This is obviously hypothetical question (while there are two Saturn V stacks remaining that were once "flight ready", maybe no longer flight ready enough after so many years in museums). But theoretically ...

Let's assume we have a working Saturn V stack ready for the Moon. Could we say for then "Hey, guys, please head for JWST instead?". As I understand, S-IVBs could leave the Earth completely and enter the Solar system (one of them is still orbiting somewhere), so just passing by is probably possible. Still more work for the CSM to return, but maybe it still could do? Lunar lander could be made inert and filled instead with resources needed for the longer mission.

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    $\begingroup$ Delta-v, certainly--L2 is a lot cheaper than the lunar surface. Life support??? $\endgroup$ Dec 26, 2021 at 4:55
  • $\begingroup$ The museum Saturn Vs are not flying. $\endgroup$
    – dotancohen
    Dec 26, 2021 at 7:24
  • $\begingroup$ @dotancohen: Between the Orion project and a study by NASA to build more Saturn V launch vehicles, it's quite doable. The Centaur flies a derivative of the J2 engine, and the F1 engine has modernized plans (F1b). $\endgroup$
    – Joshua
    Dec 26, 2021 at 21:19
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    $\begingroup$ @Joshua See Why not build Saturn V's again?. Also, the Centaur uses the RL-10, which isn't a J-2 derivative by any stretch of the imagination. $\endgroup$
    – DylanSp
    Dec 26, 2021 at 22:13
  • $\begingroup$ @DylanSp: Oops, wrong engine, the successor is RS-25 (two steps) which is planned for use with SLS today. $\endgroup$
    – Joshua
    Dec 26, 2021 at 23:35


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