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NASA Contractors Censoring Saturn V Info 583

Posted by kdawson
from the should-never-have-released-those-pr-stills dept.
cybrpnk2 writes "Get ready to surrender your data sheets, study reports and blueprints of the Saturn V to stay in compliance with ITAR. Armed guards are reportedly taking down and shredding old Saturn V posters from KSC office walls that show rough internal layouts of the vehicle, and a Web site that is a source for various digitized blueprints has been put on notice it may well be next. No word yet if the assignment of a Karl Rove protege high up in NASA has any connection."
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NASA Contractors Censoring Saturn V Info

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  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday July 30, 2007 @05:44AM (#20040121)
    After all, space has been opened for the enterprising public, maybe NASA wants to keep their edge in rocket development.

    Tells you something about R&D if that 'edge' is 40+ years old...
  • WTF is happening? First it was the availability of mobile coverage that was secretized, and now Saturn V?
    For fu&k's sake, its Saturn V !!! Not the plans to latest Anti-Gravity Cavorite
    And secondly, it has been available in school/college libraries for a long time now?
    So will the SS take down http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_Vtoo [wikipedia.org] ?
    I guess if Rove & Co were living in ancient ages, they would have made sure that any reference to catapults were removed from Library of Alexandria?

    How do you re-secreti
    • by Pad-Lok (831143) <jouni.karlsson@sci . f i> on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:08AM (#20040203)
      "Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. Please search for Saturn Vtoo in Wikipedia to check for alternative titles or spellings."

      They sure were fast on that one!
    • by jamstar7 (694492) on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:10AM (#20040215)

      How do you re-secretize something that is in Public Domain???

      By invoking National Security, of course.

      But then, if you posted someplace that NeoCons are total whackjobs that need massive amounts of medication to make them sane again, you're likely to get arrested for revealing state secrets...

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        NEWS AT 11: sharp objects can kill!

        Fearing terrorists will try to build and use deadly weapons, called collectively "sharp objects", the American president has issued a executive order classifying the knowledge of building sharp objects. The ATF has already arrested over 10,000 American children in a attempt to enforce this law. The head of the ATF taskforce tasked with enforcing this executive order, when questioned with the practicality of enforcing this, is quoted as saying "if they can successfully outl
      • by tgatliff (311583) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:32AM (#20040667)
        Why is this seen as a political issue? I mean, ignorance applies everywhere.... And "Neo Cons"?? Where the hell did this come from?? Instead of everyone just speculating and trying to fufill what you want to believe, why doesnt someone just file a FOIA on some of the Saturn V docs. In fact, I will do that today and see what turns up... At least then you have an official response...

        And no, I am not going to believe this "terrorists could use Saturn V to deliver nuclear warheads" crap. That argument is just plain ignorant.....
        • by jon_anderson_ca (705052) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:53AM (#20040787)

          It's probably because of the new CEV program (which is totally not just an Apollo redux... the CEV program will feature more seats). If terrorists know exactly where the join was between the first and second stages of the booster rocket, they could... uh...

          How about this: we can't say exactly what they could do because it's classified! But trust me, they could totally do stuff.

          Really.

          Would the US government lie to you? Are you calling us liars? Why do you hate freedom?????

          • by Keebler71 (520908) on Monday July 30, 2007 @12:22PM (#20043993) Journal
            It's probably because of the new CEV program (which is totally not just an Apollo redux... the CEV program will feature more seats).

            Yes, it looks the same - but the capability leap is staggering. It *looks* like the Apollo SM/CM for the same reason most bridges look the same - a good engineering solution is a good engineering solution. The CEV is being designed to carry 6 crew to ISS and 4 to lunar orbit (accomodating the increase is habitable volume necessary for this is why the diameter of the vehicle increased from Apollo's 3.9m to well over 5 meters). Much more importantly, the CEV is being designed to support much greater operations (read: science) at the moon. Apollo missions durations were limited by their fuel cells and could only target lunar equatorial landing sites [although it appears the lunar poles is where th intersting science opportunities are] and had narrow launch windows (driven largely by abort return geometries). To support long duration spaceflight CEV is designed to remain dormant at ISS or in polar lunar orbit (in support of a permanent lunar outpost) for up to 6 months at a time. The staggering delta V requirements for just getting into and out of lunar polar orbit (with an anytime abort capability) really put CEV in another class of vehicle than the Apollo CM/SM. Don't assume it is "apollo reduc" just because it looks similar and you don't understand the implications of the differences in requirements.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          And "Neo Cons"?? Where the hell did this come from??

          I first heard the term in isbn 1400042216 [amazon.com]. Probably comes from Chomsky or something. It's really a fitting term though, when you consider what republics used to stand for compared to what they stand for now...

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Simply put, it's because the Bush administration (in itself a sensible working definition of the word "neocon") is the most secretive administration in history. The pointless re-classification of old NASA documents is an example of a pattern that has been going on throughout the executive branch for six years.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
          The neoconservative label has been around for at least a few years in public political circles, I heard Mrs. Clinton use it in the 2004 elections, I think during the DNC. The origin of the term is something to label the "Reagan Democrats". It's an ideology that looks to me to justify hedgemonism and an extremely active and aggressive role in global activities.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by JWW (79176)
          And no, I am not going to believe this "terrorists could use Saturn V to deliver nuclear warheads" crap.

          Yeah, but how about this: "terrorists could use Saturn V to deliver nuclear warheads to the mooon!". Ok, well, maybe its not that either.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sp3d2orbit (81173)
          Forget the terrorists. Lets focus on our tangible enemies (North Korea and Iran). True, they probably won't use the Saturn V to deliver missles. They don't have to when the Russians have provided them perfectly usable missile systems (SCUD for instance).

          That being said, the Saturn V was a relatively cheap way of delivering payload to space. There is plenty to be learned from old designs, even if they aren't duplicated. If you've kept up with the news the last few years then you've seen North Korea master nu
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by tgatliff (311583)
            Are you serious? Are you believing the propoganda of North Korea "mastering nuclear technology"? First, atomic weapons are political weapons and are not considered a serious military weapon. Why? Because no matter how crazy you are you realize that if you actually ever use this type of technology in a strike, then you will quickly be hit with a US arsenal with > 550 land based ICBMs (most which are in europe/asia), in addition to several hundreds of Minutemen ICBMs most likely positioned right off yo
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            tangible enemies (North Korea and Iran)

            Because one of them wags a stick around for food and the other claims that Germany should take responsibility for their own war crimes? WTF? This makes them "tangible enemies"? How, exactly, are either of these nations affecting YOUR life in the least?

            The most "tangible" enemy of the American people at this point in time is the American Government's overreaching power grabs and the American people's consumptive apathy.

            Stop giving up MY freedoms to ease YOUR fear

    • or maybe (Score:3, Insightful)

      "How do you re-secretize something that is in Public Domain???"

      The crazy conspiracy theorist in me thinks that it might be a little worse than that. Maybe, they don't care about the Saturn V at all. Maybe its nothing more than a test, a social experiment of sorts. A test, of how effectively they can rewrite history and how much the public will care. And let us hope they are not successful, as if this is true and they are successful, we have much bigger concerns than the preservation of the history of sp
    • by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Monday July 30, 2007 @09:26AM (#20041635) Journal
      I guess if Rove & Co were living in ancient ages, they would have made sure that any reference to catapults were removed from Library of Alexandria?

      Naw, he'd just burn the place down.
  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Monday July 30, 2007 @05:52AM (#20040151) Homepage Journal
    It's a damn shame that a nice launch vehicle also happens to make a nice ICBM, but the progress of getting off this rock is a teenie bit more important that keeping foreign countries from spending less than a few million dollars and a few years of research and development to make their own design. Meanwhile, the much harder problem of making a man rated rocket is being done over [spacex.com] and over [armadilloaerospace.com] and over [masten-space.com] again. Talk about duplication of efforts.

    • by Bazman (4849) on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:12AM (#20040227) Journal
      Actually its more like a nice ICBM that also happens to make a not-very-nice launch vehicle. With an ICBM, you don't really care about re-usability. Just get it up, over and down onto your enemy with as much explosive payload as possible. With a launch vehicle you want to get up, up, and more up, then maybe down and up again, many times. Saturn V was the logical extension of the German V-2 rocket programme, but as a launch vehicle it was an expensive means to the end of getting to the moon before the Russians.

      That doesn't stop me worshipping it :) I had a model Saturn V when I was a kid in about 1970, and if I still had it now and some government agent decides its a military component and wants to take it away from me, well, over my dead body. I'd feel the same way if I was working for NASA and they started tearing down my vintage 1960's Apollo posters.

      • by jamstar7 (694492) on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:26AM (#20040299)
        It's what they came up with that was buildable in the time allotted. Sure, NASA was working on single stage to orbit designs, but they knew SSTO wouldn't be doable until the 90's, and the challange was to get there before 1970. It was a pure case of 'throw enough money at the problem and you'll get results'. And they did. By today's standards, Apollo was a dinky little deathtrap, the men who rode it were no-foolin' heroes.
        • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:34AM (#20040685) Homepage Journal

          By today's standards, Apollo was a dinky little deathtrap,

          The more I read the ALSJ [nasa.gov] the more respect I have for the hardware. The Apollo CM would have survived both shuttle disasters. The Apollo 13 incident resulted in a more mature spacecraft with more redundancy. A similar incident on a shuttle would probably have killed the crew immediately. Building the system out of small modules meant that the architecture could accommodate expanded modules. Apollo serviced the lunar program, skylab and apollo-soyuz.

          I just wish NASA had looked into an economical launcher to support it after the supply of Saturn Vs ran out.

          the men who rode it were no-foolin' heroes.

          No argument from me on that front.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Isaac-1 (233099)
            The supply of Saturn V's did not run out, a handful of them were left to rot as museum exhibits around the country in those 7+ years while no American went to space waiting on the shuttle to be flight ready (years behind scheduled) , I can think of 3 (one at the Cape in Florida, one at JSC in Houston, one in Huntsville, AL), I think there may be more like 5.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by DerekLyons (302214)

            The more I read the ALSJ the more respect I have for the hardware. The Apollo CM would have survived both shuttle disasters. The Apollo 13 incident resulted in a more mature spacecraft with more redundancy. A similar incident on a shuttle would probably have killed the crew immediately.

            It's only a matter of a great deal of luck and extremely hard work by both the astronauts and the folks on the ground that the Apollo 13 accident didn't kill the crew.

            Building the system out of small modules

        • by maillemaker (924053) on Monday July 30, 2007 @09:37AM (#20041765)
          >It's what they came up with that was buildable in the time allotted. Sure, NASA was working on single stage
          >to orbit designs, but they knew SSTO wouldn't be doable until the 90's, and the challange was to get there
          >before 1970. It was a pure case of 'throw enough money at the problem and you'll get results'.

          I recently toured the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. Here is how the progression of our space program appears from that visit:

          V2: Badass
          Mercury: More Badass
          Gemini: More Badass
          Apollo: More Badass
          Space Shuttle: Cost Effective

          We aren't good enough at space travel yet to be focusing on Cost Effective. We need more "Badass" in our space program.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)

      Talk about duplication of efforts.

      But the Saturn V was an expensive dead end. Ground support costs alone make it impossible to turn it into a commercial prospect. All US manufactured launch vehicles are presumably controlled by ITAR in any event. I am sure Richard Branson is going to have a fine time exporting the tier 2 system to the other countries he wants to launch from.

      • by QuantumG (50515)
        Yes, but hopefully Australia will still be seen as such a peaceful ally with the US that we can buy or license a few Armadillo modules when their development hits its stride :)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Why bother duplicate Saturn 5 when the Ruskies have much better rockets to duplicate or buy.
    • by Mutatis Mutandis (921530) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:27AM (#20040635)

      It's a damn shame that a nice launch vehicle also happens to make a nice ICBM...

      Saturn V would be a ridiculously poor choice to use as basis of an ICBM. It stood 110 m tall, weighed over 3,000 tons fueled, and used liquid hydrogen and oxygen as fuels.

      A good ICBM needs to be compact, so that is easily hidden, and above all it must be storable in a ready-to-fire form. That meant using storable liquid fuels instead of condenses gases for first generation missiles, and solid fuels in the later designs. To give an idea, Minuteman III is a mere 18 m long, weighs 32 tons at launch mass, and uses solid fuels. Even the big Soviet R-36 aka SS-18 Satan did not exceed 210 tons, and while it used liquid fuels, it used liquid fuels that could be stored at room temperature.

      Rationally, Saturn V never had a military application, and certainly today its technology is no longer of any military value.

      • A good ICBM needs to be compact, so that is easily hidden, and above all it must be storable in a ready-to-fire form. That meant using storable liquid fuels instead of condenses gases for first generation missiles, and solid fuels in the later designs.
        Sir, please remain where you are. This network is being traced. ~NSA
    • by tgd (2822) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:34AM (#20040673)
      I'm not sure the Saturn V would make a nice ICBM. Unless you're launching a payload of nukes, 40 nuclear engineers and a Grayhound Bus carrying them all, it may be a bit overkill.
  • So why mention it? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by prisoner-of-enigma (535770) on Monday July 30, 2007 @05:54AM (#20040159) Homepage
    No word yet if the assignment of a Karl Rove protege high up in NASA has any connection.

    So why bother mentioning it unless you're trying to establish some sort of political agenda of your own?
    • by HangingChad (677530) on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:47AM (#20040409) Homepage

      So why bother mentioning it unless you're trying to establish some sort of political agenda of your own?

      If they're actually doing the deed, and it appears they are, what difference does the motivation of the whistle blower make? Why would you defend this heavy handed stupidity under any circumstances?

      Anyone with the wherewithal to develop a launch vehicle can simply purchase one from the Russians...already assembled and working, complete with the ground support crew to service it. If the Russians can't handle the order they could go to the Chinese, India, or Pakistan. They're not going to try duplicating a multi-stage liquid fuel lift vehicle based on 30 year old technology.

      How does that old phrase go? Strain out a gnat and swallow a camel? Something like that.

  • Ballistis Missiles (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Mr Europe (657225)
    The real reason may be that now there are several countries developing long range missiles. Old Saturn design could well be used for such purpose.
    • Aren't they a bit late to stop this information getting out? If it's been in the public domain for years then anyone interested in using it would already have a copy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NMerriam (15122)

      The real reason may be that now there are several countries developing long range missiles. Old Saturn design could well be used for such purpose.


      Yeah, why use any of the Russian designs available when you could spend 1,000 times as much building a Saturn V? At least then you'd have bragging right of being able to nuke the moon when your country goes bankrupt.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sciros (986030)
      You know what, I WISH they use old Saturn designs for that purpose. Seriously. The crappier their long range missiles the better. T_T

      If that's "the real reason," then we are *screwed*! No government that thinks it's protecting its citizens by tearing down Saturn V posters is actually protecting its citizens at all.

      Then again, because there is *no good reason at all* to tear down Saturn V posters, I'm willing to believe whatever they say it is. It'll be retarded every which way.
  • Nah... (Score:5, Funny)

    by NoMaster (142776) on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:12AM (#20040233) Homepage Journal
    You've got it all wrong.

    It's so they can hide the mini-bar [slashdot.org] from the kids...

  • Of course (Score:5, Funny)

    by iamdrscience (541136) <michaelmtripp@gmai l . c om> on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:13AM (#20040237) Homepage

    No word yet if the assignment of a Karl Rove protege high up in NASA has any connection.
    Ah-ha! How could I be so foolish thinking that this could just be the case of one security guard being an idiot? Surely this is all part of Karl Rove's plan! He needs to get rid of the Saturn V rocket plans in order to keep our enemies from attacking the top secret laser-equipped moon bases he's built to control the earth with. It's all so simple!
  • No worries (Score:4, Insightful)

    by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:24AM (#20040289)
    Just buy a new one from ebay: http://cgi.ebay.com/Apollo-Saturn-V-Plans-1967-Ama zing-Item_W0QQitemZ230155998873QQihZ013QQcategoryZ 13903QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem [ebay.com]

    Seriously though, this must be some kind of silly bureaucratic mixup, someone overreacting to the new directive from above etc.

    As if someone trying to build a freaking ICBM would not have already picked up every bit of public information (and more) regarding US, Soviet etc rocket technology.
  • by Stanislav_J (947290) on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:28AM (#20040307)

    I would think older, simpler rocket designs would be more applicable to the needs of an emerging space power or rogue terrorist group. Why not censor and confiscate information about the older Titans that carried Gemini? Or the Redstone, Atlas, or even Little Joe rockets that propelled the Mercury program? Sure, they don't have the glamour or cachet of the Saturn V (which was, and still is, a beautiful machine), but I'm sure there are a lot of old technical manuals and such about those floating around. (I live in Central Florida, and have been to many estate sales of former NASA employees where there are tons of such material available. And, yes, I have profited quite nicely from them on eBay, thank you.)

    But this is a futile effort -- 40 years of being in the public domain is a bit much to reverse and cover up now. Why do so many people still think that you can rein this stuff in after it's already been so widely disseminated? Especially in the Internet era -- it's like when someone wants something taken down from YouTube or some other site when millions have already viewed and downloaded the file, and copies and copies of copies and copies of copies of copies are multiplying like bunnies through the "tubes." Nowadays, once something is "out there" it's OUT, and you can no more undo the damage than you can "unexplode" a bomb.

    • by arivanov (12034) on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:53AM (#20040443) Homepage
      It is the same level of thinking that tries to remove the nitration chemical reactions out of the chemistry textbooks. Very popular with many governments and many countries.

      It does work after a fashion. Instead of working tireless only that grand bang that will make loads of smoke and noise, kids sit bored staring into the blue screen until they go completely brainnumb. The process produces easily controlled model taxpaying consumer-producers which is what the government wants. Bingo, goal achieved.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mdielmann (514750)
      This reminds me of a parable I heard once about the difficulty of taking back thoughtless words. The perpetrator of the story was told to take a feather pillow to the top of a hill and pour out the feathers. Then she (yes, it's not politically correct) was told to pick them back up. That's how hard it is to take back thoughtless words.
      I expect in the Internet Age, it would be not unlike pouring the feathers out of a pillow during a hurricane.
  • kdawson, stop (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Winckle (870180) <mark@@@winckle...co...uk> on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:28AM (#20040311) Homepage
    Seriously, this is not your political blog, I'm no right winger, but even I'm getting sick of it.
  • by gsslay (807818) on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:35AM (#20040343)
    I love a bit of hyperbole. We'll make a tabloid out of slashdot yet! Some security minion becomes "armed security cop", becomes "armed guards".

    What a pity no mention was made of what he was wearing, otherwise we would be on to his jackboots by now.
  • Ridiculous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moosesocks (264553) on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:45AM (#20040397) Homepage
    The Saturn V is one of the greatest accomplishments of American Engineering. To shroud it like this is nothing short of disrespectful to those who built it, not to mention a pretty startling reflection of the current status of science in America.

    That all said, anybody who would consider using a Saturn 5 rocket as any sort of weapon is absolutely insane. The Saturn rockets were huge, and designed to deliver massive payloads (all of Skylab was launched via a single Saturn booster). The capacity of a Saturn rocket is just shy of 118 times as massive as the largest nuclear device ever constructed.

    Needless to say, it'd be pretty damn difficult for anybody to hide a rocket that big, along with that much nuclear material.

    Smaller rockets are scarier, because bombs don't need to be particularly heavy in order to cause serious damage, and because they can be easily concealed and launched at sea.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dreamchaser (49529)
      Primitive nuclear weapons are very large and heavy. The Saturn V would still be overkill probably though.

      Seems like closing the barndoor after the chickens have already flown the coop though.
    • by DieByWire (744043) on Monday July 30, 2007 @08:11AM (#20040907)

      That all said, anybody who would consider using a Saturn 5 rocket as any sort of weapon is absolutely insane. The Saturn rockets were huge, and designed to deliver massive payloads (all of Skylab was launched via a single Saturn booster)...

      Proof again that those that can't remember history are doomed to repeat it. Have you forgotten that Skylab was used to attack Austrailia? [wikipedia.org]

  • by GFree (853379) on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:46AM (#20040405)
    Hmm, do they really think they're gonna be successful in blotting out references to Saturn V info on the web?

    Hey, censor-guys, lemme give you an example, see if you follow:

    09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0
  • There is no benefit from hiding information about technology. Take the atom bomb as an example. Once you know its possible to build one you are halfway there. The leap wasnt that somebody succeded in building an atom bomb but rather that someone had a rough idea that it might work. Any country hellbent on making a missale can do so over a small period of years. They know its possible and building the knowledge up isnt that hard. Often the basic information (fuels, materials etc) are very well documented, all you need is to work out the kinks IRL. Sadly things like this hurts the US most since their engineers wont learn from previous mistakes and endavours. They have to relearn things over and over from person to person.
  • by NotmyNick (1089709) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:04AM (#20040513)
    All I see is a guy who makes his living selling memorabilia and documents screaming about the possibility of some of those docs becoming artificially scarce (in just a few short hours!) and the only corroboration he seems to have is what looks to be the excerpt of what could have been an email from an unknown person in some NASA office somewhere at Kennedy. Something smells.
  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:13AM (#20040567)
    ... I can expect a dawn raid from armed police/soldiers to take back my Airfix model?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:15AM (#20040583)
    Too bad they forgot to take down the Saturn V Flight Manual from their own site, huh?

    http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.g ov/19750063889_1975063889.pdf [nasa.gov]
  • by Ancient_Hacker (751168) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:31AM (#20040665)
    Totally nutty idea.

    • Nobody's going to build a Saturn V for "terrorist" applications.
    • You can't build a Saturn V from a poster. Or a blueprint. Or even 100 blueprints. Every detail, from the metallurgy of the rivets, to the welding techniques for the heat exchangers, to the construction of the tools, dies, jigs, test fixtures, processing chemicals, dips, platings, surface treatments, case-hardenings, ball peening, test plans, processing timelines, and much more, each encompasses a whole thick book of technology, most of which has been lost. Or is available on microfiche from any good Univerity or Govt documents repository library. Plus the Saturn V had about 130,000 subcontractors that supplied everything from gold-plated lockwashers to platinum-skinned servomotors. The technology for those was not captured in the basic Saturn V documents. For instance the specs for a small servomotor might have read "35 ft-lbs torque, 0.1% resolution, 77 to 800 degrees C. and how they did it was a trade secret of some now defunct subcontractor. And the making of the motor's teflon-coated wires was a trade secret of the wire manufacturer. And so on. Multiply that by 130,000 times.
    • So you not only would not want to, you could not even begin to build a Saturn V from the "blueprints".
    • I remember a comment from a literary critic - forget who- on much thriller writing from the early 20th century. One of the common themes was dastardly (insert enemy here) trying to steal the plans of the latest battleship. As he pointed out, you would need (in those days) an entire railway train to steal the plans for a battleship. You might be able to find out about the planned armament, and even the displacement and SHP, but these would certainly not help very much in building a copy.
  • by segedunum (883035) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:49AM (#20040753)
    .....this isn't the rocket you're looking for.
  • Stupid guards (Score:5, Informative)

    by Shoten (260439) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:56AM (#20040809)
    If the guard had half a brain, he'd know that ITAR has to do with export, not possession. Under ITAR, the version of IE that supports 128-bit encryption held the same classification; this didn't mean that you had to wipe your hard drive and go back to the 64-bit version, just that you couldn't give/sell/loan your computer to someone in another country. ITAR has no jurisdiction or concern with regard to ownership within the United States.
    • Re:Stupid guards (Score:4, Insightful)

      by starless (60879) on Monday July 30, 2007 @08:59AM (#20041323)
      ITAR has no jurisdiction or concern with regard to ownership within the United States.
      No, it governs the nationality of the people who are allowed access to the information. If something is ITAR controlled only US citizens and green card holders can have access to it.
      ITAR applies to almost anything that could plausibly be used to construct a spacecraft or launcher.
      ITAR can make international collaborations very awkward, and even makes it hard to work with US universities with the large number of non-US people working at any major university. Some US universities don't even allow ITAR controlled data on their campuses (presumably to avoid the chance of being prosecuted).

      I don't know whether ITAR is slowing down the development of weapons by foreign governments and terrorist groups. But, in my experience, it certainly is slowing down the development of US science and technology.
  • by SolusSD (680489) on Monday July 30, 2007 @08:10AM (#20040899) Homepage
    You know how far those poster "blueprints" will get you in building one of the most complex systems ever created by humans-- over 1 million systems comprise the saturn V.
  • by argStyopa (232550) on Monday July 30, 2007 @11:40AM (#20043363) Journal
    Personally, I'd love it if some of those darn terrorists decided to spend their time and effort on building ICBMs according to line-drawing plans from POSTERS of the Saturn V.

    1) it would take them forever
    2) when it inevitably exploded on launch, good odds that it would take all of their certainly-rare warheads, it would also likely take out all of their semi-capable scientific minds as well (if the explosion didn't get them, the post-explosion witch hunt for the scapegoat would)

    Building a Saturn V *is* rocket science, you're not getting anything from a poster that's terribly critical anyway.
  • Pogo issue? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Urban Garlic (447282) on Monday July 30, 2007 @11:52AM (#20043509)
    This may be Slashdot Heresy, but isn't the Saturn V design actually kind of buggy? As I recall, the "pogo" issue (high-frequency, high-amplitude variations in thrust) occurred during several launches, was not solved during the program, and was later learned to be extremely serious. There were a few engine shut-downs during launches, which made orbit anyways, because the shut-downs were relatively late in the firing, and there were lots of engines.

    Aha, found a link [wikipedia.org].

    This caused a lot of problems for Apollo 6 and Apollo 13, the latter of which of course later had much more serious problems.

    It's not obvious that you would want to reproduce this, necessarily.

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