Encyclopedia Astronautica
Saturn MS-IVB-4(S)B


Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 118,400/14,100 kg. Thrust 1,031.60 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 421 seconds. Standard S-IVB but with structural strength increased from 78% to 217% depending on station, resulting in 11.8% increase in empty weight.

Status: Study Boeing 1967.
Gross mass: 118,400 kg (261,000 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 14,100 kg (31,000 lb).
Height: 17.79 m (58.36 ft).
Diameter: 6.61 m (21.68 ft).
Span: 6.61 m (21.68 ft).
Thrust: 1,031.60 kN (231,913 lbf).
Specific impulse: 421 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 200 s.
Burn time: 411 s.

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Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • 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...

Associated Propellants
  • Lox/LH2 Liquid oxygen was the earliest, cheapest, safest, and eventually the preferred oxidiser for large space launchers. Its main drawback is that it is moderately cryogenic, and therefore not suitable for military uses where storage of the fuelled missile and quick launch are required. Liquid hydrogen was identified by all the leading rocket visionaries as the theoretically ideal rocket fuel. It had big drawbacks, however - it was highly cryogenic, and it had a very low density, making for large tanks. The United States mastered hydrogen technology for the highly classified Lockheed CL-400 Suntan reconnaissance aircraft in the mid-1950's. The technology was transferred to the Centaur rocket stage program, and by the mid-1960's the United States was flying the Centaur and Saturn upper stages using the fuel. It was adopted for the core of the space shuttle, and Centaur stages still fly today. More...

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