Saturn V Rocket

The Saturn V rocket was used by NASA between 1967 and 1973. It is a 'human rated expendable rocket', which means that it is safe to use for human spaceflight. The rocket was developed to support the Apollo program, to fly humans to the moon, and was later used to launch Skylab. The Saturn V was launched 13 times from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, always successfully (with no loss of crew or cargo).

Every Saturn V rocket launch, Apollo 4 to Skylab
Credit: Maldoror/NASA

Some facts about the Saturn V rocket:

  • Height: 110.6 metres
  • Diameter: 10.1 metres
  • Mass: 2,970,000 kg

As of 2017, the Saturn V is the tallest, heaviest, and most powerful rocket ever used. It launched the heaviest ever object into orbit around the Earth: 140,000 kg for an Apollo mission. The rocket is the only launch vehicle to carry humans beyond a low Earth orbit. A total of 24 astronauts were carried to the Moon in the Saturn V rocket, between 1968 and 1972.

The rocket consists of three stages, each of which contains its own engines and fuel. The first stage uses kerosene rocket fuel, and the second and third stages use liquid hydrogen. The three stages stack on top of each other, with the first stage at the bottom of the rocket, and the third stage at the top. All together, the Saturn V rocket is 18 metres taller than the Statue of Liberty, and 15 metres taller than the Big Ben clock tower.