Saturn V
Overview
 
The Saturn V was an American human-rated expendable
Expendable launch system
An expendable launch system is a launch system that uses an expendable launch vehicle to carry a payload into space. The vehicles used in expendable launch systems are designed to be used only once , and their components are not recovered for re-use after launch...

 rocket
Rocket
A rocket is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle which obtains thrust from a rocket engine. In all rockets, the exhaust is formed entirely from propellants carried within the rocket before use. Rocket engines work by action and reaction...

 used by NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

's Apollo and Skylab
Skylab
Skylab was a space station launched and operated by NASA, the space agency of the United States. Skylab orbited the Earth from 1973 to 1979, and included a workshop, a solar observatory, and other systems. It was launched unmanned by a modified Saturn V rocket, with a mass of...

 programs from 1967 until 1973. A multistage
Multistage rocket
A multistage rocket is a rocket that usestwo or more stages, each of which contains its own engines and propellant. A tandem or serial stage is mounted on top of another stage; a parallel stage is attached alongside another stage. The result is effectively two or more rockets stacked on top of or...

 liquid-fueled launch vehicle
Launch vehicle
In spaceflight, a launch vehicle or carrier rocket is a rocket used to carry a payload from the Earth's surface into outer space. A launch system includes the launch vehicle, the launch pad and other infrastructure....

, NASA launched 13 Saturn Vs from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 with no loss of crew or payload. It remains the tallest, heaviest and most powerful rocket ever brought to operational status and still holds the record for the heaviest launch vehicle payload.

The largest production model of the Saturn family of rockets, the Saturn V was designed under the direction of Wernher von Braun
Wernher von Braun
Wernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun was a German rocket scientist, aerospace engineer, space architect, and one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology in Nazi Germany during World War II and in the United States after that.A former member of the Nazi party,...

 and Arthur Rudolph
Arthur Rudolph
Arthur Louis Hugo Rudolph was a German rocket engineer and member of the Nazi party who played a key role in the development of the V-2 rocket. After World War II he was brought to the United States, subsequently becoming a pioneer of the United States space program. He worked for the U.S...

 at the Marshall Space Flight Center
Marshall Space Flight Center
The George C. Marshall Space Flight Center is the U.S. government's civilian rocketry and spacecraft propulsion research center. The largest center of NASA, MSFC's first mission was developing the Saturn launch vehicles for the Apollo moon program...

 in Huntsville, Alabama
Huntsville, Alabama
Huntsville is a city located primarily in Madison County in the central part of the far northern region of the U.S. state of Alabama. Huntsville is the county seat of Madison County. The city extends west into neighboring Limestone County. Huntsville's population was 180,105 as of the 2010 Census....

, with Boeing
Boeing
The Boeing Company is an American multinational aerospace and defense corporation, founded in 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington. Boeing has expanded over the years, merging with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Boeing Corporate headquarters has been in Chicago, Illinois since 2001...

, North American Aviation
North American Aviation
North American Aviation was a major US aerospace manufacturer, responsible for a number of historic aircraft, including the T-6 Texan trainer, the P-51 Mustang fighter, the B-25 Mitchell bomber, the F-86 Sabre jet fighter, the X-15 rocket plane, and the XB-70, as well as Apollo Command and Service...

, Douglas Aircraft Company
Douglas Aircraft Company
The Douglas Aircraft Company was an American aerospace manufacturer, based in Long Beach, California. It was founded in 1921 by Donald Wills Douglas, Sr. and later merged with McDonnell Aircraft in 1967 to form McDonnell Douglas...

, and IBM
IBM
International Business Machines Corporation or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas...

 as the lead contractors.
Encyclopedia
The Saturn V was an American human-rated expendable
Expendable launch system
An expendable launch system is a launch system that uses an expendable launch vehicle to carry a payload into space. The vehicles used in expendable launch systems are designed to be used only once , and their components are not recovered for re-use after launch...

 rocket
Rocket
A rocket is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle which obtains thrust from a rocket engine. In all rockets, the exhaust is formed entirely from propellants carried within the rocket before use. Rocket engines work by action and reaction...

 used by NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

's Apollo and Skylab
Skylab
Skylab was a space station launched and operated by NASA, the space agency of the United States. Skylab orbited the Earth from 1973 to 1979, and included a workshop, a solar observatory, and other systems. It was launched unmanned by a modified Saturn V rocket, with a mass of...

 programs from 1967 until 1973. A multistage
Multistage rocket
A multistage rocket is a rocket that usestwo or more stages, each of which contains its own engines and propellant. A tandem or serial stage is mounted on top of another stage; a parallel stage is attached alongside another stage. The result is effectively two or more rockets stacked on top of or...

 liquid-fueled launch vehicle
Launch vehicle
In spaceflight, a launch vehicle or carrier rocket is a rocket used to carry a payload from the Earth's surface into outer space. A launch system includes the launch vehicle, the launch pad and other infrastructure....

, NASA launched 13 Saturn Vs from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 with no loss of crew or payload. It remains the tallest, heaviest and most powerful rocket ever brought to operational status and still holds the record for the heaviest launch vehicle payload.

The largest production model of the Saturn family of rockets, the Saturn V was designed under the direction of Wernher von Braun
Wernher von Braun
Wernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun was a German rocket scientist, aerospace engineer, space architect, and one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology in Nazi Germany during World War II and in the United States after that.A former member of the Nazi party,...

 and Arthur Rudolph
Arthur Rudolph
Arthur Louis Hugo Rudolph was a German rocket engineer and member of the Nazi party who played a key role in the development of the V-2 rocket. After World War II he was brought to the United States, subsequently becoming a pioneer of the United States space program. He worked for the U.S...

 at the Marshall Space Flight Center
Marshall Space Flight Center
The George C. Marshall Space Flight Center is the U.S. government's civilian rocketry and spacecraft propulsion research center. The largest center of NASA, MSFC's first mission was developing the Saturn launch vehicles for the Apollo moon program...

 in Huntsville, Alabama
Huntsville, Alabama
Huntsville is a city located primarily in Madison County in the central part of the far northern region of the U.S. state of Alabama. Huntsville is the county seat of Madison County. The city extends west into neighboring Limestone County. Huntsville's population was 180,105 as of the 2010 Census....

, with Boeing
Boeing
The Boeing Company is an American multinational aerospace and defense corporation, founded in 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington. Boeing has expanded over the years, merging with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Boeing Corporate headquarters has been in Chicago, Illinois since 2001...

, North American Aviation
North American Aviation
North American Aviation was a major US aerospace manufacturer, responsible for a number of historic aircraft, including the T-6 Texan trainer, the P-51 Mustang fighter, the B-25 Mitchell bomber, the F-86 Sabre jet fighter, the X-15 rocket plane, and the XB-70, as well as Apollo Command and Service...

, Douglas Aircraft Company
Douglas Aircraft Company
The Douglas Aircraft Company was an American aerospace manufacturer, based in Long Beach, California. It was founded in 1921 by Donald Wills Douglas, Sr. and later merged with McDonnell Aircraft in 1967 to form McDonnell Douglas...

, and IBM
IBM
International Business Machines Corporation or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas...

 as the lead contractors. Von Braun's design was based in part on his work on the Aggregate
Aggregate (rocket family)
The Aggregate series was a set of rocket designs developed in 1933–1945 by a research program of Nazi Germany's army. Its greatest success was the A4, more commonly known as the V-2. The German word refers to a group of machines working together.-A1:...

 series of rockets, especially the A-10, A-11, and A-12, in Germany during World War II.

To date, the Saturn V is the only launch vehicle to transport human beings beyond Low Earth Orbit
Low Earth orbit
A low Earth orbit is generally defined as an orbit within the locus extending from the Earth’s surface up to an altitude of 2,000 km...

. A total of 24 men were flown out to the Moon in the four years spanning December 1968 through December 1972.

History

The origins of the Saturn V rocket begin with the US government choosing Wernher von Braun
Wernher von Braun
Wernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun was a German rocket scientist, aerospace engineer, space architect, and one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology in Nazi Germany during World War II and in the United States after that.A former member of the Nazi party,...

 to be one of about seven hundred German scientists in Operation Paperclip
Operation Paperclip
Operation Paperclip was the Office of Strategic Services program used to recruit the scientists of Nazi Germany for employment by the United States in the aftermath of World War II...

, a program created by President Truman in September 1946. It was intended to bring these scientists and their expertise to the United States, thereby giving America an edge in the Cold War. To legally bring over scientists who had been active in the Nazi Party, members of the War Department's Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency doctored dossiers, including von Braun's, to downplay their Nazi sympathies.

Von Braun was put into the rocket design division of the Army due to his direct involvement in the creation of the V-2 rocket. Between 1945 and 1958, his work was restricted to conveying the ideas and methods behind the V-2 to the American engineers. Despite Von Braun's many articles on the future of space rocketry, the US Government continued funding Air Force and Naval rocket programs to test their Vanguard
Project Vanguard
Project Vanguard was a program managed by the United States Naval Research Laboratory , which intended to launch the first artificial satellite into Earth orbit using a Vanguard rocket as the launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral Missile Annex, Florida....

 missiles despite numerous costly failures. It was not until the 1957 Soviet launch of Sputnik that the Army and the government started taking serious steps towards putting Americans in space. Finally, they turned to von Braun and his team, who during these years created and experimented with the Jupiter series of rockets
Jupiter-C
The Jupiter-C was an American sounding rocket used for three sub-orbital spaceflights in 1956 and 1957 to test re-entry nosecones that were later to be deployed on the more advanced PGM-19 Jupiter mobile missile....

. The Juno I
Juno I
The Juno I was a four-stage American booster rocket which launched America's first satellite, Explorer 1, in 1958. A member of the Redstone rocket family, it was derived from the Jupiter-C sounding rocket...

 was the rocket that launched the first American satellite in January 1958, and part of the last ditch plan for NASA to get its foot in the Space Race. The Jupiter series was one more step in von Braun's journey to the Saturn V, later calling that first series "an infant Saturn".

Saturn development

The Saturn V's design stemmed from the designs of the V-2 and Jupiter series rockets. As the success of the Jupiter series became evident, the Saturn series emerged.

C-1 to C-4

Between 1960 and 1962, the Marshall Space Flight Center
Marshall Space Flight Center
The George C. Marshall Space Flight Center is the U.S. government's civilian rocketry and spacecraft propulsion research center. The largest center of NASA, MSFC's first mission was developing the Saturn launch vehicles for the Apollo moon program...

 (MSFC) designed a series of Saturn rockets that could be used for various Earth orbit or lunar missions.

The C-1 was developed into the Saturn I
Saturn I
The Saturn I was the United States' first heavy-lift dedicated space launcher, a rocket designed specifically to launch large payloads into low Earth orbit. Most of the rocket's power came from a clustered lower stage consisting of tanks taken from older rocket designs and strapped together to make...

, and the C-2 rocket was dropped early in the design process in favor of the C-3, which was intended to use two F-1
F-1 (rocket engine)
The F-1 is a rocket engine developed by Rocketdyne and used in the Saturn V. Five F-1 engines were used in the S-IC first stage of each Saturn V, which served as the main launch vehicle in the Apollo program. The F-1 is still the most powerful single-chamber liquid-fueled rocket engine ever...

 engines on its first stage, four J-2
J-2 (rocket engine)
Rocketdyne's J-2 rocket engine was a major component of the Saturn V rocket used in the Apollo program to send men to the Moon. Five J-2 engines were used on the S-II second stage, and one J-2 was used on the S-IVB third stage. The S-IVB was also used as the second stage of the smaller Saturn IB...

 engines for its second stage, and an S-IV stage, using six RL-10
RL-10
The RL10 was USA's first liquid hydrogen fueled rocket engine. An updated version is used in several current launch vehicles. Six RL10 engines were used in the S-IV second stage of the Saturn I rocket. One or two RL10 engines are used in the Centaur upper stages of Atlas and Titan rockets...

 engines.

NASA planned to use the C-3 as part of the Earth Orbit Rendezvous (EOR) concept, with at least four or five launches needed for a single lunar mission. But MSFC was already planning an even bigger rocket, the C-4, which would use four F-1 engines on its first stage, an enlarged C-3 second stage, and the S-IVB
S-IVB
The S-IVB was built by the Douglas Aircraft Company and served as the third stage on the Saturn V and second stage on the Saturn IB. It had one J-2 engine...

, a stage with a single J-2 engine, as its third stage. The C-4 would need only two launches to carry out an EOR lunar mission.

C-5

On January 10, 1962, NASA announced plans to build the C-5. The three-stage rocket would consist of five F-1 engines for the first stage, five J-2 engines for the second stage, and a single, additional J-2 engine for the third stage. The C-5 was designed for the higher payload capacity necessary for a lunar mission, and could carry up to 90000 pounds (40,823.3 kg) to the Moon.

The C-5 would undergo component testing even before the first model was constructed. The rocket's third stage would be utilized as the second stage for the C-IB, which would serve both to demonstrate proof of concept and feasibility for the C-5, but would also provide flight data critical to the continued development of the C-5. Rather than undergoing testing for each major component, the C-5 would be tested in an "all-up" fashion, meaning that the first test flight of the rocket would include complete versions of all three stages. By testing all components at once, far fewer test flights would be required before a manned launch.

The C-5 was confirmed as NASA's choice for the Apollo Program in early 1963, and was given a new name—the Saturn V.

The C-1 became the Saturn I, and C-1B became Saturn IB. Von Braun headed a team at the Marshall Space Flight Center
Marshall Space Flight Center
The George C. Marshall Space Flight Center is the U.S. government's civilian rocketry and spacecraft propulsion research center. The largest center of NASA, MSFC's first mission was developing the Saturn launch vehicles for the Apollo moon program...

 in building a vehicle capable of launching a crewed spacecraft on a trajectory to the moon. Before they moved under NASA's jurisdiction, von Braun's team had already begun work on improving the thrust, creating a less complex operating system, and designing better mechanical systems. It was during these revisions that the decision to reject the single engine of the V-2's design came about, and the team moved to a multiple-engine design. The Saturn I and IB reflected these changes, but still did not have the potential to send a crewed spacecraft to the moon. These designs, however, provided a basis for which NASA could determine its best method towards landing a man on the moon.

The Saturn V's final design had several key design features. Engineers determined that the best engines were the F-1s coupled with the new liquid hydrogen propulsion system called J-2, which made the Saturn C-5 configuration optimal. By 1962, NASA had finalized its plans to proceed with von Braun's Saturn designs, and the Apollo space program gained speed.

With the configuration finalized, NASA turned its attention to mission profiles. Despite some controversy, a lunar orbit rendezvous for the lunar module was chosen over an Earth orbital rendezvous. Issues such as type of fuel injections, the needed amount of fuel for such a trip, and rocket manufacturing processes were ironed out, and the designs for the Saturn V were selected. The rocket was to be built in three sections from the bottom up: SI-C, S-II, and S-IVB. Each section was designed by von Braun in Huntsville and built by outside contractors such as Boeing, North American Aviation, Douglas Aircraft, and IBM.

Selection for Apollo lunar landing

Early in the planning process, NASA considered three leading ideas for the Moon mission: Earth Orbit Rendezvous
Earth orbit rendezvous
Earth orbit rendezvous is a type of space rendezvous and a spaceflight methodology most notable for enabling round trip human missions to the moon...

, Direct Ascent
Direct ascent
Direct ascent was a proposed method for a mission to the Moon. In the United States, direct ascent proposed using the enormous Nova rocket to launch a spacecraft directly to the Moon, where it would land tail-first and then launch off the Moon back to Earth...

, and Lunar Orbit Rendezvous
Lunar orbit rendezvous
Lunar orbit rendezvous is a key concept for human landing on the Moon and returning to Earth.In a LOR mission a main spacecraft and a smaller lunar module travel together into lunar orbit. The lunar module then independently descends to the lunar surface. After completion of the mission there, a...

 (LOR). A direct ascent configuration would launch a larger rocket which would land directly on the lunar surface, while an Earth orbit rendezvous would launch two smaller spacecraft which would combine in Earth orbit. A LOR mission would involve a single rocket launching a single spacecraft, but only a small part of that spacecraft would land on the moon. That smaller landing module would then rendezvous with the main spacecraft, and the crew would return home.

NASA at first dismissed LOR as a riskier option, given that an orbital rendezvous
Space rendezvous
A space rendezvous is an orbital maneuver during which two spacecraft, one of which is often a space station, arrive at the same orbit and approach to a very close distance . Rendezvous requires a precise match of the orbital velocities of the two spacecraft, allowing them to remain at a constant...

 had yet to be performed in Earth orbit, much less in lunar orbit. Several NASA officials, including Langley Research Center engineer John Houbolt
John Houbolt
John Cornelius Houbolt is a retired aerospace engineer. He is generally credited with having effectively promoted the lunar mission mode called Lunar Orbit Rendezvous or LOR. This flight path was first endorsed by Wernher von Braun in June 1961 and was chosen for Apollo program in early 1962...

 and NASA Administrator George Low
George Low
George Michael Low, born George Wilhelm Low was a NASA administrator and 14th President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He was born near Vienna, Austria to Artur and Gertrude Burger Low, small business people in Austria...

, argued that a Lunar Orbit Rendezvous provided the simplest landing on the moon, the most cost–efficient launch vehicle and, perhaps most importantly, the best chance to accomplish a lunar landing within the decade. Other NASA officials were convinced, and LOR was officially selected as the mission configuration for the Apollo program on 7 November 1962.

Technology

The Saturn V's huge size and payload capacity dwarfed all other previous rockets which had successfully flown at that time. With the Apollo spacecraft on top it stood 363 feet (110.6 m) tall and without fins it was 33 feet (10.1 m) in diameter. Fully fueled it had a total mass of 6.5 million pounds (3,000 metric tons) and a payload capacity of 260000 lbs to LEO
Low Earth orbit
A low Earth orbit is generally defined as an orbit within the locus extending from the Earth’s surface up to an altitude of 2,000 km...

. Comparatively, at 363 feet (110.6 m), the Saturn V is about 58 feet taller than the Statue of liberty
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886...

 from the ground to the torch, and is just one foot shorter than St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral, London, is a Church of England cathedral and seat of the Bishop of London. Its dedication to Paul the Apostle dates back to the original church on this site, founded in AD 604. St Paul's sits at the top of Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London, and is the mother...

 in London, and only cleared the doors of the Vehicle Assembly Building
Vehicle Assembly Building
The Vehicle Assembly Building, or VAB, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center was used to assemble and house American manned launch vehicles from 1968-2011. It is the fourth largest building in the world by volume...

 (VAB) by 6 feet (1.8 m) when rolled out.

In contrast, the Mercury-Redstone Launch Vehicle
Mercury-Redstone Launch Vehicle
The Mercury-Redstone Launch Vehicle, designed for NASA's Project Mercury, was the first American manned space booster. It was used for six sub-orbital Mercury flights from 1960–61; culminating with the launch of the first, and 11 weeks later, the second American in space.A member of the...

 used on Freedom 7, the first manned American spaceflight, was just under 11 feet (3.4 m) longer than the S-IVB
S-IVB
The S-IVB was built by the Douglas Aircraft Company and served as the third stage on the Saturn V and second stage on the Saturn IB. It had one J-2 engine...

 stage, and delivered less sea level thrust (78000 pound-forces (347 kN)) than the Launch Escape System rocket (147000 pound-forces (653.9 kN) sea level thrust) mounted atop the Apollo command module.

The Saturn V was principally designed by the Marshall Space Flight Center
Marshall Space Flight Center
The George C. Marshall Space Flight Center is the U.S. government's civilian rocketry and spacecraft propulsion research center. The largest center of NASA, MSFC's first mission was developing the Saturn launch vehicles for the Apollo moon program...

 in Huntsville, Alabama
Huntsville, Alabama
Huntsville is a city located primarily in Madison County in the central part of the far northern region of the U.S. state of Alabama. Huntsville is the county seat of Madison County. The city extends west into neighboring Limestone County. Huntsville's population was 180,105 as of the 2010 Census....

, although numerous major systems, including propulsion, were designed by subcontractors. It used the powerful new F-1
F-1 (rocket engine)
The F-1 is a rocket engine developed by Rocketdyne and used in the Saturn V. Five F-1 engines were used in the S-IC first stage of each Saturn V, which served as the main launch vehicle in the Apollo program. The F-1 is still the most powerful single-chamber liquid-fueled rocket engine ever...

 and J-2
J-2 (rocket engine)
Rocketdyne's J-2 rocket engine was a major component of the Saturn V rocket used in the Apollo program to send men to the Moon. Five J-2 engines were used on the S-II second stage, and one J-2 was used on the S-IVB third stage. The S-IVB was also used as the second stage of the smaller Saturn IB...

 rocket engine
Rocket engine
A rocket engine, or simply "rocket", is a jet engineRocket Propulsion Elements; 7th edition- chapter 1 that uses only propellant mass for forming its high speed propulsive jet. Rocket engines are reaction engines and obtain thrust in accordance with Newton's third law...

s for propulsion. When tested, these engines shattered the windows of nearby houses. Designers decided early on to attempt to use as much technology from the Saturn I program as possible. Consequently, the S-IVB
S-IVB
The S-IVB was built by the Douglas Aircraft Company and served as the third stage on the Saturn V and second stage on the Saturn IB. It had one J-2 engine...

-500 third stage of the Saturn V was based on the S-IVB-200 second stage of the Saturn IB
Saturn IB
The Saturn IB was an American launch vehicle commissioned by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for use in the Apollo program...

. The Instrument Unit
Saturn V Instrument Unit
The Saturn V Instrument Unit is a ring-shaped structure fitted to the top of the Saturn V rocket's third stage and the Saturn IB's second stage . It was immediately below the SLA panels that contained the Lunar Module. The Instrument Unit contains the guidance system for the Saturn V rocket...

 that controlled the Saturn V shared characteristics with that carried by the Saturn IB.

Blueprints and other Saturn V plans are available on microfilm at the Marshall Space Flight Center.

Stages

The Saturn V consisted of three stages—the S-IC first stage, S-II second stage and the S-IVB third stage—and the instrument unit. All three stages used liquid oxygen
Liquid oxygen
Liquid oxygen — abbreviated LOx, LOX or Lox in the aerospace, submarine and gas industries — is one of the physical forms of elemental oxygen.-Physical properties:...

 (LOX) as an oxidizer
Oxidizing agent
An oxidizing agent can be defined as a substance that removes electrons from another reactant in a redox chemical reaction...

. The first stage used RP-1
RP-1
RP-1 is a highly refined form of kerosene outwardly similar to jet fuel, used as a rocket fuel. Although having a lower specific impulse than liquid hydrogen , RP-1 is cheaper, can be stored at room temperature, is far less of an explosive hazard and is far denser...

 for fuel, while the second and third stages used liquid hydrogen
Liquid hydrogen
Liquid hydrogen is the liquid state of the element hydrogen. Hydrogen is found naturally in the molecular H2 form.To exist as a liquid, H2 must be pressurized above and cooled below hydrogen's Critical point. However, for hydrogen to be in a full liquid state without boiling off, it needs to be...

 (LH2). The upper stages also used small solid-fueled ullage motor
Ullage motor
Ullage motors are relatively small, independently-fueled rocket engines that may be fired to accelerate the rocket prior to main engine ignition, when the vehicle is in a zero-g situation....

s that helped to separate the stages during the launch, and to ensure that the liquid propellants were in a proper position to be drawn into the pumps.

S-IC first stage

The S-IC was built by The Boeing Company
Boeing
The Boeing Company is an American multinational aerospace and defense corporation, founded in 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington. Boeing has expanded over the years, merging with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Boeing Corporate headquarters has been in Chicago, Illinois since 2001...

 at the Michoud Assembly Facility
Michoud Assembly Facility
The Michoud Assembly Facility is an 832-acre site owned by NASA and located in New Orleans East, a large district within the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. Organizationally, it is part of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center...

, New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

, where Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

 External Tanks would later be built. Most of its mass of over two thousand metric tonnes at launch was propellant, in this case RP-1
RP-1
RP-1 is a highly refined form of kerosene outwardly similar to jet fuel, used as a rocket fuel. Although having a lower specific impulse than liquid hydrogen , RP-1 is cheaper, can be stored at room temperature, is far less of an explosive hazard and is far denser...

 rocket fuel and liquid oxygen
Lox
Lox is salmon fillet that has been cured. In its most popular form, it is thinly sliced—less than in thickness—and, typically, served on a bagel, often with cream cheese, onion, tomato, cucumber and capers...

 oxidizer
Oxidizing agent
An oxidizing agent can be defined as a substance that removes electrons from another reactant in a redox chemical reaction...

. It was 138 feet (42.1 m) tall and 33 feet (10.1 m) in diameter, and provided over 34 meganewtons (7,643,504.1 lbf) of thrust to get the rocket through the first 200000 feet (61 km) of ascent. The S-IC stage had a dry weight of about 288000 lbs and fully fueled at launch had a total weight of 5000000 pounds (2,267,961.9 kg). The five F-1
F-1 (rocket engine)
The F-1 is a rocket engine developed by Rocketdyne and used in the Saturn V. Five F-1 engines were used in the S-IC first stage of each Saturn V, which served as the main launch vehicle in the Apollo program. The F-1 is still the most powerful single-chamber liquid-fueled rocket engine ever...

 engines were arranged in a cross pattern. The center engine was fixed, while the four outer engines could be hydraulically turned ("gimballed")
Gimbal
A gimbal is a pivoted support that allows the rotation of an object about a single axis. A set of two gimbals, one mounted on the other with pivot axes orthogonal, may be used to allow an object mounted on the innermost gimbal to remain immobile regardless of the motion of its support...

 to control the rocket. In flight, the center engine was turned off about 26 seconds earlier than the outboard engines to limit acceleration. During launch, the S-IC fired its engines for 168 seconds (ignition occurred about 7 seconds before liftoff) and at engine cutoff, the vehicle was at an altitude of about 200000 feet (61 km), was downrange about 58 miles (93.3 km), and was moving about 7700 feet per second (2,347 m/s).
The S-IC Stage with its five F-1 engines lifted the Saturn V to an altitude of 38 to 40 miles
in about 2 1/2 minutes at 6,000 MPH with a thrust of 7 1/2 million pounds.

S-II second stage

The S-II was built by North American Aviation
North American Aviation
North American Aviation was a major US aerospace manufacturer, responsible for a number of historic aircraft, including the T-6 Texan trainer, the P-51 Mustang fighter, the B-25 Mitchell bomber, the F-86 Sabre jet fighter, the X-15 rocket plane, and the XB-70, as well as Apollo Command and Service...

 at Seal Beach, California
Seal Beach, California
-Neighborhoods:Seal Beach encompasses the Leisure World retirement gated community with roughly 9,000 residents. This was the first major planned retirement community of its type in the U.S...

. Using liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, it had five J-2
J-2 (rocket engine)
Rocketdyne's J-2 rocket engine was a major component of the Saturn V rocket used in the Apollo program to send men to the Moon. Five J-2 engines were used on the S-II second stage, and one J-2 was used on the S-IVB third stage. The S-IVB was also used as the second stage of the smaller Saturn IB...

 engines in a similar arrangement to the S-IC, also using the outer engines for control. The S-II was 24.87 metre tall with a diameter of 33 feet (10.1 m), identical to the S-IC, and thus was the largest cryogenic stage until the launch of the STS. The S-II had a dry weight of about 80000 lbs and fully fueled, weighed 1060000 lbs. The second stage accelerated the Saturn V through the upper atmosphere with 5.1 meganewtons (1,146,525.6 lbf) of thrust (in vacuum). When loaded, significantly more than 90 percent of the mass of the stage was propellant; however, the ultra-lightweight design had led to two failures in structural testing. Instead of having an intertank structure to separate the two fuel tanks as was done in the S-IC, the S-II used a common bulkhead that was constructed from both the top of the LOX tank and bottom of the LH2 tank. It consisted of two aluminum sheets separated by a honeycomb structure made of phenolic resin. This bulkhead had to insulate against the 70 °C (158 °F) temperature difference between the two tanks. The use of a common bulkhead saved 3.6 tonne. Like the S-IC, the S-II was transported by sea.

S-IVB third stage

The S-IVB
S-IVB
The S-IVB was built by the Douglas Aircraft Company and served as the third stage on the Saturn V and second stage on the Saturn IB. It had one J-2 engine...

 was built by the Douglas Aircraft Company
Douglas Aircraft Company
The Douglas Aircraft Company was an American aerospace manufacturer, based in Long Beach, California. It was founded in 1921 by Donald Wills Douglas, Sr. and later merged with McDonnell Aircraft in 1967 to form McDonnell Douglas...

 at Huntington Beach, California
Huntington Beach, California
Huntington Beach is a seaside city in Orange County in Southern California. According to the 2010 census, the city population was 189,992; making it the largest beach city in Orange County in terms of population...

. It had one J-2 engine and used the same fuel as the S-II. The S-IVB used a common bulkhead to insulate the two tanks. It was 17.86 metre tall with a diameter of 6.604 metre and was also designed with high mass efficiency, though not quite as aggressively as the S-II. The S-IVB had a dry weight of about 23000 lbs and, fully fueled, weighed about 262000 lbs.

The S-IVB-500 model used on the Saturn V differed from the S-IVB-200 used as the second stage of the Saturn IB, in that the engine was restartable once per mission. This was necessary as the stage would be used twice during a lunar mission: first in a 2.5 min burn for the orbit insertion after second stage cutoff, and later for the trans-lunar injection (TLI) burn, lasting about 6 min. Two liquid-fueled Auxiliary Propulsion System (APS) units mounted at the aft end of the stage were used for attitude control during the parking orbit
Parking orbit
A parking orbit is a temporary orbit used during the launch of a satellite or other space probe. A launch vehicle boosts into the parking orbit, then coasts for a while, then fires again to enter the final desired trajectory...

 and the trans-lunar phases of the mission. The two APSs were also used as ullage engines
Ullage motor
Ullage motors are relatively small, independently-fueled rocket engines that may be fired to accelerate the rocket prior to main engine ignition, when the vehicle is in a zero-g situation....

 to settle the propellants in the aft tank engine feed lines prior to the trans-lunar injection burn.

The S-IVB was the only rocket stage of the Saturn V small enough to be transported by plane, in this case the Pregnant Guppy
Aero Spacelines Pregnant Guppy
|-See also:-External links:* by Boeing. Retrieved October 5, 2006.* , by Daren Savage. Updated September 17, 2006. Retrieved October 5, 2006.* by Robert S. Tripp. Written Spring 2002. Retrieved October 5, 2006....

.

Instrument Unit

The Instrument Unit was built by IBM
IBM
International Business Machines Corporation or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas...

 and rode atop the third stage. It was constructed at the Space Systems Center in Huntsville. This computer controlled the operations of the rocket from just before liftoff until the S-IVB was discarded. It included guidance and telemetry
Telemetry
Telemetry is a technology that allows measurements to be made at a distance, usually via radio wave transmission and reception of the information. The word is derived from Greek roots: tele = remote, and metron = measure...

 systems for the rocket. By measuring the acceleration and vehicle attitude, it could calculate the position and velocity of the rocket and correct for any deviations.

Range safety

In the event of an abort requiring the destruction of the rocket, the range safety officer would remotely shut down the engines and after several seconds send another command for the shaped explosive charges attached to the outer surfaces of the rocket to detonate. These would make cuts in fuel and oxidizer tanks to disperse the fuel quickly and to minimize mixing. The pause between these actions would give time for the crew to escape using the Launch Escape Tower or (in the later stages of the flight) the propulsion system of the Service module. A third command, "safe", was used after the S-IVB stage reached orbit to irreversibly deactivate the self-destruct system. The system was also inactive as long as the rocket was still on the launch pad.

Comparisons

The Soviet
Soviet space program
The Soviet space program is the rocketry and space exploration programs conducted by the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics from the 1930s until its dissolution in 1991...

 counterpart of the Saturn V was the N-1 rocket. The Saturn V was taller, heavier and had greater payload capacity, while the N-1 had more liftoff thrust and a larger first stage diameter. The N1 never became operational; four test launches each resulted in catastrophic vehicle failure early in flight, and the program was canceled. The first stage of Saturn V used five powerful engines rather than the 30 smaller engines of the N-1. During two launches, Apollo 6
Apollo 6
Apollo 6, launched on April 4, 1968, was the Apollo program's second and last A type mission—unmanned test flight of its Saturn V launch vehicle. It was intended to demonstrate full lunar injection capability of the Saturn V, and the capability of the Command Module's heat shield to withstand a...

 and Apollo 13
Apollo 13
Apollo 13 was the seventh manned mission in the American Apollo space program and the third intended to land on the Moon. The craft was launched on April 11, 1970, at 13:13 CST. The landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the service module upon which the Command...

, the Saturn V was able to recover from engine loss incidents. The N-1 likewise was designed to compensate for engine loss, but the system never successfully saved a launch from failure.

The three-stage Saturn V had a peak thrust of at least 34.02 meganewtons (7,648,000.2 lbf) (SA-510 and subsequent) and a lift capacity of 118,000 kg to LEO
Low Earth orbit
A low Earth orbit is generally defined as an orbit within the locus extending from the Earth’s surface up to an altitude of 2,000 km...

. The SA-510 mission (Apollo 15) had a liftoff thrust of 7823000 pound-forces (34.8 MN). The SA-513 mission (Skylab) had slightly greater liftoff thrust of 7891000 pound-forces (35.1 MN). By comparison, the N-1 had a sea-level liftoff thrust of about 9900000 pound-forces (44 MN). No other operational launch vehicle has ever surpassed the Saturn V in height, weight, or payload capability. The closest contenders were the US Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

 and the Soviet Energia
Energia
Energia was a Soviet rocket that was designed by NPO Energia to serve as a heavy-lift expendable launch system as well as a booster for the Buran spacecraft. Control system main developer enterprise was the NPO "Electropribor"...

.

The Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

 generated a peak thrust of 30.1 meganewtons (6,766,749.2 lbf), and payload capacity to LEO (excluding the Orbiter itself) was 28800 kilograms (63,493.1 lb), which was about 25 percent of the Saturn V's payload. Total mass in orbit, including the Orbiter, was about 112000 kilograms (246,917.7 lb), compared to the Apollo 15 total orbital mass of the S-IVB third stage and Apollo spacecraft, of 140976 kilograms (310,798.9 lb).

Energia
Energia
Energia was a Soviet rocket that was designed by NPO Energia to serve as a heavy-lift expendable launch system as well as a booster for the Buran spacecraft. Control system main developer enterprise was the NPO "Electropribor"...

 had the same liftoff thrust as SA-513, 35.1 meganewtons (7,890,793.9 lbf). The Energia had two test flights: one failure in 1987, and one successful launch of an unmanned Buran shuttle to orbit in 1988. The Energia and Buran programs were cancelled in 1993. Hypothetical future versions might have been significantly more powerful than the Saturn V, delivering 46 meganewtons (10,341,211.4 lbf) of thrust and able to deliver up to 175 tonnes (385,809 lb) to LEO in the "Vulkan" configuration. Planned uprated versions of the Saturn V using F-1A engines would have had about 18 percent more thrust and 137250 kilograms (302,584.5 lb) payload. NASA contemplated building larger members of the Saturn family, such as the Saturn C-8
Saturn C-8
The Saturn C-8 was the largest member of the Saturn series of rockets to be designed. It was a potential alternative to the Nova rocket, should NASA have chosen a direct-landing method of lunar exploration for the Apollo program. The first stage was an increased diameter version of the S-IC. The...

, and also unrelated rockets, such as Nova
Nova rocket
Nova was a series of proposed rocket designs, originally as NASA's first large launchers for missions similar to the production-level Saturn V, and later as larger follow-ons to the Saturn V intended for missions to Mars. The two series of designs were essentially separate, but shared their name...

, but these were never produced.

Some other recent launch vehicles have a small fraction of the Saturn V's payload capacity: the European Ariane 5
Ariane 5
Ariane 5 is, as a part of Ariane rocket family, an expendable launch system used to deliver payloads into geostationary transfer orbit or low Earth orbit . Ariane 5 rockets are manufactured under the authority of the European Space Agency and the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales...

 with the newest versions Ariane 5 ECA delivers up to 10,000 kg to geostationary transfer orbit
Geostationary transfer orbit
A geosynchronous transfer orbit or geostationary transfer orbit is a Hohmann transfer orbit used to reach geosynchronous or geostationary orbit....

 (GTO). The US Delta 4 Heavy, which launched a dummy satellite on December 21, 2004, has a capacity of 13,100 kg to geosynchronous transfer orbit. The yet to be flown Atlas V
Atlas V
Atlas V is an active expendable launch system in the Atlas rocket family. Atlas V was formerly operated by Lockheed Martin, and is now operated by the Lockheed Martin-Boeing joint venture United Launch Alliance...

 Heavy (using engines based on a Russian design) delivers up to 29,400 kg to LEO and 8,900 kg to GTO.

S-IC thrust comparisons

Because of its large size, attention is often focused on the S-IC
S-IC
The S-IC was the first stage of the Saturn V rocket. The S-IC first stage was built by The Boeing Company. Like the first stages of most rockets, most of its mass of over two thousand metric tonnes at launch was propellant, in this case RP-1 rocket fuel and liquid oxygen oxidizer...

 thrust and how this compares to other large rockets. However, several factors make such comparisons more complex than first appears:
  • Commonly referenced thrust numbers are a specification, not an actual measurement. Individual stages and engines may fall short or exceed the specification, sometimes significantly.
  • The F-1
    F-1 (rocket engine)
    The F-1 is a rocket engine developed by Rocketdyne and used in the Saturn V. Five F-1 engines were used in the S-IC first stage of each Saturn V, which served as the main launch vehicle in the Apollo program. The F-1 is still the most powerful single-chamber liquid-fueled rocket engine ever...

     thrust specification was uprated beginning with Apollo 15
    Apollo 15
    Apollo 15 was the ninth manned mission in the American Apollo space program, the fourth to land on the Moon and the eighth successful manned mission. It was the first of what were termed "J missions", long duration stays on the Moon with a greater focus on science than had been possible on previous...

     (SA-510) from 1.5 million lbf (6.67 MN) to 1.522 million lbf (6.77 MN), or 7.61 million lbf (33.85 MN) for the S-IC stage. The higher thrust was achieved via a redesign of the injector orifices and a slightly higher propellant mass flow rate. However, comparing the specified number to the actual measured thrust of 7.823 million lbf (34.8 MN) on Apollo 15 shows a significant difference.
  • There is no "bathroom scale" way to directly measure thrust of a rocket in flight. Rather a mathematical calculation is made from combustion chamber pressure, turbopump
    Turbopump
    A turbopump is a gas turbine that comprises basically two main components: a rotodynamic pump and a driving turbine, usually both mounted on the same shaft, or sometimes geared together...

     speed, calculated propellant density and flow rate, nozzle design, and atmospheric conditions, in particular, external pressure.
  • Thrust varies greatly with external pressure and thus, with altitude, even for a non-throttled engine. For example on Apollo 15, the calculated total liftoff thrust (based on actual measurements) was about 7.823 million lbf (34.8 MN), which increased to 9.18 million lbf (40.8 MN) at T+135 seconds, just before center engine cutoff (CECO), at which time the jet was heavily underexpanded.
  • Thrust specifications are often given as vacuum thrust (for upper stages) or sea level thrust (for lower stages or boosters), sometimes without qualifying which one. This can lead to incorrect comparisons.
  • Thrust specifications are often given as average thrust or peak thrust, sometimes without qualifying which one. Even for a non-throttled engine at a fixed altitude, thrust can often vary somewhat over the firing period due to several factors. These include intentional or unintentional mixture ratio changes, slight propellant density changes over the firing period, and variations in turbopump, nozzle and injector performance over the firing period.


Without knowing the exact measurement technique and mathematical method used to determine thrust for each different rocket, comparisons are often inexact. As the above shows, the specified thrust often differs significantly from actual flight thrust calculated from direct measurements. The thrust stated in various references is often not adequately qualified as to vacuum vs sea level, or peak vs average thrust.

Similarly, payload increases are often achieved in later missions independent of engine thrust. This is by weight reduction or trajectory reshaping.

The result is there is no single absolute figure for engine thrust, stage thrust or vehicle payload. There are specified values and actual flight values, and various ways of measuring and deriving those actual flight values.

The performance of each Saturn V launch was extensively analyzed and a Launch Evaluation Report produced for each mission, including a thrust/time graph for each vehicle stage on each mission.

Assembly

After the construction and ground testing of a stage was completed, it was then shipped to the Kennedy Space Center. The first two stages were so large that the only way to transport them was by barge. The S-IC, constructed in New Orleans, was transported down the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 to the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

. After rounding Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, it was then transported up the Intra-Coastal Waterway to the Vertical Assembly Building (now called the Vehicle Assembly Building). This is in essence the same route which was used by NASA to ship Space Shuttle External Tanks. The S-II was constructed in California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 and so traveled via the Panama Canal
Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a ship canal in Panama that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Built from 1904 to 1914, the canal has seen annual traffic rise from about 1,000 ships early on to 14,702 vessels measuring a total of 309.6...

. The third stage and Instrument Unit could be carried by the Aero Spacelines
Aero Spacelines
Aero Spacelines, Inc. was a United States aircraft manufacturer which made a name for itself by converting Boeing 377 Stratocruisers into the famous Guppy line of airplanes re-engineered solely for transporting over-sized cargo.- History :...

 Pregnant Guppy and Super Guppy
Aero Spacelines Super Guppy
|-See also:-References:NotesBibliography*Taylor, Michael J.H. . Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. Studio Editions. London. 1989. ISBN 0-517-69186-8-External links:* * *...

, but could also have been carried by barge if warranted.

On arrival at the Vertical Assembly Building, each stage was checked out in a horizontal position before being moved to a vertical position. NASA also constructed large spool-shaped structures that could be used in place of stages if a particular stage was late. These spools had the same height and mass and contained the same electrical connections as the actual stages.

NASA stacked or assembled the Saturn V on a Mobile Launcher Platform
Mobile Launcher Platform
The Mobile Launcher Platform or MLP is one of three two-story structures used by NASA to support the Space Shuttle stack during its transportation from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center as well as serve as the vehicle's launch platform...

 (MLP), which consisted of a Launch Umbilical Tower (LUT) with nine swing arms (including the crew access arm), a "hammerhead" crane, and a water suppression system which was activated prior to launch. After assembly was completed, the entire stack was moved from the VAB to the launch pad using the Crawler Transporter (CT). Built by the Marion Power Shovel
Marion Power Shovel
Marion Power Shovel Company designed, manufactured and sold steam shovels, excavators and dragline excavators for use in the construction and mining industries....

 company (and later used for transporting the smaller and lighter Space Shuttle), the CT ran on four double-tracked treads, each with 57 'shoes'. Each shoe weighed 900 kg (2,000 lb). This transporter was also required to keep the rocket level as it traveled the 3 miles (4.8 km) to the launch site, especially at the 3 percent grade encountered at the launch pad. The CT also carried the Mobile Service Structure (MSS), which allowed technicians access to the rocket until eight hours before launch, when it was moved to the "halfway" point on the Crawlerway (the junction between the VAB and the two launch pads).

Lunar mission launch sequence

The Saturn V carried all Apollo lunar missions. All Saturn V missions launched from Launch Complex 39 at the John F. Kennedy Space Center. After the rocket cleared the launch tower, flight control transferred to Johnson Space Center
Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
The Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's center for human spaceflight training, research and flight control. The center consists of a complex of 100 buildings constructed on 1,620 acres in Houston, Texas, USA...

's Mission Control in Houston, Texas
Houston, Texas
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the state of Texas. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of . Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of , which is the ...

.

An average mission used the rocket for a total of just 20 minutes. Although Apollo 6
Apollo 6
Apollo 6, launched on April 4, 1968, was the Apollo program's second and last A type mission—unmanned test flight of its Saturn V launch vehicle. It was intended to demonstrate full lunar injection capability of the Saturn V, and the capability of the Command Module's heat shield to withstand a...

 and Apollo 13
Apollo 13
Apollo 13 was the seventh manned mission in the American Apollo space program and the third intended to land on the Moon. The craft was launched on April 11, 1970, at 13:13 CST. The landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the service module upon which the Command...

 experienced engine failures, the onboard computers were able to compensate by burning the remaining engines longer, and none of the Apollo launches resulted in a payload loss.

S-IC sequence

The first stage burned for about 2 minutes and 41 seconds, lifting the rocket to an altitude of 42 miles (67.6 km) and a speed of 6164 miles per hour (2,755.6 m/s) and burning 4700000 pounds (2,131,884.1 kg) of propellant.

At 8.9 seconds before launch, the first stage ignition sequence started. The center engine ignited first, followed by opposing outboard pairs at 300-millisecond intervals to reduce the structural loads on the rocket. When thrust had been confirmed by the onboard computers, the rocket was "soft-released" in two stages: first, the hold-down arms released the rocket, and second, as the rocket began to accelerate upwards, it was slowed by tapered metal pins pulled through dies for half a second. Once the rocket had lifted off, it could not safely settle back down onto the pad if the engines failed. And it should be noted that this was considered by the Apollo astronauts as one of the most tense moments in riding the Saturn V, for if the rocket did fail to liftoff after release they would have the lowest chances of surviving a failed launch, given the great amount of hydrogen propellant in the rocket and the launch pad, that if a fully fueled Saturn V exploded on the pad, it would've had the force of a low-yield nuclear bomb, and it would be near impossible to clear the blast using the Launch Escape System.

It took about 12 seconds for the rocket to clear the tower. During this time, it yawed
Flight dynamics
Flight dynamics is the science of air vehicle orientation and control in three dimensions. The three critical flight dynamics parameters are the angles of rotation in three dimensions about the vehicle's center of mass, known as pitch, roll and yaw .Aerospace engineers develop control systems for...

 1.25 degrees away from the tower to ensure adequate clearance despite adverse winds. (This yaw, although small, can be seen in launch photos taken from the east or west.) At an altitude of 430 feet (131.1 m) the rocket rolled to the correct flight azimuth and then gradually pitched down until 38 seconds after second stage ignition. This pitch program was set according to the prevailing winds during the launch month. The four outboard engines also tilted toward the outside so that in the event of a premature outboard engine shutdown the remaining engines would thrust through the rocket's center of gravity
Center of gravity
In physics, a center of gravity of a material body is a point that may be used for a summary description of gravitational interactions. In a uniform gravitational field, the center of mass serves as the center of gravity...

. The Saturn V reached 400 feet per second (121.9 m/s) at over 1 miles (1,609.3 m) in altitude. Much of the early portion of the flight was spent gaining altitude, with the required velocity coming later. The Saturn V broke the sound barrier at just over 1 minute at an altitude of between 3 and 4 nautical miles. At this point, shock collars, or condensation clouds, could be seen forming around the bottom of the command module and around the top of the second stage.
At about 80 seconds, the rocket experienced maximum dynamic pressure (max Q
Max Q
In aerospace engineering, the maximum dynamic pressure, often referred to as maximum Q or max Q, is the point at which aerodynamic stress on a vehicle in atmospheric flight is maximized...

). The dynamic pressure on a rocket varies with air density and the square of relative velocity. Although velocity continues to increase, air density decreases so quickly with altitude that dynamic pressure falls below max Q.

Acceleration increased during S-IC flight for two reasons: decreasing propellant mass, and increasing thrust as F-1 engine efficiency improved in the thinner air at altitude. At 135 seconds, the inboard (center) engine shut down to limit acceleration to 4 g
G-force
The g-force associated with an object is its acceleration relative to free-fall. This acceleration experienced by an object is due to the vector sum of non-gravitational forces acting on an object free to move. The accelerations that are not produced by gravity are termed proper accelerations, and...

 (39.2 m/s2). The other engines continued to burn until either oxidizer or fuel depletion is detected by sensors in the suction assemblies. First stage separation was a little less than one second after cutoff to allow for F-1 thrust tail-off. Eight small solid fuel separation motors backed the S-IC from the interstage at an altitude of about 67 kilometres (41.6 mi). The first stage continued ballistically to an altitude of about 109 kilometres (67.7 mi) and then fell in the Atlantic Ocean about 560 kilometres (348 mi) downrange.

S-II sequence

After S-IC separation, the S-II second stage burned for 6 minutes and propelled the craft to 109 miles (175.4 km) and 15,647 mph (25,182 km/h– 7.00 km/s), close to orbital velocity
Orbital velocity
Orbital velocity can refer to the following:* The orbital speed of a body in a gravitational field.* The velocity of particles due to wave motion, in particular in wind waves....

.

For the first two unmanned launches, eight solid-fuel ullage motor
Ullage motor
Ullage motors are relatively small, independently-fueled rocket engines that may be fired to accelerate the rocket prior to main engine ignition, when the vehicle is in a zero-g situation....

s ignited for four seconds to give positive acceleration to the S-II stage, followed by start of the five J-2 engines. For the first seven manned Apollo missions only four ullage motors were used on the S-II, and they were eliminated completely for the final four launches. About 30 seconds after first stage separation, the interstage ring dropped from the second stage. This was done with an inertially fixed attitude so that the interstage, only 1 meter from the outboard J-2 engines, would fall cleanly without contacting them. Shortly after interstage separation the Launch Escape System
Launch escape system
A Launch Escape System is a top-mounted rocket connected to the crew module of a crewed spacecraft and used to quickly separate the crew module from the rest of the rocket in case of emergency. Since the escape rockets are above the crew module, an LES typically uses separate nozzles which are...

 was also jettisoned. See Apollo abort modes
Apollo abort modes
During the launch of an Apollo spacecraft by the Saturn V rocket, the flight could be aborted to rescue the crew if the rocket failed catastrophically. Depending on how far into the flight the crew were, they would use different procedures or modes...

 for more information about the various abort modes that could have been used during a launch.

About 38 seconds after the second stage ignition the Saturn V switched from a preprogrammed trajectory to a "closed loop" or Iterative Guidance Mode. The Instrument Unit now computed in real time the most fuel-efficient trajectory toward its target orbit. If the Instrument Unit failed, the crew could switch control of the Saturn to the Command Module's computer, take manual control, or abort the flight.

About 90 seconds before the second stage cutoff, the center engine shut down to reduce longitudinal pogo oscillation
Pogo oscillation
Pogo oscillation is a potentially dangerous type of self-excited combustion oscillation in liquid fuel rocket engines. This oscillation results in variations of thrust from the engines, causing variations of acceleration on the rocket's structure, giving variations in fuel pressure and flow rate....

s. At around this time, the LOX flow rate decreased, changing the mix ratio of the two propellants, ensuring that there would be as little propellant as possible left in the tanks at the end of second stage flight. This was done at a predetermined delta-v
Delta-v
In astrodynamics a Δv or delta-v is a scalar which takes units of speed. It is a measure of the amount of "effort" that is needed to change from one trajectory to another by making an orbital maneuver....

.

Five level sensors in the bottom of each S-II propellant tank were armed during S-II flight, allowing any two to trigger S-II cutoff and staging when they were uncovered. One second after the second stage cut off it separated and several seconds later the third stage ignited. Solid fuel retro-rockets mounted on the interstage at the top of the S-II fired to back it away from the S-IVB. The S-II
S-II
The S-II was the second stage of the Saturn V rocket. It was built by North American Aviation. Using liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen it had five J-2 engines in a cross pattern...

 impacted about 4200 km (2,609.8 mi) from the launch site.

On the Apollo 13
Apollo 13
Apollo 13 was the seventh manned mission in the American Apollo space program and the third intended to land on the Moon. The craft was launched on April 11, 1970, at 13:13 CST. The landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the service module upon which the Command...

 mission, the inboard engine suffered from major pogo oscillation, resulting in an early automatic cutoff. To ensure sufficient velocity was reached, the remaining four engines were kept active for longer than planned. A pogo suppressor was fitted to later Apollo missions to avoid this, though the early engine 5 cutoff remained to reduce G-forces.

S-IVB sequence

Unlike the two-plane separation of the S-IC and S-II, the S-II and S-IVB stages separated with a single step. Although it was constructed as part of the third stage, the interstage remained attached to the second stage.

During Apollo 11
Apollo 11
In early 1969, Bill Anders accepted a job with the National Space Council effective in August 1969 and announced his retirement as an astronaut. At that point Ken Mattingly was moved from the support crew into parallel training with Anders as backup Command Module Pilot in case Apollo 11 was...

, a typical lunar mission, the third stage burned for about 2.5 minutes until first cutoff at 11 minutes 40 seconds. At this point it was 1640 miles (2,639.3 km)  downrange and in a parking orbit at an altitude of 118.8 miles (191.2 km)  and velocity of 17,432 mph. The third stage remained attached to the spacecraft while it orbit
Orbit
In physics, an orbit is the gravitationally curved path of an object around a point in space, for example the orbit of a planet around the center of a star system, such as the Solar System...

ed the Earth two and a half times while astronauts and mission controllers prepared for translunar injection (TLI).
This parking orbit was quite low by Earth orbit standards, and it would have been short-lived due to aerodynamic drag. This was not a problem on a lunar mission because of the short stay in the parking orbit. The S-IVB also continued to thrust at a low level by venting gaseous hydrogen, to keep propellants settled in their tanks and prevent gaseous cavities from forming in propellant feed lines. This venting also maintained safe pressures as liquid hydrogen boiled off in the fuel tank. This venting thrust easily exceeded aerodynamic drag.

For the final three Apollo flights, the temporary parking orbit was even lower (approximately 172 kilometres (106.9 mi)), to increase payload for these missions. The Apollo 9
Apollo 9
Apollo 9, the third manned mission in the American Apollo space program, was the first flight of the Command/Service Module with the Lunar Module...

 Earth orbit mission was launched into the nominal orbit consistent with Apollo 11, but the spacecraft were able to use their own engines to raise the perigee high enough to sustain the 10-day mission. The Skylab
Skylab
Skylab was a space station launched and operated by NASA, the space agency of the United States. Skylab orbited the Earth from 1973 to 1979, and included a workshop, a solar observatory, and other systems. It was launched unmanned by a modified Saturn V rocket, with a mass of...

 was launched into a quite different orbit, with a 434 kilometres (269.7 mi) perigee which sustained it for six years, and also a higher inclination to the equator
Equator
An equator is the intersection of a sphere's surface with the plane perpendicular to the sphere's axis of rotation and containing the sphere's center of mass....

 (50 degrees versus 32.5 degrees for Apollo).

On Apollo 11, TLI came at 2 hours and 44 minutes after launch. The S-IVB burned for almost six minutes giving the spacecraft a velocity close to the Earth's escape velocity of 11.2 km/s (40,320 km/h; 25,053 mph). This gave an energy-efficient transfer to lunar orbit with the moon helping to capture the spacecraft with a minimum of CSM fuel consumption.

About 40 minutes after TLI the Apollo Command Service Module (CSM) separated from the third stage, turned 180 degrees and docked with the Lunar Module (LM) that rode below the CSM during launch. The CSM and LM separated from the spent third stage 50 minutes later.

If it were to remain on the same trajectory as the spacecraft, the S-IVB could have presented a collision hazard so its remaining propellants were vented and the auxiliary propulsion system fired to move it away. For lunar missions before Apollo 13
Apollo 13
Apollo 13 was the seventh manned mission in the American Apollo space program and the third intended to land on the Moon. The craft was launched on April 11, 1970, at 13:13 CST. The landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the service module upon which the Command...

, the S-IVB was directed toward the moon's trailing edge in its orbit so that the moon would slingshot
Gravitational slingshot
In orbital mechanics and aerospace engineering, a gravitational slingshot, gravity assist maneuver, or swing-by is the use of the relative movement and gravity of a planet or other celestial body to alter the path and speed of a spacecraft, typically in order to save propellant, time, and expense...

 it beyond earth escape velocity and into solar orbit. From Apollo 13 onwards, controllers directed the S-IVB to hit the Moon. Seismometer
Seismometer
Seismometers are instruments that measure motions of the ground, including those of seismic waves generated by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other seismic sources...

s left behind by previous missions detected the impacts, and the information helped map the inside of the Moon.

Apollo 9 was a special case; although it was an earth orbital mission, after spacecraft separation its S-IVB was fired out of earth orbit into a solar orbit.

On September 3, 2002, astronomer
Astronomer
An astronomer is a scientist who studies celestial bodies such as planets, stars and galaxies.Historically, astronomy was more concerned with the classification and description of phenomena in the sky, while astrophysics attempted to explain these phenomena and the differences between them using...

 Bill Yeung discovered a suspected asteroid
Asteroid
Asteroids are a class of small Solar System bodies in orbit around the Sun. They have also been called planetoids, especially the larger ones...

, which was given the discovery designation J002E3
J002E3
J002E3 is the designation given to a supposed asteroid discovered by amateur astronomer Bill Yeung on September 3, 2002. Further examination revealed the object was not a rock asteroid but instead the S-IVB third stage of the Apollo 12 Saturn V rocket .When it was first discovered it was quickly...

. It appeared to be in orbit around the Earth, and was soon discovered from spectral analysis to be covered in white titanium dioxide
Titanium dioxide
Titanium dioxide, also known as titanium oxide or titania, is the naturally occurring oxide of titanium, chemical formula . When used as a pigment, it is called titanium white, Pigment White 6, or CI 77891. Generally it comes in two different forms, rutile and anatase. It has a wide range of...

 paint, the same paint used for the Saturn V. Calculation of orbital parameters identified the apparent asteroid as being the Apollo 12 S-IVB stage. Mission controllers had planned to send Apollo 12's S-IVB into solar orbit, but the burn after separating from the Apollo spacecraft lasted too long, and hence it did not pass close enough to the Moon, remaining in a barely stable orbit around the Earth and Moon. In 1971, through a series of gravitational perturbations, it is believed to have entered in a solar orbit and then returned into weakly captured Earth orbit 31 years later. It left Earth orbit again in June 2003. Another near-earth object
Near-Earth object
A near-Earth object is a Solar System object whose orbit brings it into close proximity with the Earth. All NEOs have a perihelion distance less than 1.3 AU. They include a few thousand near-Earth asteroids , near-Earth comets, a number of solar-orbiting spacecraft, and meteoroids large enough to...

, discovered in 2006 and designated 6Q0B44E
6Q0B44E
6Q0B44E, sometimes abbreviated to B44E, is a small object, probably an item of space debris, currently orbiting the Earth outside the orbit of the Moon....

, may also be part of an Apollo spacecraft.

Skylab

In 1968, the Apollo Applications Program
Apollo Applications program
The Apollo Applications Program was established by NASA headquarters in 1968 to develop science-based manned space missions using surplus material from the Apollo program...

 was created to look into science missions that could be performed with the surplus Apollo hardware. Much of the planning centered on the idea of a space station, which eventually spawned the Skylab
Skylab
Skylab was a space station launched and operated by NASA, the space agency of the United States. Skylab orbited the Earth from 1973 to 1979, and included a workshop, a solar observatory, and other systems. It was launched unmanned by a modified Saturn V rocket, with a mass of...

 program. Skylab was launched using a two-stage Saturn V, sometimes called a Saturn INT-21
Saturn INT-21
The Saturn INT-21 was a study for an American orbital launch vehicle of the 1970s. It was derived from the Saturn V rocket used for the Apollo program, using its first and second stages, but lacking the third stage. The guidance unit would be moved from the top of the third stage to the top of the...

. It was the only launch not directly related to the Apollo lunar landing program. The only significant changes to the Saturn V from the Apollo configurations involved some modification to the S-II
S-II
The S-II was the second stage of the Saturn V rocket. It was built by North American Aviation. Using liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen it had five J-2 engines in a cross pattern...

 to act as the terminal stage for inserting the Skylab payload into earth orbit, and to vent excess propellent after engine cutoff so the spent stage would not rupture in orbit. The S-II remained in orbit for almost two years, and made an uncontrolled re-entry on January 11, 1975.

Originally it was planned to use a 'wet workshop
Wet workshop
Wet workshop is the idea of using a spent rocket stage as a makeshift space station. A liquid-fuel rocket primarily consists of two large, airtight fuel tanks; it was realized that the fuel tanks could be retrofitted into the living quarters of a space station. A large rocket stage would reach a...

' concept, with a rocket stage being launched into orbit by a Saturn 1B and its spent S-IVB outfitted in space, but this was abandoned for the 'dry workshop
Wet workshop
Wet workshop is the idea of using a spent rocket stage as a makeshift space station. A liquid-fuel rocket primarily consists of two large, airtight fuel tanks; it was realized that the fuel tanks could be retrofitted into the living quarters of a space station. A large rocket stage would reach a...

' concept: An S-IVB stage from a Saturn IB was converted into a space station on the ground and launched on a Saturn V. A backup, constructed from a Saturn V third stage, is now on display at the National Air and Space Museum
National Air and Space Museum
The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution holds the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world. It was established in 1976. Located in Washington, D.C., United States, it is a center for research into the history and science of aviation and...

.

Three crews lived aboard Skylab from May 25, 1973 to February 8, 1974, with Skylab remaining in orbit until July 11, 1979.

Proposed post-Apollo developments

The (canceled) second production run of Saturn Vs would very likely have used the F-1A engine in its first stage, providing a substantial performance boost. Other likely changes would have been the removal of the fins (which turned out to provide little benefit when compared to their weight); a stretched S-IC first stage to support the more powerful F-1As; and uprated J-2s for the upper stages.

A number of alternate Saturn vehicles were proposed based on the Saturn V, ranging from the Saturn INT-20
Saturn INT-20
The Saturn INT-20 was a proposed intermediate payload follow-on from the Apollo Saturn V launch vehicle. An interstage would be fitted on top of the S-IC stage to support the S-IVB stage, so it could be considered either a retrofitted Saturn IB with a more powerful first stage, or a stubby,...

 with an S-IVB
S-IVB
The S-IVB was built by the Douglas Aircraft Company and served as the third stage on the Saturn V and second stage on the Saturn IB. It had one J-2 engine...

 stage and interstage mounted directly onto an S-IC
S-IC
The S-IC was the first stage of the Saturn V rocket. The S-IC first stage was built by The Boeing Company. Like the first stages of most rockets, most of its mass of over two thousand metric tonnes at launch was propellant, in this case RP-1 rocket fuel and liquid oxygen oxidizer...

 stage, through to the Saturn V-23(L) which would not only have five F-1 engines in the first stage, but also four strap-on boosters with two F-1 engines each: giving a total of thirteen F-1 engines firing at launch.

The Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

 was initially conceived of as a cargo transport to be used in concert with the Saturn V, even to the point that a "Saturn-Shuttle
Saturn-Shuttle
The Saturn-Shuttle was a proposed interface of the Space Shuttle orbiter and external tank with the S-IC stage on the Saturn V rocket. An interstage would be fitted on top of the S-IC stage to support the external tank, formerly occupied by the S-II stage, so that NASA would have been able to steer...

," using the orbiter and external tank, but with the tank mounted on a modified, fly-back version of the S-IC, would be used to power the Shuttle during the first two minutes of flight, after which the S-IC would be jettisoned (which would then fly back to KSC for refurbishment) and the Space Shuttle Main Engine
Space Shuttle main engine
The RS-25, otherwise known as the Space Shuttle Main Engine , is a reusable liquid-fuel rocket engine built by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne for the Space Shuttle, running on liquid hydrogen and oxygen. Each Space Shuttle was propelled by three SSMEs mated to one powerhead...

s would then fire and place the orbiter into orbit. The Shuttle would handle space station
Space station
A space station is a spacecraft capable of supporting a crew which is designed to remain in space for an extended period of time, and to which other spacecraft can dock. A space station is distinguished from other spacecraft used for human spaceflight by its lack of major propulsion or landing...

 logistics, while Saturn V would launch components. Lack of a second Saturn V production run killed this plan and has left the United States without a heavy-lift booster. Some in the U.S. space community have come to lament this situation, as continued production would have allowed the International Space Station
International Space Station
The International Space Station is a habitable, artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS follows the Salyut, Almaz, Cosmos, Skylab, and Mir space stations, as the 11th space station launched, not including the Genesis I and II prototypes...

, using a Skylab or Mir
Mir
Mir was a space station operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001, at first by the Soviet Union and then by Russia. Assembled in orbit from 1986 to 1996, Mir was the first modular space station and had a greater mass than that of any previous spacecraft, holding the record for the...

 configuration with both U.S. and Russian docking ports, to have been lifted with just a handful of launches, with the "Saturn Shuttle" concept possibly eliminating the conditions that caused the Challenger Disaster
Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986, when Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members. The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of central Florida at 11:38 am EST...

 in 1986.

The Saturn V would have been the prime launch vehicle for the canceled Voyager Mars probes
Voyager program (Mars)
The Voyager Mars Program was a planned series of unmanned NASA probes to the planet Mars. The missions were planned, as part of the Apollo Applications Program, between 1966 and 1968 and were scheduled for launch in 1974–75...

, and was to have been the launch vehicle for the nuclear rocket stage RIFT
Rift
In geology, a rift or chasm is a place where the Earth's crust and lithosphere are being pulled apart and is an example of extensional tectonics....

 test program and the later NERVA
NERVA
NERVA is an acronym for Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application, a joint program of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and NASA managed by the Space Nuclear Propulsion Office until both the program and the office ended at the end of 1972....

.

Proposed successors

U.S. proposals for a rocket larger than the Saturn V from the late 1950s through the early 1980s were generally called Nova
Nova rocket
Nova was a series of proposed rocket designs, originally as NASA's first large launchers for missions similar to the production-level Saturn V, and later as larger follow-ons to the Saturn V intended for missions to Mars. The two series of designs were essentially separate, but shared their name...

. Over thirty different large rocket proposals carried the Nova name, but none were developed.

Wernher von Braun
Wernher von Braun
Wernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun was a German rocket scientist, aerospace engineer, space architect, and one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology in Nazi Germany during World War II and in the United States after that.A former member of the Nazi party,...

 and others also had plans for a rocket that would have featured eight F-1 engines in its first stage allowing it to launch a manned spacecraft on a direct ascent
Direct ascent
Direct ascent was a proposed method for a mission to the Moon. In the United States, direct ascent proposed using the enormous Nova rocket to launch a spacecraft directly to the Moon, where it would land tail-first and then launch off the Moon back to Earth...

 flight to the Moon. Other plans for the Saturn V called for using a Centaur as an upper stage or adding strap-on boosters. These enhancements would have increased its ability to send large unmanned spacecraft to the outer planet
Planet
A planet is a celestial body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and has cleared its neighbouring region of planetesimals.The term planet is ancient, with ties to history, science,...

s or manned spacecraft to Mars
Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

.

In 2006, as part of the cancelled Constellation Program that would have replaced the Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

, NASA unveiled plans to construct the heavy-lift Ares V
Ares V
The Ares V was the planned cargo launch component of the Constellation program, which was to have replaced the Space Shuttle after its retirement in 2011. Ares V was also planned to carry supplies for a human presence on Mars...

 rocket, a Shuttle Derived Launch Vehicle using some existing Space Shuttle and Saturn V infrastructure. Named in homage of the Saturn V, the original design, based on the Space Shuttle External Tank, was 360 ft (109.7 m) tall, and powered by five Space Shuttle Main Engine
Space Shuttle main engine
The RS-25, otherwise known as the Space Shuttle Main Engine , is a reusable liquid-fuel rocket engine built by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne for the Space Shuttle, running on liquid hydrogen and oxygen. Each Space Shuttle was propelled by three SSMEs mated to one powerhead...

s (SSMEs) and two uprated five-segment Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster
Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster
The Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters were the pair of large solid rockets used by the United States' NASA Space Shuttle during the first two minutes of powered flight. Together they provided about 83% of liftoff thrust for the Space Shuttle. They were located on either side of the rusty or...

s, which a modified variation would be used for the crew-launched Ares I
Ares I
Ares I was the crew launch vehicle that was being developed by NASA as part of the Constellation Program. The name "Ares" refers to the Greek deity Ares, who is identified with the Roman god Mars...

 rocket. As the design evolved, the Ares V was slightly modified, with the same 33 ft (10.1 m) diameter as that of the Saturn V's S-IC and S-II stages, and in place of the five SSMEs, five RS-68 rocket engines, the same engines used on the Delta IV EELV
EELV
Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle is an expendable launch system program of the United States Air Force , intended to assure access to space for Department of Defense and other United States government payloads...

, would be used. The switch from the SSME to the RS-68 was due to the steep price of the SSME, as that it would be thrown away along with the Ares V core stage after each use, while the RS-68 engine, which is expendable, is cheaper, simpler to manufacture, and more powerful than the SSME.

In 2008, NASA again redesigned the Ares V, lengthening and widening the core stage and added an extra RS-68 engine, giving the launch vehicle a total of six engines. The six RS-68B engines, during launch, would have been augmented by two "5.5-segment" SRBs instead of the original five-segment designs, although no decision was made on the number of segments NASA would have used on the final design. If the six RS-68B/5.5-segment SRB variant had been used, the vehicle would have had a total of approximately 8900000 lbf (39.6 MN) of thrust at liftoff, making it more powerful than the Saturn V or the Soviet/Russian Energia
Energia
Energia was a Soviet rocket that was designed by NPO Energia to serve as a heavy-lift expendable launch system as well as a booster for the Buran spacecraft. Control system main developer enterprise was the NPO "Electropribor"...

 boosters, but less than 50–43 MN for the Soviet N-1. An upper stage, known as the Earth Departure Stage
Earth Departure Stage
The Ares V Earth Departure Stage was a rocket stage which NASA planned to design at its Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama as part of Project Constellation...

 and based on the S-IVB, would have utilized a more advanced version of the J-2 engine known as the "J-2X," and would have placed the Altair
Lunar Surface Access Module
The Altair spacecraft, previously known as the Lunar Surface Access Module or LSAM, was the planned lander spacecraft component of NASA's cancelled Project Constellation. Astronauts would have used the spacecraft for landings on the Moon, which had been intended to begin around 2019...

 lunar landing vehicle into a low earth orbit
Low Earth orbit
A low Earth orbit is generally defined as an orbit within the locus extending from the Earth’s surface up to an altitude of 2,000 km...

. At 381 ft (116.1 m) tall and with the capability of placing 180 tons into low Earth orbit, the Ares V would have surpassed the Saturn V and the two Soviet/Russian superboosters in both height, lift, and launch capability.

The RS-68B engines, based on the current RS-68 and RS-68A engines built by the Rocketdyne Division of Pratt and Whitney (formerly under the ownerships of Boeing
Boeing
The Boeing Company is an American multinational aerospace and defense corporation, founded in 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington. Boeing has expanded over the years, merging with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Boeing Corporate headquarters has been in Chicago, Illinois since 2001...

 and Rockwell International
Rockwell International
Rockwell International was a major American manufacturing conglomerate in the latter half of the 20th century, involved in aircraft, the space industry, both defense-oriented and commercial electronics, automotive and truck components, printing presses, valves and meters, and industrial automation....

), produce less than half the thrust per engine as the Saturn V's F-1 engines, but are more efficient and can be throttled up or down, much like the SSMEs on the Shuttle. The J-2
J-2 (rocket engine)
Rocketdyne's J-2 rocket engine was a major component of the Saturn V rocket used in the Apollo program to send men to the Moon. Five J-2 engines were used on the S-II second stage, and one J-2 was used on the S-IVB third stage. The S-IVB was also used as the second stage of the smaller Saturn IB...

 engine used on the S-II and S-IVB would have been modified into the improved J-2X engine for use both on the Earth Departure Stage
Earth Departure Stage
The Ares V Earth Departure Stage was a rocket stage which NASA planned to design at its Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama as part of Project Constellation...

 (EDS) as well as on the second stage of the proposed Ares I
Ares I
Ares I was the crew launch vehicle that was being developed by NASA as part of the Constellation Program. The name "Ares" refers to the Greek deity Ares, who is identified with the Roman god Mars...

. Both the EDS and the Ares I second stage would have used a single J-2X motor, although the EDS was originally designed to use two motors until the redesign employing the five (later six) RS-68Bs in place of the five SSMEs.

In September 2011, NASA announced the Space Launch System
Space Launch System
The Space Launch System, or SLS, is a Space Shuttle-derived heavy launch vehicle being designed by NASA, following the cancellation of the Constellation Program, to replace the retired Space Shuttle. The NASA Authorization Act of 2010 envisions the transformation of the Ares I and Ares V vehicle...

 (SLS) as the United State's new heavy-lift rocket for manned deep-space exploration, and which will be comparable in size and capabilities to the Saturn V. The new SLS has an upper-stage powered by a J2-X engine derived from the Saturn V launch vehicle, the first stage powered by five liquid-fueled rocket engines derived from the Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

's main engines, along with two strap-on SRBs also derived from the Shuttle program. The initial configuration of the new booster as proposed by NASA could lift approximately 70 metric tons to LEO, with later variants possibly lifting up to 130 metric tons.

Cost

From 1964 until 1973, a total of $
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

6.5 billion ($ billion present day) was appropriated for the Saturn V, with the maximum being in 1966 with $1.2 billion ($ billion present day).

One of the main reasons for the cancellation of the Apollo program was the cost. In 1966, NASA received its biggest budget of US$4.5 billion, about 0.5 percent of the GDP
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 of the United States at that time. In 1969, the cost of a Saturn V including launch was US $ 185 million (inflation adjusted US$ billion in ).

Saturn V vehicles and launches

Serial
Number
Mission Launch
Date
Notes
SA-500F
SA-500F
SA-500F was a dummy Saturn V used by NASA to test facilities at Launch Complex 39 at the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida during 1966...

Facilities integration Used to check precise fits and operations of facilities
before a flight model was ready. First stage scrapped,
second stage converted to S-II
S-II
The S-II was the second stage of the Saturn V rocket. It was built by North American Aviation. Using liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen it had five J-2 engines in a cross pattern...

-F/D, third stage whereabouts unknown.
SA-500D Dynamic testing Used to evaluate the systems' response to vibrations.
On display at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville
Huntsville, Alabama
Huntsville is a city located primarily in Madison County in the central part of the far northern region of the U.S. state of Alabama. Huntsville is the county seat of Madison County. The city extends west into neighboring Limestone County. Huntsville's population was 180,105 as of the 2010 Census....

, Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

 
SA-501 Apollo 4
Apollo 4
Apollo 4, , was the first unmanned test flight of the Saturn V launch vehicle, which was ultimately used by the Apollo program to send the first men to the Moon...

November 9, 1967 First test flight (unmanned), complete success
SA-502 Apollo 6
Apollo 6
Apollo 6, launched on April 4, 1968, was the Apollo program's second and last A type mission—unmanned test flight of its Saturn V launch vehicle. It was intended to demonstrate full lunar injection capability of the Saturn V, and the capability of the Command Module's heat shield to withstand a...

April 4, 1968 Second test flight (unmanned), with some serious
second and third stage problems occurring
SA-503 Apollo 8
Apollo 8
Apollo 8, the second manned mission in the American Apollo space program, was the first human spaceflight to leave Earth orbit; the first to be captured by and escape from the gravitational field of another celestial body; and the first crewed voyage to return to Earth from another celestial...

December 21, 1968 First manned flight of Saturn V, first manned lunar orbit
SA-504 Apollo 9
Apollo 9
Apollo 9, the third manned mission in the American Apollo space program, was the first flight of the Command/Service Module with the Lunar Module...

March 3, 1969 Earth orbit LM test
SA-505 Apollo 10
Apollo 10
Apollo 10 was the fourth manned mission in the American Apollo space program. It was an F type mission—its purpose was to be a "dry run" for the Apollo 11 mission, testing all of the procedures and components of a Moon landing without actually landing on the Moon itself. The mission included the...

May 18, 1969 Lunar orbit LM test
SA-506 Apollo 11
Apollo 11
In early 1969, Bill Anders accepted a job with the National Space Council effective in August 1969 and announced his retirement as an astronaut. At that point Ken Mattingly was moved from the support crew into parallel training with Anders as backup Command Module Pilot in case Apollo 11 was...

July 16, 1969 First manned lunar landing
SA-507 Apollo 12
Apollo 12
Apollo 12 was the sixth manned flight in the American Apollo program and the second to land on the Moon . It was launched on November 14, 1969 from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, four months after Apollo 11. Mission commander Charles "Pete" Conrad and Lunar Module Pilot Alan L...

November 14, 1969 Landed near Surveyor 3. Vehicle was struck twice
by lightning shortly after liftoff with no serious damage.
SA-508 Apollo 13
Apollo 13
Apollo 13 was the seventh manned mission in the American Apollo space program and the third intended to land on the Moon. The craft was launched on April 11, 1970, at 13:13 CST. The landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the service module upon which the Command...

April 11, 1970 Severe, near catastrophic pogo oscillations in second stage
caused early center engine shutdown. Service Module O2 tank rupture
caused mission abort en route to moon, crew saved.
SA-509 Apollo 14
Apollo 14
Apollo 14 was the eighth manned mission in the American Apollo program, and the third to land on the Moon. It was the last of the "H missions", targeted landings with two-day stays on the Moon with two lunar EVAs, or moonwalks....

January 31, 1971 Third manned lunar landing, near Fra Mauro
Fra Mauro (crater)
Fra Mauro is the worn remnant of a walled lunar plain. It is part of the surrounding Fra Mauro formation, being located to the northeast of Mare Cognitum and southeast of Mare Insularum...

SA-510 Apollo 15
Apollo 15
Apollo 15 was the ninth manned mission in the American Apollo space program, the fourth to land on the Moon and the eighth successful manned mission. It was the first of what were termed "J missions", long duration stays on the Moon with a greater focus on science than had been possible on previous...

July 26, 1971 First Lunar Rover
SA-511 Apollo 16
Apollo 16
Young and Duke served as the backup crew for Apollo 13; Mattingly was slated to be the Apollo 13 command module pilot until being pulled from the mission due to his exposure to rubella through Duke.-Backup crew:...

April 16, 1972 Fifth manned lunar landing, at Descartes
SA-512 Apollo 17
Apollo 17
Apollo 17 was the eleventh and final manned mission in the American Apollo space program. Launched at 12:33 a.m. EST on December 7, 1972, with a three-member crew consisting of Commander Eugene Cernan, Command Module Pilot Ronald Evans, and Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 17 remains the...

December 6, 1972 First and only night launch; final Apollo lunar mission
SA-513 Skylab 1
Skylab
Skylab was a space station launched and operated by NASA, the space agency of the United States. Skylab orbited the Earth from 1973 to 1979, and included a workshop, a solar observatory, and other systems. It was launched unmanned by a modified Saturn V rocket, with a mass of...

May 14, 1973 Two-stage Skylab version (Saturn INT-21
Saturn INT-21
The Saturn INT-21 was a study for an American orbital launch vehicle of the 1970s. It was derived from the Saturn V rocket used for the Apollo program, using its first and second stages, but lacking the third stage. The guidance unit would be moved from the top of the third stage to the top of the...

).
The third stage (S IV-513) was replaced for flight by the Skylab module
and is on display at Johnson Space Center.
SA-514 Unused Designated but never used for Apollo 18 or 19.
First stage (S-IC-14) on display at Johnson Space Center,
second stage (S-IC-T) on display at Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center
The John F. Kennedy Space Center is the NASA installation that has been the launch site for every United States human space flight since 1968. Although such flights are currently on hiatus, KSC continues to manage and operate unmanned rocket launch facilities for America's civilian space program...

.
SA-515 Unused Designated but never used as a backup Skylab launch vehicle.
The first stage is on display at Michoud Assembly Facility
Michoud Assembly Facility
The Michoud Assembly Facility is an 832-acre site owned by NASA and located in New Orleans East, a large district within the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. Organizationally, it is part of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center...

.
The second stage (S-II-15) is on display at Johnson Space Center.
The third stage was converted to a backup Skylab orbital workshop
and is on display at the National Air and Space Museum
National Air and Space Museum
The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution holds the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world. It was established in 1976. Located in Washington, D.C., United States, it is a center for research into the history and science of aviation and...

.

Saturn V displays

  • Two at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville:
  • SA-500D is on horizontal display made up of S-IC-D, S-II-F/D and S-IVB-D. These were all test stages not meant for flight. This vehicle was displayed outdoors from 1969 to 2007 (there is a poignant photo above of Wernher von Braun
    Wernher von Braun
    Wernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun was a German rocket scientist, aerospace engineer, space architect, and one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology in Nazi Germany during World War II and in the United States after that.A former member of the Nazi party,...

     next to it), was restored, and is now displayed in the Davidson Center for Space Exploration.
  • Vertical display (replica) built in 1999 located in an adjacent area.

  • One at the Johnson Space Center
    Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
    The Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's center for human spaceflight training, research and flight control. The center consists of a complex of 100 buildings constructed on 1,620 acres in Houston, Texas, USA...

     made up of first stage from SA-514, the second stage from SA-515 and the third stage from SA-513 (replaced for flight by the Skylab workshop). With stages arriving between 1977 and 1979, this was displayed in the open until its 2005 restoration when a structure was built around it for protection. This is the only display Saturn consisting entirely of stages intended to be launched.

  • One at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
    Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
    The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is the visitor center at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It features exhibits and displays, historic spacecraft and memorabilia, shows, two IMAX theaters, a range of bus tours of the spaceport, and the Shuttle Launch Experience, a simulated ride into...

     made up of S-IC-T (test stage) and the second and third stages from SA-514. It was displayed outdoors for decades, then in 1996 was enclosed for protection from the elements in the Apollo/Saturn V Center.

  • The S-IC stage from SA-515 is on display at the Michoud Assembly Facility
    Michoud Assembly Facility
    The Michoud Assembly Facility is an 832-acre site owned by NASA and located in New Orleans East, a large district within the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. Organizationally, it is part of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center...

     in New Orleans, Louisiana
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

    .
  • The S-IVB stage from SA-515 was converted for use as a backup for Skylab, and is on display at the National Air and Space Museum
    National Air and Space Museum
    The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution holds the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world. It was established in 1976. Located in Washington, D.C., United States, it is a center for research into the history and science of aviation and...

     in Washington, D.C.
    Washington, D.C.
    Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

    .




See also

  • Comparison of super heavy lift launch systems
  • Space exploration
    Space exploration
    Space exploration is the use of space technology to explore outer space. Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights and by robotic spacecraft....


NASA sites


Other sites


Simulators

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