Tag Archives: Apollo 4

An engineer describes how he and four other engineers debugged a fully fueled Saturn 5 rocket while it was the launchpad.

An engineer describes how he and four other engineers debugged a fully fueled Saturn 5 rocket while it was the launchpad.

The Saturn V was more noisy and ghostly than I had ever expected and it had grown much taller and certainly more threatening since last week. The venting fuel made loud hissing sounds when relief valves popped or opened up suddenly. It was very easy to let your imagination infect your brain. This is a very dangerous place and everything seems to be moving in the heavy foggy mist. There was no way to talk to each other, heck, we could barely see each other and…we hadn’t thought of this problem so we held onto each others yellow protective clothing like kindergartners crossing the street. We all wore safety helmets but they just did not make you feel like you were really safe.

This was also the first test launch of the Saturn 5, so the unknowns were significantly magnified.