Saturn V dynamic test stand

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Saturn V dynamic test stand
SA-500D in Dynamic Test Stand Configuration I.jpg
SA-500D is erected inside the dynamic test stand for configuration I testing, December, 1966.
Saturn V dynamic test stand is located in Huntsville, Alabama
Saturn V dynamic test stand
Saturn V dynamic test stand is located in Alabama
Saturn V dynamic test stand
Saturn V dynamic test stand is located in the United States
Saturn V dynamic test stand
LocationHuntsville, Alabama
Coordinates34°37′50.97″N 86°39′40.13″W / 34.6308250°N 86.6611472°W / 34.6308250; -86.6611472Coordinates: 34°37′50.97″N 86°39′40.13″W / 34.6308250°N 86.6611472°W / 34.6308250; -86.6611472
Arealess than one acre
Built1964 (1964)
ArchitectHeinz Hilten[1] of NASA
NRHP reference No.85002806
Significant dates
Added to NRHPOctober 3, 1985[2]
Designated NHLOctober 3, 1985[3]

Saturn V dynamic test stand, also known as dynamic structural test facility,[4] at the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama is the test stand used for testing of the Saturn V rocket and the Space Shuttle prior to the vehicles' first flights. Designated building 4550,[5] it stands 363 feet (111 m) tall and is 98 feet (30 m) square.[6] Its central bay has maximum dimensions of 74 by 74 feet (23 m × 23 m), and it is topped by a derrick capable of moving 200-ton objects in a 70-foot (21 m) radius. An elevator provides access to 15 levels in the structure, and a cable tunnel connects the building to control facilities in the space center's East Test Area.[5]

NASA built the test stand in 1964 to conduct mechanical and vibrational tests on the fully assembled Saturn V rocket. Major problems capable of causing failure of the vehicle were discovered and corrected here.[3] The new building was so tall that in 1966 when the Saturn V first stage was entering, an observer noted, "Fog and clouds hovered around the top of the 360 foot (110 m) tall test stand most of the day while the 300,000 pounds (140,000 kg) stage was being lifted from its transporter into place inside the stand, said to be the tallest building in Alabama."[7] The stand was used to test how spacecraft behaved when put under vibrating and bending stresses, and to test the connections between major stages of the craft.[5]

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1985 for its role in the Saturn V program.[3][5]

In addition to the Saturn V dynamic test vehicle, designated SA-500D, two Space Shuttle test vehicles, Pathfinder and Enterprise, were also tested in this facility.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Spires, Shelby (April 30, 2009). "Architect for rocket team hits a century". The Huntsville Times. Retrieved February 12, 2011.
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  3. ^ a b c "Saturn V Dynamic Test Stand". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2007-07-28. Retrieved 2007-10-25.
  4. ^ Man in space: study of alternatives. United States National Park Service. 1987. p. 26. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d Butowsky, Harry A. (May 15, 1984). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Saturn V Dynamic Test Stand" (pdf). National Park Service. Cite journal requires |journal= (help) and Accompanying 9 photos, exterior and interior, from 1971, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1982, and 1984. (2.30 MB)
  6. ^ "Saturn V Press Kit: Chapter 9 - Facilities". NASA. Archived from the original on November 6, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2011.
  7. ^ "Dynamics S-IC Moved (photo caption)". Marshall Star. MSFC. January 19, 1966. p. 8. quoted in Wright, Mike. "Three Saturn Vs on Display Teach Lessons in Space History". Marshall Space Flight Center History Office. Retrieved 10 February 2011.

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