Review: Saturn I/IB
by Jeff Foust
|The rocket has gotten only a fraction of the attention of the Saturn 5: rather than being restored and placed in new homes, one Saturn 1 stands sentry at an interstate rest stop in Alabama.|
Those expecting a narrative history of the Saturn 1 in this book will be disappointed. Instead, Saturn I/IB includes a detailed technical record of the development and production of the rocket (the book’s subtitle, not included on the cover but listed on the title page inside, is “The Complete Manufacturing and Test Records”). The book lives up to that description, describing the development and ultimate disposition of every stage and even every rocket engine that was part of the Saturn 1 and 1B. Lawrie also discusses the various factories and test sites used in the vehicle’s development, and even the aircraft and barges that transported components. A companion DVD includes several NASA film updates from the early development of the Saturn 1 as well as a PDF with detailed schematics of the Saturn 1.
Given this focus, the book doesn’t put the development and use of the Saturn 1 into a greater historical context: why it was developed, why it wasn’t used more, and so on. Saturn I/IB is instead more of a technical reference book, a tool for those looking for the nitty-gritty details behind each Saturn 1 built. This book may not be the complete history of this launch vehicle, but its publication is a little greater sign of respect for an oft-overlooked rocket.