Rocket engine thrust will eventually "lift" a certain amount of weight, to a certain height. For Saturn V, they used 5# F1 engines, each of which produced a thrust sufficient to lift approximately 690 tons. During testing of these F1 on the test bed, how did they "counter" / "contain" this thrust? Was the weight of the test bed in itself more than 700 tons (so that it could not be lifted) or was the test structure, bolted down to the ground by grouting etc?


1 Answer 1


It had a heavy concrete foundation to which the metal structure of the stand was attached.

Shown is test stand 1-C at Edwards Air Force Base.

enter image description here

And in use with an F-1 running.

enter image description here

There was an F-1 stand in Huntsville as well.

enter image description here

This one's structure was described as:

The structure's base consists of four concrete piers which reach 105' above grade and extend 40' below ground, where the piers anchor into bedrock.

Note that the full first stage with all five engines running was tested on a stand in Huntsville.

enter image description here

Details of this stand's construction:

The S-1C stand comprised a “steel skeleton atop a four-pillared concrete foundation,” according to Jerolimov. The stand’s bases were four “massive, reinforced-concrete piers, aligned in a square configuration.” The piers were 48 ft square at their bases, tapering inward as they rose, and had walls that were about 4 ft thick. The interior of the piers housed support spaces for personnel, as well staircases and elevator shafts. The piers were set about 68 ft apart from each other and extended 40 ft down to bedrock.


  • $\begingroup$ Interesting! That must have been some heavily heavily reinforced concrete, since concrete is strong only in compression. Very cool how they did these things. $\endgroup$
    – user39728
    Commented Mar 28, 2021 at 15:28
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ How did the attachment junctures of steel skeleton with the concrete piers look like? Were they the weakest points? $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 28, 2021 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ @OrangeDurito the last link in the references I give leads to a page with some detailed drawings of the stand. I didn't see any details there on the steel/concrete interface. But, the interface to look at the drawings is annoying - why not just give a pdf - so I might have missed it. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 28, 2021 at 20:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.