This is the H-1 liquid-fuel rocket engine. The H-1 was the first stage powerplant for the Saturn 1 and Saturn 1B launch vehicles, the precursors to the Saturn V which took humans to the moon in the Apollo program. The Saturn 1 and Saturn 1B were each fitted with eight H-1s in their first stages. The engine uses RP-1 (kerosene) and liquid oxygen. The model shown here may be the second variation which produced 188,000 pounds of thrust.
The H-1 was evolved directly from the Jupiter missile engine. In 1958, during the earliest days of the space race, the Army Ballistic Missile Agency proposed a large launch vehicle for lifting military satellites. This vehicle was known as the Juno V. In its final configuration, its first stage was to be powered by eight uprated Jupiter engines. This engine was subsequently re-named the H-1. With the advent of the Apollo Project, Juno V was re-designated the Saturn. The Saturn 1 and Saturn 1B were successfully test flown with the H-1s and led the way to the Saturn V. The Saturn 1, with its eight H-1's, first flew on 27 October 1961. The last Saturn 1B was flown on 15 July 1975 for the low-Earth orbit Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.
NASA transferred this engine to the Museum in 1969.