The Saturn V Story: In 1961 when President Kennedy pledged to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade, no rocket existed with the power or capability to rise to the challenge.
In order to win the race to space, the United States would need to establish a multi-billion dollar space program. One man, Werner Von Braun believed he had the knowledge and vision to make Kennedy’s dream a reality. This is the story of the most powerful machine ever built, and the men and women who believed it could fly.
The Saturn V Story
Saturn V was an American human-rated super heavy-lift launch vehicle used by NASA between 1967 and 1973. The three-stage liquid-propellant expendable rocket was developed to support the Apollo program for human exploration of the Moon and was later used to launch Skylab, the first American space station.
The Saturn V was launched 13 times from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida with no loss of crew or payload. As of 2020, the Saturn V remains the tallest, heaviest, and most powerful (highest total impulse) rocket ever brought to operational status, and holds records for the heaviest payload launched and largest payload capacity to low Earth orbit (LEO) of 140,000 kg (310,000 lb), which included the third stage and unburned propellant needed to send the Apollo command and service module and Lunar Module to the Moon.
The largest production model of the Saturn family of rockets, the Saturn V was designed under the direction of Wernher von Braun at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, with Boeing, North American Aviation, Douglas Aircraft Company, and IBM as the lead contractors.
To date, the Saturn V remains the only launch vehicle to carry humans beyond low Earth orbit. A total of 15 flight-capable vehicles were built, but only 13 were flown. An additional three vehicles were built for ground testing purposes. A total of 24 astronauts were launched to the Moon, three of them twice, in the four years spanning December 1968 through December 1972.