The Saturn V (pronounced "Saturn five") was an American human-rated expendable rocket used by NASA between 1967 and 1973. The three-stage liquid-fueled super heavy-lift launch vehicle 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 2018, 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/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 and Arthur Rudolph 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.


"Von Braun over built, entirely, the rocket to go to the moon. The Saturn V is the largest, longest, and heaviest machine ever built by humans. It's absolute overkill for going to the moon, and the reason is, Von Braun didn't want to go to the moon. He wanted to go to mars. The only reason he got involved in rocketry was because ever since he was a little kid, he's focused on this idea of getting to Mars."

- Stephen Petranek, Author, "How We'll Live on Mars", from the TV Show "Mars" on National Geographic TV

Merritt Island Florida, USA
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