Author Topic: Blueprints  (Read 885 times)

Offline Jairo

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Blueprints
« on: March 29, 2022, 09:10:43 AM »
Conspiracists claim the blueprints were destroyed, despite they still existing as microfilm at the Marshall Space Flight Center.

But how exactly did that story appear? It seems it happened more than one time, in the 80s and then in the 90s. Who started it?

Offline JayUtah

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Re: Blueprints
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2022, 09:49:53 AM »
It's really not as cut and dried as that.  When you say "the blueprints," you have to be specific.  Literally tens of thousands of drawings are created as part of building a spaceship.  They don't all end up in the same place.  Some are required to accompany the spacecraft as it is conveyed officially from the contractor to its owner (NASA).  Some are required to be kept by the manufacturer until the spacecraft is decommissioned.  Still others are not strictly required, but are made by the manufacturer for their own purposes.

The perceived historical value of these documents varies, hence a difference in the need to preserve them for posterity.  And these documents are voluminous.  The space required to store them and the cost to reduce them to microform create a situation where practical concerns quickly outpace the historical preservation motive.  So some "blueprints" were indeed destroyed -- especially the ephemeral ones.  Individual fabrication records, for example, become moot as soon as the spaceship is no longer operating.  They have little technical or historical value in and of themselves.  So even though some of us would love to see them, they were not considered worthy of retention and have been destroyed as a matter of routine.

Even for those documents that have historical or technical value, they get scattered all over the country.  As I said, some are collected and retained by the agency, others are kept by the manufacturer.  Nowadays most of those manufacturers have gone through multiple reorganizations, mergers, and acquisitions.  With each generation, institutional memory of those documents -- where they are and what they represent -- gets muddied.  So when people say, "I want to see the Apollo blueprints," there's a lot of shoulder-shrugging.

Where did the accusation start?  Hard to say.  It seems that every author wants to say that "the blueprints were destroyed" and leave it at that.  Usually it's a response to confronting the reality of historical document preservation.  "The blueprints" for the lunar module, for example, were not some concise roll of papers you can just tuck under your arm.  Just the amount of written documentation that had to be sent to NASA for each individual spacecraft filled a railroad boxcar.  So the problem is really with the expectation that if the Apollo "blueprints" actually existed, they would be an easily manageable and carefully-preserved tranche.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline Jairo

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Re: Blueprints
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2022, 08:57:26 AM »
So how much is available and accessible from the Saturn 5?

Offline Obviousman

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Re: Blueprints
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2022, 04:18:09 PM »
So how much is available and accessible from the Saturn 5?

How long is a piece of string? Again, we have to be specific. Let's not forget that the Saturn V was made up of separate sections, often made by different companies.

So how much is available? LOTS! I have blueprints of the stages and spacecraft; overall dimensions, more complex plans showing detailed construction, how spacecraft were painted / coloured, etc. All have been commercially available. I suspect that if you want something more specific then the company that built the kit may have something in their archives but I have often found that the NASA Technical Notes or Reports are a wealth of information.

Let me try and sum up: do we have sufficient blueprints / plans / instructions to build a Saturn V from scratch (and why would we)? No - but what we have can answer most questions about the hardware / software, and we still have physical examples of the equipment. And those have been used to build spacecraft that we DO see in use today.

Cheers!

Offline Jairo

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Re: Blueprints
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2022, 12:10:07 PM »
Thank you. That's pretty much what I expected.

The problem is trying to organize everything as a single piece, as it was conceived by parts.

Offline molesworth

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Re: Blueprints
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2022, 05:30:04 AM »
Thank you. That's pretty much what I expected.

The problem is trying to organize everything as a single piece, as it was conceived by parts.
This is something the deniers can't seem to grasp. There never was a single "set of Saturn V blueprints" that someone could tuck under their arm and toddle off to a workshop to build one. They generally don't have any engineering experience and can't conceive of how a large, multi-partner engineering project would be run.
Days spent at sea are not deducted from one's allotted span - Phoenician proverb

Offline Abaddon

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Re: Blueprints
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2022, 05:27:40 PM »
Well let's see.

Boeing built the first stage.
North American built the second stage.
Douglas built the third stage.
Rocketdyne built the engines.
North American built the CSM.
Grumman built the LM.
Hamilton Standard built the space suits.

That's only seven, right?

Wrong.

Each of those had subcontractors/suppliers providing various subsystems.

In the end, there were tens of thousands of different companies involved.

Offline smartcooky

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Re: Blueprints
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2022, 11:13:16 PM »
Just Looking ONLY at the Saturn V

Boeing - 1st stage (S-IC)
North American - Second stage (S-II), F1 Engines, J2 engines in the 2nd and 3rd stages
Douglas - Third Stage (S-IVB)
Arrowhead - Ducting
Flexonics - Flexible propellant feed lines
Bendix - Guidance components
IBM - Guidance components
Martin Marietta - Helium Bottles
Airesearch Ltd - LOX and Fuel valves
Avco - Component fabrication
Whittaker Controls - LOX and Fuel valves
Progressive Welders - Fabrication and component welding
RCA - Ground computer system
Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory (Calspan) - Rocket base heating research

And this list is not exhaustive. Here's more, from Saturn 1, 1B and V, including some of the above, and some I have never heard of...







 
 



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Offline Count Zero

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Re: Blueprints
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2022, 01:50:28 PM »
In "conspiracy world", The Government gave the contractors blueprints, which they mindlessly built either without noticing they wouldn't work, or not saying anything because all they cared about was a paycheck.  In reality, NASA only started with the desired/required capabilities and the contractors were the ones who produced the specific hardware drawings.  Tom Kelly's memoir about building the LM talks a lot about how big a job it was (and how manpower-intensive) for Grumman to crank-out the drawings that became the basis of fabrication and assembly.
"What makes one step a giant leap is all the steps before."