Saturn V

American human-rated expendable rocket

Saturn V was the kind of launch vehicle used by NASA in a space program named after a god that ancient people liked (the Apollo program). The Saturn V carried Apollo 11 and the people in it to the Moon in 1969. Much of the rocket was planned by German engineer and scientist Wernher von Braun. 32 Saturn rockets were sent up to space, and the Saturn V was the largest.[6] 15 Saturn V rockets were made and 13 were sent up to space.[6] There were two Saturn V launches with no people in them, and the first manned Apollo flight using a Saturn V was Apollo 8 sent around the Moon on December 21, 1968.[7]

Saturn V
Apollo 11 Saturn V lifting off on July 16, 1969.jpg
The Saturn V rocket carrying the Apollo 11's three people into space.
Country of originUnited States
Project cost$6.417 billion in 1964–1973 dollars (~$42 billion in 2018 dollars)
Cost per launch$185 million in 1969–1971 dollars[1] ($1.16 billion in 2016 value), of which $110 million was for vehicle.[2]
Height363.0 ft (110.6 m)
Diameter33.0 ft (10.1 m)
Mass6,540,000 lb (2,970,000 kg)[3]
Payload to LEO (90 nmi (170 km), 30° inclination)310,000 lb (140,000 kg)[4][5][note 1]
Payload to TLI107,100 lb (48,600 kg)[3]
Associated rockets
DerivativesSaturn INT-21
Launch history
Launch sitesKennedy LC-39
Total launches13
Partial failures1 (Apollo 6)
First flightNovember 9, 1967 (AS-501 Apollo 4)
Last flightMay 14, 1973 (AS-513 Skylab)
First stage – S-IC
Length138.0 ft (42.1 m)
Diameter33.0 ft (10.1 m)
Empty mass287,000 lb (130,000 kg)
Gross mass5,040,000 lb (2,290,000 kg)
Engines5 Rocketdyne F-1
Thrust7,891,000 lbf (35,100 kN) sea level
Specific impulse263 seconds (2.58 km/s) sea level
Burn time168 seconds
Second stage – S-II
Length81.5 ft (24.8 m)
Diameter33.0 ft (10.1 m)
Empty mass88,400 lb (40,100 kg)[note 2]
Gross mass1,093,900 lb (496,200 kg)[note 2]
Engines5 Rocketdyne J-2
Thrust1,155,800 lbf (5,141 kN) vacuum
Specific impulse421 seconds (4.13 km/s) vacuum
Burn time360 seconds
Third stage – S-IVB
Length61.6 ft (18.8 m)
Diameter21.7 ft (6.6 m)
Empty mass29,700 lb (13,500 kg)[3][note 3]
Gross mass271,000 lb (123,000 kg)[note 3]
Engines1 Rocketdyne J-2
Thrust232,250 lbf (1,033.1 kN) vacuum
Specific impulse421 seconds (4.13 km/s) vacuum
Burn time165 + 335 seconds (2 burns)
Wernher von Braun standing by the five very big engines of the Saturn V in 1961

The Saturn V rocket was a three part machine. It stood 111 metres (363 feet) high and weighed 2,903,020 kilograms (6,400,060 pounds). The first rockets were able to carry 44,600 kilograms (98,300 pounds). This was went up to 46,800 kilograms (103,200 pounds) for the later Apollo flights.[6] The first and second stages gave the power to lift the rocket off the Earth. The first and second stages each had five engines. The first stage burned kerosene and liquid oxygen together. The other stages burned liquid oxygen with liquid hydrogen.[6]

The first stage engines burned for 168 seconds which was able to lift Apollo to a height of 67 kilometres (42 miles) and about 93 kilometres (58 miles) away from the launch pad. The second stage burned for about 8 minutes to take Apollo through the upper atmosphere. At this time it was going 25,182 kilometres per hour (15,647 miles per hour).

The third stage was used for 2 minutes and 30 seconds to put Apollo into an Earth orbit. This was at a height of 191.2 kilometres (118.8 miles) above the Earth. The third stage was started again and burned for 6 minutes to make the speed go up to 40,320 kilometres per hour (25,050 miles per hour) needed to send Apollo off to the Moon.[7]

Related pagesEdit


  1. Includes mass of Apollo Command/Service Modules, Apollo Lunar Module, Spacecraft/LM Adapter, Saturn V Instrument Unit, S-IVB stage, and propellant for translunar injection
  2. 2.0 2.1 Includes S-II/S-IVB interstage
  3. 3.0 3.1 Includes Instrument Unit


  1. "SP-4221 The Space Shuttle Decision- Chapter 6: Economics and the Shuttle". NASA. Retrieved 2011-01-15. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. "sp4206".
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Ground Ignition Weights". Retrieved November 8, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. Alternatives for Future U.S. Space-Launch Capabilities (PDF), The Congress of the United States. Congressional Budget Office, October 2006, pp. X, 1, 4, 9
  5. Thomas P. Stafford (1991), America at the Threshold – Report of the Synthesis Group on America's Space Exploration Initiative, p. 31
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 "Saturn V: America's Moon Rocket". 2007. Retrieved 12 August 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Furniss, Tim (2001). The History of Space Vehicles. London: Grange Books. ISBN 1-84013-370-8.

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NASA sitesEdit

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