Encyclopedia Astronautica
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.

Status: Study 1961.
Gross mass: 102,249 kg (225,420 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 11,563 kg (25,492 lb).
Height: 19.00 m (62.00 ft).
Diameter: 5.59 m (18.33 ft).
Span: 5.59 m (18.33 ft).
Thrust: 889.33 kN (199,928 lbf).
Specific impulse: 420 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 200 s.
Burn time: 415 s.
Number: 1 .

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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 Launch Vehicles
  • Saturn C-5 American orbital launch vehicle. Final configuration of Saturn C-5 at the time of selection of this configuration for the Apollo program in December 1961. The actual Saturn V would be derived from this, but with an increased-diameter third stage (6.61 m vs 5.59 m in C-5) and increased propellant load in S-II second stage. More...
  • Saturn C-4B 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. 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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