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This 1958 film explores the tools and trade of a space vehicle solderer. It is presented by NASA’s George C. Marshall Space Flight Center. The film follows new soldering students and emphasizes the specialized skills and standard of cleanliness and quality required for space components.

00:07 NASA presents. 00:16 “Above and Beyond” 00:20 Montage: Operators in blockhouse control room speak on radio, adjust machinery as they prepare to launch a rocket. 00:54 01:00 Technicians 01:32 Countdown clock. 01:36 Thor Able type rocket on launch pad. 01:45 “Personnel office”. 02:09 Harry Reiner fills out application. 02:29 Interviewer sits with Reiner and reviews application. 03:02 “What is solder rosin?” Instructional diagram. 03:12 Solder, tin, lead alloys on heat plates. 03:23 Diagram: Melting point of metals. 03:33 Heat plate powered up. Solder melts. 04:09 Sheet of lead, rod of tin melded together. 04:39 Solder melts onto copper sheet. 04:58 Cross-sectional diagram: Solder and copper molecules mix to demonstrate wetting action, a process by which a liquid metal adheres a thin layer on a solid base. 05:15 Gloved hands brushes metal sheet. 05:20 Solder balls up on clean sheet of copper. 05:31 Cross-section: Solder and copper haven’t blended. 05:42 Demonstration of good versus poor wetting action. 06:10 Clean metal sheet. Heat applied speeds up oxidation. 06:40 Poor wetting action diagram. 06:52 Poor wetting action sheet. 07:00 Arrangement of fluxes, type of chemical cleaning agent. Block of rosin. 07:10 Flux dissolves. Q-tip cleans surface. 07:29 “Michael’s Electronic Core Gold” coils. 07:38 Diagram: Rosin flux inside solder wire. 07:45 Cutaway model of cord solder. 07:55 Flux melts and cleans surface. 08:23 Flux and solder flow over surface. 08:38 Douglass McMullen fills out application. 08:56 Interviewer and McMullen debate whether he needs space vehicle soldering school. 09:24 Woman hands interviewer application. 09:36 “Soldering School” classroom of students. 09:53 Pencil eraser brush. 09:55 Clamp eraser. 09:58 Sponge. 10:03 Instructor holds bottle. Diagrams in background. 10:07 McMullen nods. 10:12 Soldering students practice. 10:25 Solderers examines under magnifying glass plated board for defects. 10:54 Pencil-type eraser cleans pad. 11:06 Typewriter erasers clean wire. 11:16 “Remember cleanliness” background. Instructor foreground. 11:18 Solderer arranges wires. 11:39 Components spaced too far from board. 11:50 Solderer handles board. 11:57 Instructors shakes head. 11:59 Soldering material to board. 12:07 Students work at stations as instructor watches. 12:12 Student cleans pad and leads. 12:22 Uses pliers to prep wires for insertion. 12:35 Component pressed onto board. Bends with round nose pliers. 12:52 Clips wire. 12:59 Cleans with small brush. 13:11 Turn dial on temperature control. 13:16 Clean iron with wet sponge. 13:35 Close up: Rosin core soldering to make joint. 13:49 Example of good joint. 13:58 Cleans board with alcohol. 14:18 Instructor examines board under microscope. 14:38 Montage: Examples of poor solder joints. 14:54 Students work. 15:03 Soldering irregular component shape. 15:17 Transistors soldering requiring heat sink. 15:25 Instructor review textbook with students. 15:33 Student uses long-handle plier. 15:46 Student solders board. 15:57 Student uses ordinary wire stripper. 16:08 Instructor introduces heated wire stripper. He strips wire. 16:33 Calibrated cutting type stripper. 16:44 Brush clean terminal board with solvent, lint-free cloth. 16:51 Student learns conductor wires about tinning using a 60 40 solder. 17:08 Student makes solder joint. 17:18 Hooked wire attached to joint and clips in thermal shunt. He solders joint. 17:43 Close up: Distance between joint and insulation. 17:52 Student concentrates. 17:56 Miniature connector cup. Wire slowly slid to bottom of cup and soldered. 18:21 Student consults instructor. 18:33 Close up: J bent in solder wire. 18:53 Student uses resistance type soldering tool. This localizes heat to selected area. 19:09 Student uses heat dissipater to prevent wicking of solder up wire. 19:12 He uses foot switch. 19:28 Students practice soldering. 19:48 Student clean surface with brush. 19:54 Instructor examines work and nods. 19:59 Students practice. 20:17 Students graduate class. 20:24 Solders clock in. 20:32 Solderers at work stations. 20:43 Inspector examines work. 21:08 Tables of solderers. 21:14 Production line inspector examines work. 21:40 Rocket on launch pad. 21:52 Rocket launch. 22:01 Employees read paper “NASA Spaceship hurled into Orbit to Study the Sun at Close Range”. 22:12 ”

This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. Visit for more information.

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