Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Appendix 3: Space Vehicles
Saturn
 
Copyright © 2006 Jos Heyman
 (HTML formatting by Andreas Parsch) 

NASA Saturn

The development of the Saturn as the very heavy launch vehicle in the Apollo lunar programme, began in 1958 by the Army Ballistic Missile Agency in Huntsville, under the designation Juno V. This version was to be propelled by 4 Rocketdyne E-1 engines and would have had a Centaur third stage. A further version was the Juno V-A, which would have 8 clustered Jupiter IRBM engines as a first stage and a Titan I upper stage. The Juno V-B versions would have an additional Centaur third stage. The Juno project was cancelled as a missile but taken over by NASA as a space launcher, evolving into the Saturn launch vehicle.

The initial versions were Saturn A and B, although these were superseded by the Saturn C vehicle before they could be completed. The configurations and designations of the Saturn family of launch vehicles changed several times throughout the programme.

Saturn A1 would have consisted of a first stage with eight clustered Rocketdyne H-1 liquid fuelled motors, a Titan I first stage used as a second stage and a Centaur third stage. It would have had a length of up to 60 m.

Stage Length Diameter Engine Fuel Thrust
124.50 m6.50 m8 Rocketdyne H-1Lox/Kerosene 7,582,380 N
216.00 m3.05 m2 Aerojet LR87-AJ-3Lox/Kerosene 1,333,752 N
39.10 m3.05 m2 P&W RL-10A-1Lox/LH 133,453 N

Specifications for Saturn A1


The Saturn A2 version would have used a cluster of four S-3 motors as the second stage.

Stage Length Diameter Engine Fuel Thrust
124.50 m6.50 m8 Rocketdyne H-1Lox/Kerosene 7,582,380 N
218.30 m5.30 m4 Rocketdyne S-3Lox/Kerosene 3,034,393 N
39.10 m3.05 m2 P&W RL-10A-1Lox/LH 133,453 N

Specifications for Saturn A2


Saturn B1 was the most powerful variant proposed at the time, with a second stage with 4 LR89s, a third stage with 5 LR115s and a Centaur fourth stage.

Stage Length Diameter Engine Fuel Thrust
124.50 m6.50 m8 Rocketdyne H-1Lox/Kerosene 7,582,380 N
216.00 m6.10 m4 Rocketdyne LR89Lox/Kerosene 2,942,100 N
312.20 m5.50 m5 P&W LR115Lox/LH 400,360 N
49.10 m3.05 m2 P&W RL-10A-1Lox/LH 133,453 N

Specifications for Saturn B1


The Saturn C was designed in a number of distinct versions but eventually only three versions progressed beyond the design stage. The Saturn C1, also referred to as Saturn 1, consisted of a first stage (designated S-I) propelled by 8 Rocketdyne H-1 and a second stage (designated S-IV) propelled by 6 Pratt & Whitney RL-10 liquid fuelled motors. To that would be added an instrument unit (IU) to be placed below the spacecraft. This instrument unit was initially identified as S-V. Designed for Apollo CM circum-lunar flights, the combination had a length of 50 m and was capable of placing a payload of 8600 kg into orbit. It was used for ten launches, of which four were sub-orbital, between 27 October 1961 and 30 July 1965. The launch vehicles were identified as SA-1 to SA-10, whilst launch vehicles SA-11, SA-12, SA-13 and SA-14 had been cancelled.

Photo: Author's collection
Saturn 1 (SA-6)


Stage Length Diameter Engine Fuel Thrust
124.50 m6.50 m8 Rocketdyne H-1Lox/Kerosene 7,582,380 N
212.20 m5.50 m6 P&W RL-10Lox/LH 400,125 N

Specifications for Saturn 1


The Saturn C1B, also referred to as Saturn 1B, employed the same first stage (designated as S-IB) as the Saturn C1, but had an improved second stage (designated as S-IVB) propelled by a single Rocketdyne J-2 liquid fuelled motor which provided a thrust of 889,700 N. Where appropriate, this would be topped by the IU instrument unit. In this version the orbiting capability had increased to 18,150 kg, and the vehicle had a length of 68.30 m.

Photo: NASA
Saturn 1B (SA-208)


There were a total of nine Saturn 1B flights between 26 February 1966 and 15 July 1975. Five of these were part of the Apollo lunar programme, of which two of these were sub-orbital, three were associated with the Skylab programme whilst one was used for the Apollo Soyuz Test Project. In total sixteen launch vehicles were contracted which were designated as SA-201 to SA-216. Of these SA-209 was originally intended to serve as a back-up for Skylab and then the Apollo Soyuz Test Project, but it never flew. SA-210 was originally intended to launch an unmanned orbital workshop multiple docking adapter but was ultimately used fo the Apollo Soyuz Test Project. SA-211 and SA-212 were never used whilst SA-213, SA-214, SA-215 and SA-216 were cancelled in August 1968 before work on them had started, except for the first stages of SA-213 and SA-214.

Stage Length Diameter Engine Fuel Thrust
124.50 m6.50 m8 Rocketdyne H-1Lox/Kerosene 7,582,380 N
317.80 m6.60 m1 Rocketdyne J-2Lox/LH 889,700 N

Specifications for Saturn 1B


Photo: Author's collection
Saturn Family


The Saturn C2 version, which was to consist of four stages, was intended for a manned circumlunar flight. The launch vehicle was considered for the Apollo lunar landing at the earliest possible date and 15 launches and rendezvous would have been required to assemble direct landing spacecraft in Earth orbit. Further development was cancelled on 23 June 1961.

Stage Length Diameter Engine Fuel Thrust
124.50 m6.50 m8 Rocketdyne H-1Lox/Kerosene 7,582,380 N
222.60 m6.60 m4 Rocketdyne J-2Lox/LH 3,557,440 N
312.20 m5.50 m6 P&W RL-10Lox/LH 400,125 N
49.10 m3.05 m2 P&W RL-10A-1Lox/LH 133,453 N

Specifications for Saturn C2


The Saturn C3 version was a three stage vehicle, and was to lift parts of a manned lunar landing vehicle system into Earth orbit for assembly. The first stage had 2 F-1 motors, the second stage 4 J-2 motors whilst the third stage was similar to the C2 version. Further versions of the C3 have been identified as C3B and C3BN, the latter with a small nuclear thermal upper stage. Eventually, the C2 and C3 versions were not required and the vehicles were not further developed.

Stage Length Diameter Engine Fuel Thrust
134.50 m10.00 m2 Rocketdyne F-1Lox/Kerosene 13,340,432 N
221.30 m8.30 m4 Rocketdyne J-2Lox/LH 3,557,440 N
312.20 m5.50 m6 P&W RL-10Lox/LH 400,125 N

Specifications for Saturn C3


The Saturn C4 version was planned for the Lunar Orbit Rendezvous approach to lunar landing but was superseded by the C5 version. The first stage would have 4 F-1 motors, the second stage 4 J-2 motors and the third stage 1 J-2 motor. C4B was a version of the C4.

Stage Length Diameter Engine Fuel Thrust
129.00 m10.10 m4 Rocketdyne F-1Lox/Kerosene 26,680,864 N
216.80 m10.10 m4 Rocketdyne J-2Lox/LH 3,557,440 N
317.80 m6.60 m1 Rocketdyne J-2Lox/LH 889,700 N

Specifications for Saturn C4


Instead, the requirements were met by the Saturn C5, or Saturn 5 vehicle, which consisted of a first stage (designated S-IC) with 5 Rocketdyne F-1 liquid fuelled motors, a second stage (designated S-II) which had 5 Rocketdyne J-2 motors and a final stage (designated S-IVB) which had a single Rocketdyne J-2 motor, followed by the IU instrument unit. With the Apollo spacecraft on top of this assembly, the length of the vehicle was 110.60 m. A C5N version with a small nuclear thermal stage was never developed.

Photo: Author's collection
Saturn 5 (Apollo 4)


Stage Length Diameter Engine Fuel Thrust
142.10 m10.10 m5 Rocketdyne F-1Lox/Kerosene 34,024,300 N
224.80 m10.10 m5 Rocketdyne J-2Lox/LH 4,442,580 N
317.80 m6.60 m1 Rocketdyne J-2Lox/LH 889,700 N

Specifications for Saturn 5


Thirteen flights were made with the Saturn 5 between 9 November 1967 and 14 May 1973. Twelve of these were part of the Apollo lunar programme and the last one was associated with the Skylab programme. Launch vehicles SA-514 and SA-515, which were destined for Apollo-19 and Apollo-20, were never flown whilst work on launch vehicles SA-516 and SA-517 was suspended in August 1968.

A further development of the Saturn was initially known as Saturn C8 (no references to a C6 and C7 version have been found), which was a precursor to the Nova, which was planned for further flights to the Moon, Venus fly-by missions and Mars landing missions. The Nova vehicle, which would typically consist four stages, was not built.

Version 1st stage 2nd stage 3rd stage 4th stage LEO kg
Saturn C88 F-18 J-21 J-2 210,000 kg
Nova Basic6 F-14 J-2  68,000 kg
Nova A4 F-14 J-25 LR-115Upper stage68,000 kg
Nova B6 F-18 J-27 LR-1151 LR-115112,000 kg
Nova C6 F-18 J-21 Nerva 68,000 kg
Nova D6 F-18 J-21 Nerva 112,000 kg
Nova N-F18 F-14 F-11 J-2  
Nova N-M18 F-14 M-11 J-2 180,000 kg

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Last Updated: 15 April 2006