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Saturn V

Size Comp
Universe : Prime Timeline
Affiliation : Humans
Class Name : Saturn V
Type : Chemical rocket [1]
Unit Run : 19 built in total. 19 have been retired from service.
Commissioned : 1960s to 1970s [2]
Dimensions : Length : 110.65 m [3]
Main Body Diameter : 10.06 m
Span : 19.35 m
Decks : 0
Mass : 3,038.5 metric tons
Crew : 3
Sub-impulse only : Acceleration : 70 m/s/s
Strength Indices :
(Galaxy class = 1,000)
Beam Firepower : -
Torpedo Firepower : -
Weapon Range and Accuracy : -
Shield Strength : -
Hull Armour : -
Speed : -
Combat Manoeuvrability : 1
Overall Strength Index : 1
Diplomatic Capability : None
Expected Hull Life : Single mission [1]


The Saturn V rocket was developed at Marshall Space Flight Center as the launch vehicle for the Apollo lunar landing missions. The first two vehicles, designated SA-501 and SA-502, were unmanned test flights. After some upgrading manned flights began with SA-503 to 509). The Apollo 8 and 10 missions circled the moon, while Apollo 11 carried out the first manned lunar landing. This was followed by Apollo 12, 13 and 14, although Apollo 13 was forced to return to Earth after an onboard explosion made a lunar landing impossible. Apollos 15-17 (SA-510 to SA-512) were carried out with upgraded equipment which allowed for longer stays on the moon. SA-513 was used to launch the Skylab space station.

The rocket was split into three stages. The first stage was powered by five F-1 engines - which is where the 'V' of Saturn V comes from - producing nearly 7.7 million pounds of thrust. These engines lifted the heavy rocket fast enough to escape Earth's gravity. The first stage engines fire at liftoff and last for about 150 seconds, taking the vehicle and payload to an altitude of 61 kilometres. The first stage then separates and burns up in the Earth's atmosphere.

The second stage contains five J-2 engines. After the first stage is discarded, the second stage burns for approximately 300 seconds, taking the vehicle and payload to 184 kilometres altitude. The second stage is then also discarded.

The third stage contains one J-2 engine. This engine burns for 2.75 minutes boosting the spacecraft to orbital velocity of about 17,500 mph. The third stage is shut down with fuel remaining and remains attached the spacecraft in Earth orbit. The J-2 engine is reignited to propel the spacecraft into translunar trajectory (speed of 7.8 km/s) before finally being discarded.

Above the third stage, the Saturn V would carry the payload. Three major payloads were carried by Saturn V's. The most famous payload was the lunar spacecraft. These comprised the Command Module, Service Module and Lunar Module. Above the Command Module was an emergency escape system. The complete assembly including the Apollo spacecraft and the Saturn launch vehicle stood 110.65 meters tall and weighed over 2,700 metric tons.

Once the lunar missions were completed, the last Saturn V was used to take the Skylab space station into orbit.

One of the lesser known payloads was launched in 1968, when a Saturn V was used to carry a nuclear weapons payload into orbit. This mission was a failure, and although there was considerable difficulty in destructing the payload it eventually exploded 104 miles above the surface of the Earth. [4]

Colour key

Canon source Backstage source Novel source DITL speculation


# Series Season Source Comment
1 Generic canonical information
2 TOS 1 Tomorrow is Yesterday
3 Real world Stated by Boeing.
4 TOS 2 Assignment: Earth
Source : Generic canonical information
Series : TOS Season 1
Episode : Tomorrow is Yesterday
Source : Real world
Comment : Stated by Boeing.
Series : TOS Season 2
Episode : Assignment: Earth


The Saturn V is, of course, probably the most famous of all rockets. In reality eighteen of these rockets were built, named SA-501 to SA-518. The details given on the specs page notes are as accurate a history and description as I could find on the internet.

However, as far as Star Trek is concerned the only canon use of this rocket was as the launch platform for an orbital nuclear weapons system in the TOS episode "Assignment : Earth". There are three possibilities here; firstly, in Star Trek some other launcher was used for the moon missions and the Saturn V was purely a military project. Secondly, one of the known Apollo launches in 1968 was actually a cover for the launch of a weapon platform. Thirdly, in Star Trek there was an another Saturn V launch in addition to the eighteen known. I have gone with option three.

© Graham & Ian Kennedy Page views : 49,260 Last updated : 31 Jul 2004