Encyclopedia Astronautica
Saturn C-4B



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Saturn C-4B 3 Stage
Saturn C-4B 3 Stage version Nov 1961
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Saturn C-4B final
Saturn C-4B final configuration Nov 1961
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Saturn A-1 to C-5
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Saturn C-4B 2 Stage
Saturn C-4B 2 Stage version Nov 1961
Credit: © Mark Wade
American orbital launch vehicle. Final configurtion of the Saturn C-4 at the time of selection of the Saturn C-5 configuration for the Apollo program in December 1961. Only Saturn configuration with common bulkhead propellant tanks in first stage, resulting in shorter vehicle than less powerful Saturn C-3.

LEO Payload: 95,000 kg (209,000 lb) to a 185 km orbit at 28.00 degrees. Payload: 31,000 kg (68,000 lb) to a translunar trajectory.

Stage Data - Saturn C-4B

  • Stage 1. 1 x Saturn IC C-4B. Gross Mass: 1,450,984 kg (3,198,872 lb). Empty Mass: 90,686 kg (199,928 lb). Thrust (vac): 30,606.397 kN (6,880,592 lbf). Isp: 304 sec. Burn time: 130 sec. Isp(sl): 265 sec. Diameter: 10.06 m (33.00 ft). Span: 19.00 m (62.00 ft). Length: 33.46 m (109.77 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 5. Engine: F-1. Status: Study 1961. Comments: Final first stage design of Saturn C-3 (November 1961). Unique S-IC design in that fuel and propellant tank shared common bulkhead; stage was actually shorter than C-3B S-IC.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Saturn II C-5A. Gross Mass: 384,057 kg (846,700 lb). Empty Mass: 31,740 kg (69,970 lb). Thrust (vac): 4,446.648 kN (999,646 lbf). Isp: 420 sec. Burn time: 320 sec. Isp(sl): 200 sec. Diameter: 10.06 m (33.00 ft). Span: 10.06 m (33.00 ft). Length: 21.39 m (70.17 ft). Propellants: Lox/LH2. No Engines: 5. Engine: J-2. Status: Study 1961. Comments: Final common second stage design for Saturn C-3, C-4 and C-5 (November 1961). Developed into Saturn V second stage.
  • Stage 3. 1 x Saturn IVB C-5A. Gross Mass: 102,249 kg (225,420 lb). Empty Mass: 11,563 kg (25,492 lb). Thrust (vac): 889.325 kN (199,928 lbf). Isp: 420 sec. Burn time: 415 sec. Isp(sl): 200 sec. Diameter: 5.59 m (18.33 ft). Span: 5.59 m (18.33 ft). Length: 19.00 m (62.00 ft). Propellants: Lox/LH2. No Engines: 1. Engine: J-2. Status: Study 1961. Comments: Final common third stage design for Saturn C-4 and C-5 (November 1961). Developed into Saturn V second stage. After development started, decision taken to boost performance by increasing diameter to 6.61 m and increasing propellant load.

Status: Study 1961.
Gross mass: 2,051,290 kg (4,522,320 lb).
Payload: 95,000 kg (209,000 lb).
Height: 89.00 m (291.00 ft).
Diameter: 10.06 m (33.00 ft).
Thrust: 26,679.90 kN (5,997,880 lbf).
Apogee: 185 km (114 mi).

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • F-1 Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 7740.5 kN. Isp=304s. Largest liquid rocket engine ever developed and flown. Severe combustion stability problems were solved during development and it never failed in flight. First flight 1967. More...
  • J-2 Rocketdyne lox/lh2 rocket engine. 1033.1 kN. Study 1961. Isp=421s. Used in Saturn IVB stage in Saturn IB and Saturn V, and Saturn II stage in Saturn V. Gas generator, pump-fed. First flight 1966. More...

See also
  • Saturn V America's booster for the Apollo manned lunar landing. The design was frozen before a landing mode was selected; the Saturn V could be used for either Earth-Orbit-Rendezvous or Lunar-Orbit-Rendezvous methods. The vehicle ended up with the same payload capability as the 'too large' Nova. The basic diameter was dictated by the ceiling height at the Michoud factory selected for first stage manufacture. Despite the study of innumerable variants, production was ended after only 12 were built and America spent the next fifty years in a pointless slow-motion withdrawal from manned space exploration. More...
  • Saturn The Saturn launch vehicle was the penultimate expression of the Peenemuende Rocket Team's designs for manned exploration of the moon and Mars. Numerous designs and variants were studied, but in the end only three models - the Saturn I, IB, and V - were built in the 1960's, and then only used to support NASA's Apollo moon landing program. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Von Braun American manufacturer of rockets and spacecraft. Von Braun, USA. More...

Associated Stages
  • Saturn II C-5A Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 384,057/31,740 kg. Thrust 4,446.65 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 420 seconds. Final common second stage design for Saturn C-3, C-4 and C-5 (November 1961). Developed into Saturn V second stage. More...
  • Saturn IVB C-5A Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 102,249/11,563 kg. Thrust 889.33 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 420 seconds. Final common third stage design for Saturn C-4 and C-5 (November 1961). Developed into Saturn V second stage. After development started, decision taken to boost performance by increasing diameter to 6.61 m and increasing propellant load. More...
  • Saturn IC C-4B Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 1,450,984/90,686 kg. Thrust 30,606.40 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 304 seconds. Final first stage design of Saturn C-3 (November 1961). Unique S-IC design in that fuel and propellant tank shared common bulkhead; stage was actually shorter than C-3B S-IC. More...

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