81 votes
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Why not build Saturn V's again?

Hobbes' answer focuses on why we might want to build SLS. There are also significant barriers to rebuilding Saturn/Apollo. In addition to the (vast) amount of existing technical documentation on ...
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71 votes
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Why was this Saturn rocket elevated for launch?

Your picture is not of a Saturn V, it's of a Saturn IB. The purpose of the elevated platform (known as the "milkstool") is to lift the rocket up so that it can be launched from Pad 39B using the same ...
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  • 11.5k
62 votes

Why did Saturn V not head straight to the moon?

Going directly to the Moon would require a very small launch window. The Earth orbit before enabled a launch window of about 3 to 4 hours, see this question. Abort from an Earth orbit was possible ...
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  • 46k
59 votes
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Why is there a Saturn V in the background of this Gemini-Titan launch?

The photo is of the launch of Gemini 11 on September 12, 1966. The Saturn V in the background is SA-500F, a "Facilities Integration Vehicle". This was a nearly complete Saturn V that was ...
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54 votes
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Did the Saturn V rocket have any purely aesthetic features that didn't serve an actual function?

I don't know of any features on the Saturn V that are solely aesthetic in purpose. The flags and USA markings come closest, but they are ostensibly there to identify the origin of the vehicle. The ...
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44 votes

Why did Saturn V not head straight to the moon?

There is very little to gain by going straight to the Moon, and as @Uwe has said, it makes the timing of the launch extremely demanding. Let me have my go at explaining why there is very little to ...
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  • 18.9k
43 votes
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Saturn V's external blueprints

Had a bit of a gander at what NASA Technical Report Server and Semantic Scholar had to offer and found a couple things that I reckon might be helpful. NASA created a 1/10 scale model of the Saturn V ...
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42 votes

Why not build Saturn V's again?

There are several reasons: We can do better these days. Saturn and Apollo were designed in the early 1960s, so the design tools used were mainly pen and paper, with some primitive computer tools ...
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  • 121k
39 votes
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How did they access the LM to mount the flag package while the Apollo stack was already on the launch pad?

They used the Mobile Service Structure (MSS), which for some reason is rarely shown in Apollo pre-launch photos. The large work platforms at upper right completely surrounded the spacecraft and ...
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38 votes
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Why was ramjet fuel used as hydraulic fluid during Saturn V checkout?

What a fascinating question! Turns out it's less flammable. Ground Supply Fluid—Because the flash point of RP-1 fuel, which supplies the system in flight, is 110 to 139° F, it is classified as ...
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35 votes
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Why did Saturn V not head straight to the moon?

I think you may have a misunderstanding that isn't addressed by any of the other answers. It is true that most of a rocket's work in entering orbit is building up enough speed to reach orbital ...
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  • 6,903
34 votes

Could the museum Saturn V's be refitted for one more flight?

The one at the Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville has been stored outside so it wasn't in good shape. Displayed outdoors and on its side since 1969, the rocket was exhibiting widespread paint ...
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  • 121k
33 votes
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Reasons behind the "Transposition, docking and extraction" maneuver

Three factors come to mind from my reading over the years: Heat Shield integrity, Escape Tower limitations, and avoiding fuel over the CM on the pad. Throughout this answer, keep in mind that the ...
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  • 11.4k
31 votes
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Why is fuel ratio different for upper stage of a rocket?

The J-2 engine used on the second and third stages of the Saturn V has a "PU valve" (propellant utilization) on the oxidizer turbopump. Adjusting the mixture ratio with this valve primarily ...
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31 votes
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Did Wernher von Braun really have the "Saturn V painted as the V2"?

The early prototypes of the A4/V2 were painted in the familiar black-and-white roll pattern scheme. This scheme was designed to aid in tracking the rocket after launch. This pattern made it easy ...
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  • 46k
30 votes
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Were the Saturn V construction plans destroyed?

No, the blueprints were not destroyed or lost. (This is) a claim John Lewis made in his 1996 book, Mining the Sky, that he went looking for the Saturn 5 blueprints a few years ago and concluded, ...
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  • 121k
30 votes

Why was this Saturn rocket elevated for launch?

Offered as a supplement, since no one has posted a direct size comparison: The height difference in the Saturn V and Saturn 1-B is clear in this image. Edit: SA-1 through -9 are Saturn 1s, SA-201 ...
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30 votes
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Were all the switches on the Command Module and LM control panels used during a mission?

Some switches were normally left in one position for the entire mission, and would only be changed in unusual situations. One particular semi-famous example is the switch controlling the power ...
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29 votes

Why not build Saturn V's again?

NOTE All dollar values are in present day values accounting for inflation. Another reason we're not reusing the Saturn V is the same reason it was cancelled in the first place: cost. The SLS is ...
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  • 7,365
29 votes
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Why does the Saturn V have standalone inter-stage rings?

If the angular rates on the first stage are not close to zero there is a chance of the inter-stage contacting the engine bells. (Falcon 1 flight 2?) With a separate inter-stage the upper stage can ...
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  • 406
29 votes

Was the Saturn V assembly carried out on the crawler-transporter or on the VAB's ground floor?

The Saturn V is stacked on the "Mobile Launcher", but it is important to realise that the "Mobile Launcher" is, by itself, not mobile. As you can see in this contemporary photo ...
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  • 11.9k
28 votes

Saturn V's external blueprints

There's a more detailed profile drawing available for download at the bottom of this Heroic Relics page. Here's a representative slice: It used to be possible to get an inexpensive print of a cleaned-...
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27 votes
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Why weren't Saturn V and the Soviet N-1 Moon rockets made larger in order to simplify Lunar missions?

In order to use the direct ascent method of landing on the moon, which is where the entire vehicle descends and leaves the moon, you would need a rocket an order of magnitude bigger than the Saturn V, ...
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  • 18.7k
26 votes

Could the museum Saturn V's be refitted for one more flight?

I carefully examined the Saturn V in Houston (in particular the instrumentation unit) few months ago. There's no way this Saturn V would fly for a couple reasons: It was stored outside and suffered ...
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24 votes
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Maximum speed reachable by Saturn V

The amount by which a spacecraft is able to change its velocity is called it's Δv (delta-velocity) budget. You can calculate the Δv-budget of each stage of a rocket using the Tsiolkovsky rocket ...
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  • 9,136
24 votes
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How would the Saturn V have differed if the first stage was also LH2/LOX?

The requirements of the first stage are that it deliver about 3340 m/s of delta v to a 690 ton payload (the upper stages and spacecraft), with an initial thrust-to-weight ratio of at least 1.16:1. ...
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24 votes
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Was all the fuel expended in each stage of a Saturn V launch?

For the Saturn V, the first and second stages both cut off when a low-propellant-level sensor tripped in the tanks. Most launchers' booster stages do something similar -- burning to total depletion ...
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23 votes

Why did Saturn V not head straight to the moon?

This question seems to hinge on a fundamental misunderstanding about space, that is, to be fair, extremely common among the general public. It's the idea that space has no gravity, so things in space ...
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23 votes
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Was the Saturn V assembly carried out on the crawler-transporter or on the VAB's ground floor?

This is covered well in the Saturn V News Reference Vehicle Assembly and Launch. Saturn V stages go into the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB)... The (first) stage is positioned above the launch ...
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