Skip to main content

Richard C. Roberts papers on Saturn V Component Testing

 Collection — Box: Box 1
Identifier: MSA 299
The Richard C. Roberts papers on Saturn V Component Testing (1964-1981, 0.20 cubic feet) document Roberts’ work on the Saturn V vehicle. The collection includes two test reports on components of the Saturn V vehicle. The reports were written by Richard C. Roberts, while he worked for the Brown Engineering Company at the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. In an e-mail to the Archives’ staff, Richard Roberts noted, “Flex Hose Cycle Test, was a qualification test for 6” and 8” diameter flexible hoses that delivered the oxidizer propellants, liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, to the Saturn V fuel tanks while on the launch pad.  During the test, liquid nitrogen was used to provide the -300 degree temperatures.” “Plan for Conducting Structural Qualification Test on the S-II-1 Thrust Structure Configuration Test 404, was also a qualification test that applied actual calculated loads by hydraulic cylinders to the thrust structure, or engine mounts, and measured the displacements and strains to the structure.”  This test program was very extensive and took seven months to design and build the test fixture and complete the tests.  Roberts spent two months compiling and writing this test report. He had a lot of help from other NASA departments during the test project. “The test was considered a total success, as nothing failed at 140% limit loads.” Roberts also states in the e-mail, “During the launch of Apollo 13, after the S-IC first stage had burned out and separated normally, the center J-2 engine of the S-II second stage shut down two minutes early, causing the remaining four engines to automatically vector and continue the launch. This problem had nothing to do with the subsequent explosion in the Service Module that aborted the moon landing.” Included with the reports are detailed 8” x 10” photographs (color and black and white) of the two test projects. Also included is a NASA publication, Saturn Illustrated Chronology: April 1957-June 1964, published by the Marshall Space Flight Center, August 10, 1964. Types of materials include: reports, photographs and publications.


  • 1964-1981
  • Other: Date acquired: 10/10/2014


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

NASA, Marshall Space Flight Center


0.20 Cubic Feet

1 mss._boxes


Two engineering test reports with related 8” x 10” photographs and one NASA publication; Saturn Illustrated Chronology, documenting Richard C. Roberts’ component testing on Saturn V.

Source of Acquisition

Donated by Richard C. Roberts, October 10, 2014.

Existence and Location of Originals

multi-part note content

Related Materials

Paul Roscoe collection of astronaut photographs:

Processing Information

All materials have been housed in polyester sleeves, acid-free folders, and acid-free boxes.  Items have been placed in chronological order.
Richard C. Roberts papers on Saturn V Component Testing
Mary A. Sego
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 W. State Street
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States