KDTWflyer
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How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Wed Mar 29, 2006 2:30 pm

How far away from the launchpad could the massive Saturn V be heard during launch?
 
broke
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RE: How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Thu Mar 30, 2006 12:54 am

I watched the first Saturn V launch at the Kennedy Space Center from the banks of the Banana River and while it was easily heard, at 15 miles or so, it wasn't deafening.
One of the things about the launch that amazed me was the ability to see the 4 engines on the second stage light up after separation from the first stage. That occurred 165 miles down range.
Another interesting aside on the Saturn V program was during the testing of the F-1 first stage engine in Huntsville, Alabama. Huntsville is in northern Alabama and a small college in southern Alabama with a seismograph reported a small earth quake in the northern part of the state during the firing.
 
Thorny
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RE: How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Thu Mar 30, 2006 3:38 am

Quoting KDTWFlyer (Thread starter):
How far away from the launchpad could the massive Saturn V be heard during launch?

I doubt anyone knows for sure. Much depends on humidity, wind direction, etc. There have been Shuttle launches that could be heard in Orlando and Daytona, and some that were barely audible even from nearby Cocoa Beach.

At least one Saturn V launch was detected on seismometers are far away as New York, though (Apollo 4, I think).
 
Bobster2
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RE: How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Thu Mar 30, 2006 8:03 am

The Saturn V generated a sound level of 91 decibels from a distance of 9384 m. (That number is from the Nasa web site.) If we assume that sound decreases 6 decibels with each doubling of distance, and the background noise in the environment is 55 decibels, you could theoretically hear the Saturn V from 373 miles. Of course, it would only be slight increase in the background noise and very hard to actually detect.

For comparison the Space Shuttle noise is 90 decibels at 9384 m.
"I tell you this, no eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn." Jim Morrison
 
SCEagle
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RE: How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Fri Mar 31, 2006 2:51 am

It seems hard to believe that the shuttle and Saturn V have such comparable noise levels (only 1 decibel difference). Having witnessed 10+ launches of the shuttle, I always thought the Saturn V would have been much more impressive and eardrum shattering.

I've always been disappointed not to have had that experience.

Or... have I? Is the shuttle REALLY comparable to the Saturn V?
 
HaveBlue
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RE: How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Fri Mar 31, 2006 3:21 am

Quoting Bobster2 (Reply 3):
The Saturn V generated a sound level of 91 decibels from a distance of 9384 m



Quoting Bobster2 (Reply 3):
For comparison the Space Shuttle noise is 90 decibels at 9384 m.

That does seem hard to swallow, as I know the Saturn V had a thrust of between 5 and 7.5 million lbs of thrust and assumed the Shuttles was way less since the V had to lift everything associated with going to the moon. So I just Googled it and the Shuttle system has 7.78 million lbs of thrust, 3.3 million a peice in the SRB's alone. I'm surprised!

As for how far away you can hear a launch, with the Space Shuttle we can hear it up here in Daytona Beach. A few minutes after launch, if the surroundings are quiet you could usually feel and hear the rumble, like a very small earth tremor. One night launch I had my daughter outside to watch, and after SRB seperation and when the shuttle looked just like a small, traveling star I told her to listen. Being that it was after midnight it was very quiet. Then you could hear the rumble, extremely distinct and it goes on for the better part of a minute if not a little more. Very cool and I miss it.
 
Bobster2
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RE: How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Fri Mar 31, 2006 4:03 am

Nasa estimates that Saturn V was 1.4 decibels louder that the shuttle. But remember that the Space Shuttle has a sound suppression system that reduces the noise by about 3 decibels.

The Titan IIIC launch on 10/21/65 was measured at 94 decibels at 9388 m (5.83 miles). So that was much louder than Saturn V.
"I tell you this, no eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn." Jim Morrison
 
Bobster2
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RE: How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Fri Mar 31, 2006 4:36 am

Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 5):
That does seem hard to swallow

The source of my data comes from the Google cache at http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:...ksc.nasa.gov/docs/FinalSERPLEA.doc

I was not able to actually find this document on the Nasa web site. It seems to exist only in the Google cache.

Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 5):
very small earth tremor

That's probably infrasound. Space Shuttle launches have been detected by infrasound up to 1700 miles away, and it takes over 2.5 hours for the infrasound to travel that far.

http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/pi/...oc/Srr_2000/7-Infrasound/07_09.pdf
"I tell you this, no eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn." Jim Morrison
 
Thorny
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RE: How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Fri Mar 31, 2006 9:18 am

Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 5):
That does seem hard to swallow, as I know the Saturn V had a thrust of between 5 and 7.5 million lbs of thrust and assumed the Shuttles was way less since the V had to lift everything associated with going to the moon. So I just Googled it and the Shuttle system has 7.78 million lbs of thrust, 3.3 million a peice in the SRB's alone. I'm surprised!

Yes, every Shuttle launch puts about 230,000 lbs. into Earth orbit. But 180,000 lbs of that is the reusable Shuttle Orbiter.

Saturn V was putting around 300,000 lbs into orbit, counting the 200,000 lb. S-IVB third stage and about 100,000 lbs of Apollo CSM and LM.

Quoting Bobster2 (Reply 6):
Nasa estimates that Saturn V was 1.4 decibels louder that the shuttle. But remember that the Space Shuttle has a sound suppression system that reduces the noise by about 3 decibels.

Saturn V had the Sound Suppression System too. It was modified for the Shuttle (three flame ducts in the launch platform instead of one), but it was already there. Reportedly, it wasn't fully used for the AS-501 first Saturn V launch, resulting in the ceiling of the CBS News trailer famously collapsing on Walter Cronkite three miles away at the Press Site.
 
Bobster2
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RE: How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Fri Mar 31, 2006 9:38 am

Quoting Thorny (Reply 8):
Saturn V had the Sound Suppression System too

I was referring to the Sound Suppression Water System that was installed for the Shuttle but not was required for the Saturn.

It's because the Shuttle has it's cargo closer to the ground which requires protection from reflected acoustic energy. The Shuttle also generates a huge pressure pulse when the solid rocket motors ignite.

The Saturn, on the other hand, had payload on top and it was much furthur from the noise, and no solid rocket motor pressure pulse.

edit: Yes. The Saturn had sound suppression too. I didn't mean this message to sound like an argument. It's just that the Shuttle requires more suppression with cargo so close to the mobile launcher.

[Edited 2006-03-31 01:58:48]
"I tell you this, no eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn." Jim Morrison
 
Thorny
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RE: How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Fri Mar 31, 2006 10:11 am

Quoting Bobster2 (Reply 9):
I was referring to the Sound Suppression Water System that was installed for the Shuttle but not was required for the Saturn.

It was only modified for Shuttle, there was one already on the Mobile Launcher and LUT, although it was then known as the Water Deluge System.

Quoting Bobster2 (Reply 9):
It's because the Shuttle has it's cargo closer to the ground which requires protection from reflected acoustic energy. The Shuttle also generates a huge pressure pulse when the solid rocket motors ignite.

But that particular problem was what the Overpressure Suppression System was built for (it was built before the first Shuttle flight, but had to be changed after STS-1 due to tile damage from SRB overpressure). That was new to Shuttle (the modifications I alluded to with "three flame ducts instead of one") but there was already a basic Sound Suppression System before Shuttle.

Edit: Not trying to be argumentative either.  Smile

[Edited 2006-03-31 02:14:22]
 
Bobster2
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RE: How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:20 am

This is confusing, but fun. The fact that the Titan IIIC launch was louder than the Saturn or the Shuttle must mean that the Titan had less sound suppression. Right? Surely it doesn't mean that the Titan itself was actually louder?

The peak water flow on the Shuttle launch is 900,000 gallons per minute plus they have water bags across the flame holes, compared to a mere 50,000 gallons per minute for the Saturn V.

When I said earlier that the Shuttle sound suppression is 3 decibels, that may not have been correct. From info on Nasa's site, they imply that the suppression is at least 3 decibels but it could be more than 3. They don't actually give the amount of suppression. So how much is it?

And what exactly causes the sound? Another fun question. Is the sound mainly caused by the collision of moving air against non-moving air? Or is it mainly caused by the combustion of fuel in the engine?
"I tell you this, no eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn." Jim Morrison
 
sidishus
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RE: How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Tue Apr 04, 2006 12:19 am

Quoting KDTWFlyer (Thread starter):
How far away from the launchpad could the massive Saturn V be heard during launch?

I could hear them in SFB quite well...
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deltagator
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RE: How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Tue Apr 04, 2006 1:05 am

Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 5):
A few minutes after launch, if the surroundings are quiet you could usually feel and hear the rumble, like a very small earth tremor.

Right there in Titusville the earth does tremble a little bit. You also have the shockwave rumbling across the Indian Rover but after a launch we would always have a picture or two askew on the wall at home.
"If you can't delight in the misery of others then you don't deserve to be a college football fan."
 
flyabunch
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RE: How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Tue Apr 04, 2006 1:58 am

Isn't part of the noise issue between the shuttle and Saturn V the fact that solid rockets are, in general louder than liquid fueled rockets? I have seen launches of both types and it just seems like the solids are louder.

Mike
 
Thorny
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RE: How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Tue Apr 04, 2006 6:56 am

Quoting Flyabunch (Reply 14):
Isn't part of the noise issue between the shuttle and Saturn V the fact that solid rockets are, in general louder than liquid fueled rockets? I have seen launches of both types and it just seems like the solids are louder.

Possibly. Solids tend to have much greater thrust than a liquid engine of comparable size. The Shuttle SRB generates 2.5 million lbs of thrust or so through an 8-foot diameter nozzle, whereas Saturn V's F-1 generated 1.5 million pounds through a 12 foot diameter nozzle. Exhaust velocity of the solid is lower, though, so who knows...  Smile
 
HaveBlue
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RE: How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Tue Apr 04, 2006 10:19 am

Quoting Thorny (Reply 15):
The Shuttle SRB generates 2.5 million lbs of thrust or so through an 8-foot diameter nozzle,

The SRB's push 3.3 million lbs of thrust each... from what I read and quoted in an earlier post.
 
Thorny
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RE: How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Tue Apr 04, 2006 10:53 am

Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 16):
The SRB's push 3.3 million lbs of thrust each... from what I read and quoted in an earlier post.

There's something seriously wrong with that figure. Although I agree there is a NASA web site that cites it, it is clearly incorrect. Here is another NASA link that disputes it...

http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/reference/basics/srb/index.html

That one says 2.65 million pounds. Wikipedia says 2.8 million pounds. Those figures are much closer to figures I've read for decades, which is that Shuttle total liftoff thrust is around 6.8 million pounds (2 SRBs + 3 SSMEs each averaging 420,000 lbs. thrust).

Note that the 3.3 million lbs. figure would make the Shuttle have more liftoff thrust than Saturn V (5 F-1 engines with 1.5 million pounds thrust each for 7.5 million pounds thrust), a claim I've never seen in print anywhere before.

I wonder if the Five Segment Booster (planned for Constellation) is the one with 3.3 million pounds thrust...
 
lehpron
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RE: How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Tue Apr 04, 2006 11:18 am

Quoting Bobster2 (Reply 3):
The Saturn V generated a sound level of 91 decibels from a distance of 9384 m



Quoting Bobster2 (Reply 3):
For comparison the Space Shuttle noise is 90 decibels at 9384 m.

One decibel for doubling the thrust? Odd, years ago I heard that it was actually near 190 decibels, I do not know what distance they were measured from but it would have made it the loudest human-made machine so far. But hey, could have been a rumor

Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 5):
So I just Googled it and the Shuttle system has 7.78 million lbs of thrust, 3.3 million a peice in the SRB's alone. I'm surprised!

Saturn V weighed in at around 6 million lbs with around 7.5 million going out the back, it also stood over 360 feet high and 30 feet wide.

Saturn 5 dwarfed the Space Shuttle, which used less than 4.5 million lbs of thrust TOTAL. That 3.3 million figure might be both SRB's, not each. I'm going to search around for more sources, but I think it's too large.

Speaking of thrust, this may be a rumor so please correct: I hear a "Soyuz" (butchered spelling) had a theoretical 9.5 million lbs of thrust, but probably never lauched, any truth to this?
The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Tue Apr 04, 2006 12:13 pm

Quoting Thorny (Reply 17):
I wonder if the Five Segment Booster (planned for Constellation) is the one with 3.3 million pounds thrust...

Assuming you had 20% more fuel surface area to ignite at the moment of lift-off, 3.3 million lbf would seem a reasonable estimation.

Quoting Lehpron (Reply 18):
I hear a "Soyuz" (butchered spelling) had a theoretical 9.5 million lbs of thrust, but probably never lauched, any truth to this?

The Soyuz is just an evolved R-7 ICBM from the 1950s.

You're probably thinking of the Energia launch system. The core Energia booster and 4 Zenit boosters lifts about 100 metric tons into LEO, versus 80 for the Space Shuttle and 120 for the Saturn V.

With an 8 Zenit booster configuration, the Energia could theoretically launch 175 metric tons into orbit. However, this capability was never demonstrated.

Quoting Bobster2 (Reply 11):
And what exactly causes the sound? Another fun question. Is the sound mainly caused by the collision of moving air against non-moving air?

Collision of air.

Consider all of the million pounds of fuel coming out of the back of the rocket. That matter must go somewhere, and it's leaving the rocket very quickly, so it must go somewhere very fast. The exahust rapidly displaces air creating a deafening pressure (sound) wave.
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twal1011727
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RE: How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Wed Apr 05, 2006 1:18 am

I have heard the shuttle launch all the down at Sebastian inlet...approx 40 miles away from the launch pad. but usually hear the rumble quite distinctly about 4-5 minutes after launch at the MLB airport. Doesn't last more than 10-15 seconds though. I was not in this area back in 1965-1972 when the Saturn V's were used, but The sound could've reached here on a good meteorogical day.
 
Thorny
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RE: How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Wed Apr 05, 2006 7:23 am

Quoting Lehpron (Reply 18):
Saturn 5 dwarfed the Space Shuttle, which used less than 4.5 million lbs of thrust TOTAL. That 3.3 million figure might be both SRB's, not each. I'm going to search around for more sources, but I think it's too large.

The 4.5 million pound figure is the Shuttle's weight, not thrust.

Here it is straight from the horse's (Thiokol's) mouth...

http://www.atk.com/RocketMotors/rocketmotors_rsrm.asp

"Each Space Shuttle launch requires the boost of two RSRMs to lift the 4.5-million-pound shuttle vehicle. From ignition to end of burn, each RSRM generates an average thrust of 2,600,000 pounds and burns for approximately 123 seconds."

(RSRM = Redesigned Solid Rocket Motor, the post-Challenger upgrade.)

That 3.3 million pound figure pops up all over the web. My guess is it is either for the 5-segment booster (one was tested, but none have flown) or is thrust in a vacuum instead of at sea level.
 
sovietjet
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RE: How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Wed Apr 05, 2006 8:15 am

Is there really that much difference between 94dB and 91dB. I suppose the Titan was just a bit louder then.
 
lehpron
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RE: How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Sat Apr 08, 2006 3:23 pm

Quoting Sovietjet (Reply 22):
Is there really that much difference between 94dB and 91dB. I suppose the Titan was just a bit louder then.

Sound is logrithmic, not linear. The ratio of noise from 94dB/91dB becomes about double the 'loudness'.

there is a formula to estimate the dB from the wattage, I forgot what it was, it involves the threshold of human hearing. dB = 10 * log (something)
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Loran
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RE: How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Mon Apr 10, 2006 10:16 pm

Different to commercial aircraft, there seems not to be a trend to quieter and hence more efficient engines. Im just wondering if the same rules apply to rocket engines.

Aircraft engines have undergone a huge development since the early jets in terms of noise and SFC. Efficiency was increased by reducing the air velocity to lower speeds at higher mass flows and higher combustion chamber temperatures.
Since noise is pretty much lost energy, I am wondering how that compares to rocket engines. Is there a way to increase efficiency by reducing noise? Costs are certainly a concern in these days and every lb counts in order to reduce weight.

I suppose it is not possible to reduce the gas velocity while increasing the mass flow, unless the nozzle diamater is increased? This would again lead to higher weights though.
Would be interesting to know what impact the different propellants have on noise and efficiency.
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Areopagus
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RE: How Far Away Could Saturn V Be Heard?

Tue Apr 11, 2006 1:30 am

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 19):
Quoting Lehpron (Reply 18):
I hear a "Soyuz" (butchered spelling) had a theoretical 9.5 million lbs of thrust, but probably never lauched, any truth to this?

You're probably thinking of the Energia launch system.

Alternatively, he could be thinking of the N1: http://www.astronautix.com/articles/thepart1.htm

Quoting Loran (Reply 24):
I suppose it is not possible to reduce the gas velocity while increasing the mass flow

There are two roles played by the fuel and oxidizer: as energy supply, and as reaction mass. The turbojet and turbofan get most of their reaction mass (as well as the oxidizer) from the free air stream, and it is efficient to make maximum use of it. But the rocket has to carry its reaction mass, and it is most efficient to shoot that mass out at the highest feasible* exhaust velocity.

*I say "feasible", because there are some things you could do to raise exhaust velocity, such as employ fluorine instead of oxygen as oxidizer, but doing so would not be safe and reliable. Engine bell size can also be a tradeoff of efficiency vs. weight.

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