Saturn 1-B Hold Down Arm - Kennedy Space Center
N 28° 31.413 W 080° 41.004
17R E 530977 N 3155241
Quick Description: This plaque is located in the Rocket Garden at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center.
Location: Florida, United States
Date Posted: 4/10/2010 5:36:16 PM
Waymark Code: WM8JMK
Saturn 1-B Hold Down Arm
Getting History Off The Ground
No one has ever counted the number of technical challenges we needed to overcome in the first infant days of America's space program. Many of the early rockets would lift just a few feet off their launch platforms before falling back n an explosion of fuel.
As obvious as it seems now, these early failures demonstrated the need to hold the bigger rockets on the platform until the liquid fuel engines could built up enough thrust to safety lift off.
This Hold Down Arm is one of the eight devices--one under each of the Saturn 1-B's fins--that held the giant rocket in place during these critical seconds. The entire weight of the rocket was supported by the Hold Down Arms and secured by the hooks (painted yellow for easy indentification)
An explosive release device in each arm was electrically activated when maximum thrust was archieved. The arms served also to hold the rocket in place during transport to the launch pad and in high wind conditions.