Could engineering secrets pulled from the powerful F-1 engine help power NASA’s future human space flight ambitions?
Photo Credit: Jason Rhian / AmericaSpace


Here is an expanded view of the 130-ton cargo version of NASA’s Space Launch System.
Image Credit: NASA

NASA to Resurrect Venerable F-1 Engine?

By Jason Rhian

Five massive F-1 engines powered each Saturn V rocket into its place in history. These massive engines were instrumental in allowing NASA to win the race to the Moon and are now poised to make a comeback—in a major way.

A team of engineers working at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. are studying the venerable F-1 for possible use in NASA’s new heavy-lift Space Launch System, or “SLS.”

Engineers from a wide range of disciplines have broken down components of the monster engine and refurbished them. The secrets gleaned from the engineers’ efforts will be put to use in NASA’s plans to send crews far beyond the orbit of Earth. It is hoped that lessons learned from the F-1 will give rise to advanced and innovative designs.

Researchers dismantled the F-1’s gas generator, which supplies power to the F-1’s turbopump. The gas generator is one of the first components of a rocket’s engine that is designed. The size of the gas generator often dictates the general size of the engine itself.

NASA’s requirements are hefty ones. The space agency’s SLS rocket will need to be capable of hefting 130-metric-ton (143-ton) payloads into orbit.

Read more: NASA to Resurrect Venerable F-1 Engine? « AmericaSpace.

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