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72 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 ...
Mark's user avatar
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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 ...
Uwe's user avatar
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60 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 ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
59 votes
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Why did the Soviet Union decide to use 30 small engines instead of a few large ones on the N1?

Developing new engines takes time, and time was a precious resource in the Moon race. The major problem with making larger engines is the problem of combustion instability of large combustion chambers....
SE - stop firing the good guys's user avatar
58 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 ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
55 votes
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Why are Moon Rockets (Saturn V, N1) so much bigger than the Titan IIIE?

The first thing to keep in mind is that once you're moving in space, you keep moving in the same direction unless a force acts to change your trajectory. So distance, in itself, is not a factor. What ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
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 ...
Steve Linton's user avatar
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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 ...
Barry Jenakuns's user avatar
41 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 ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
39 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 ...
Mark Foskey's user avatar
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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 ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
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 ...
Hobbes's user avatar
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34 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 ...
Uwe's user avatar
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33 votes
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What kept the Soviets from going to the Moon (before the US)?

Conveniently, NASA has a report which explains the Soviet moon-lander program at great length. It is available for free here. As usual, the only real answer is "the totality of circumstances.&...
fectin's user avatar
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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 ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
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, ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
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 ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
30 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 ...
Ludo's user avatar
  • 14.5k
29 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, ...
GdD's user avatar
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29 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 ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
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 ...
Ames's user avatar
  • 406
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-...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
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 ...
Ken Shirriff's user avatar
25 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. ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
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 ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
24 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 ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
24 votes

What kept the Soviets from going to the Moon (before the US)?

Russell Borogove's comment deserves to be an answer - the Soviets did not have the resources to put into it. Designing, building, and testing all the components of a moon landing mission takes an ...
Mark Foskey's user avatar
  • 11.4k
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 ...
HiddenWindshield's user avatar
22 votes

Why weren't Saturn V and the Soviet N-1 Moon rockets made larger in order to simplify Lunar missions?

During the early part of the Apollo program, the "direct ascent" mode was favored and Lunar-orbit rendezvous (LOR) was considered far too complex. In fact, the specifications of the Apollo service ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar

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