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Richard C. Roberts papers on Saturn V Component Testing

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSA 299

Scope and Contents

The Richard C. Roberts papers on Saturn V Component Testing 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.


  • 1957 - 1981


Language of Materials

Collection material is in English.

Access Information

The collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Copyright for portions of the material in this collection is held by NASA, Marshall Space Flight Center. Other material copyrights held by Purdue University or original creator. Consult with Purdue University Archives and Special Collections prior to reproduction of materials.

Biographical Information

Richard C. Roberts graduated from Purdue University in 1964 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. Following graduation, he was employed by Brown Engineering Company at George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. His position entailed component testing for Saturn V.


0.363 Cubic Feet (One letter-size half-width manuscript box)


The items have been arranged in chronological order.

Acquisition Information

Collection donated by Richard C. Roberts, October 10, 2014.

Processing Information

All materials have been housed in acid-free folders and acid-free boxes. The photographs have been placed in polyester sleeves for preservation purposes.
Richard C. Roberts papers on Saturn V Component Testing
Mary A. Sego
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Edition statement
Second edition. Collection description first completed 2017-07-03.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States