A privilege to be one of those committed many; may this experience be expanded and pursued for all mankind's well being.
  • NASA ?

    NASA - that's the official Chicken Little Science agency where the spokespeople say the sky is falling, and argue that anyone who disagrees with them should be arrested? (I am not making this up, google hansen and global warming).

    A lot different agency than in my younger days...

  • Whoops

    Jason, your caption for the Saturn V stage 1 photo is inaccurate. Stage 1 did not use five J-2 engines, it used five F-1 engines. The F-1 produced 1,522,000 pounds of thrust, and burned RP-1 (a form of kerosene) and liquid oxygen. Your caption more accurately describes the second stage, which used five J-2 engines.
    • Thanks.

      I'll fix it.
  • Brain Fart

    Forgot about the big F-1s. I added another slide for the Stage II.

    I guess they figured that the F-1 was too damn expensive to use on the Ares compared to the RS-68, with the specialized fuel and all.