Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Saturn V holddowns

The question often comes up, "What held the weight of the Saturn V as it rested on the pad?" 

The answer is that the Saturn V rested upon four hold-downs anchored into the walls of the flame opening on the pad. Seen in the above photo- indicated by the arrows- these four pads were actually an integrated part of the overall hold down mechanism.

Keep in mind that the Saturn V, without the apollo spacecraft stacked upon it weighed in total just over 510,000 pounds. Yep- that's all... so it could easily rest and be transported to the pad sitting on the hold down pads. The more than 6,000,000 pounds of weight at liftoff was made up mostly of propellants.

Get the more on the Saturn V HERE!

The hold down itself, most of which was constructed above the pads shown earlier, clamped into the base S-IC stage's's lower ring and due to the simple law of inertia was more than enough to hold the vehicle against the thrust of it's F-1 engines as it built up to full power.

When the launch sequencer gave the command to release the vehicle, the clamps raised (the dotted line position seen above) and allowed the vehicle to move that first millimeter and begin trading inertia so it could lift off. 
Get the whole series HERE

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