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Old July 10 2013, 05:20 PM   #3220
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Location: Huntsville, AL, USA

I got to take a tour of the S-IC Test Stand yesterday (not a public tour, it was arranged by a coworker)! It's the test stand they used here at Marshall Space Flight Center to test the first stage of the Saturn V rocket. In other words, five massive F-1 engines all firing at once! It's also been used to test the Space Shuttle's main engines among other things. This massive structure stands about 25 stories tall, making it the second tallest structure on the arsenal. (The tallest is the Dynamic Test Stand, used to shake the entire Saturn V stack.) It was very cool being able to go up this structure, although my fear of heights was working overtime! (Oddly enough, I'm just fine in an airplane.) We went up on the main deck just above the flame diverter, then up on top of one of the concrete pillars, and finally all the way to the top. Although I only made it ~24 stories up, just shy of the top. That's because after you exit the elevator and go up a flight of steps, you then go outside the structure onto a narrow catwalk/stairway that's just a metal grating to get to the top, and you can look straight down between your feet all the way down to the ground. Yeah, I'm happy with my sense of self-preservation.

I found a video of the Saturn V engine tests here:

And on this page ( ), scroll down to Neg #: 6520222.jpg and Neg #: 6647425 for some pictures of them loading and testing the Saturn V.

Loooong way up...

I can see my house from here! No really, it's just over my left shoulder, about 15 miles away. That's the Dynamic Test Stand over my right shoulder.
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