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From: (Henry Spencer)
Subject: Re: Apollo: NOVA booster
Date: Tue, 5 Jan 1999 16:28:12 GMT

In article <76shde$>,
Damon Hill <> wrote:
>>have been caused by an actual eight engined (F-1) NOVA?  What would have
>>been the impact (environmental and human as well as structrual) to the
>>area with each launch?
>The only thing worse I could imagine is a Saturn V >failing< on the launch

Could be worse.  LC-39 was laid out with possible failures in mind, of
course, but one thing that hadn't occurred to the site designers was that
a five-engine rocket could have significant engine-out capability.  This
may not sound worrisome, but combine that with the fact that the Saturn V
first stage did not use closed-loop guidance -- it just followed a
preprogrammed tilt schedule, rather than trying to maintain a specific
trajectory -- and problems appear, because that means that the thing
drifts sideways if an engine fails.  Plus, of course, it climbs more
slowly with one engine gone.  As a result, the ground path of the
theoretical impact point was described as "quite a strange curve".  And if
it happened to be engine #3 that failed, the strange curve passed quite
close to the VAB... meaning that the VAB would be within the debris
footprint if the thing then had to be destroyed for some reason (e.g.,
another engine died).
The good old days                   |  Henry Spencer
weren't.                            |      (aka

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