Author Topic: Why can't we build the Saturn V again?  (Read 37106 times)

Offline 8900

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Why can't we build the Saturn V again?
« on: 03/22/2008 03:58 am »
In order to go back to the moon, in fact we don't really need new rockets and capsules
We have the detailed design of Saturn V and Apollo, and also the lander
Why can't we just build them again? This can save a lot of time and money :(
« Last Edit: 07/02/2022 12:49 am by zubenelgenubi »

Offline ChrisGebhardt

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #1 on: 03/22/2008 04:30 am »
Well... safety for one!

Offline Chris-A

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RE: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #2 on: 03/22/2008 04:34 am »
2. You can't really build the sub-systems anymore, but you can try. ;)
Great example: http://klabs.org/history/build_agc

Offline Jorge

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RE: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #3 on: 03/22/2008 04:37 am »
Quote
8900 - 21/3/2008  11:58 PM

In order to go back to the moon, in fact we don't really need new rockets and capsules
We have the detailed design of Saturn V and Apollo, and also the lander
Why can't we just build them again? This can save a lot of time and money :(

The tooling is destroyed. Many of the companies that built subsystems are no longer around. It could be done but it would save neither time nor money.
JRF

Offline Firehawk153

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #4 on: 03/22/2008 04:52 am »
Plus the people that actually worked on the Saturn V; 40 years is a long time.  A whole new generation would have to re-learn all of the ins-and-outs and details of building this machine.  Not to mention that many of its systems would either need to be modernized (guidance computers) or would benefit from modernization.  By the time all of that is completed and you've expended that much effort you probably may as well have gone with a clean sheet design.

Instead of rebuilding the entire saturn v, resurrecting the F-1A itself for use on a new vehicle might have merits but I have no idea how much that would cost of if it would even be feasible or practical.

Offline kraisee

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #5 on: 03/22/2008 06:15 am »
The Space Review did a great article a while back where they reference a 1991 Rocketdyne study done investigating restarting production of the F-1A.   It is well worth a read by everyone.

They found that to restart production in 1991 the cost would have been $315 million plus the cost of reactivating the test stands at Stennis.   Adjusting for inflation into 2008 dollars, that would today be the equivalent of about $490 million.

Individual engines would have been about $15 million each in 1991 - $23m today.

To put that into perspective that is less than half the $1.2bn cost of the J-2X development program for Ares-I and about one quarter the $1.8bn development cost of the 5-segment SRB.

Of course there is the political problem of closing down the SRB program and retiring the workforce - an issue which would prove very difficult or even completely impossible given DoD's influence.

Ross.
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
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Offline Jim

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RE: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #6 on: 03/22/2008 11:16 am »
Quote
8900 - 22/3/2008  12:58 AM

In order to go back to the moon, in fact we don't really need new rockets and capsules
We have the detailed design of Saturn V and Apollo, and also the lander
Why can't we just build them again? This can save a lot of time and money :(

It would be like trying to build the B-36 again.  When was the last time a radial piston engine was designed in the US?

Offline simonbp

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #7 on: 03/23/2008 04:56 am »
Quote
kraisee - 22/3/2008  1:15 AM

They found that to restart production in 1991 the cost would have been $315 million plus the cost of reactivating the test stands at Stennis.   Adjusting for inflation into 2008 dollars, that would today be the equivalent of about $490 million.
...
To put that into perspective that is less than half the $1.2bn cost of the J-2X development program for Ares-I...

Well, considering that you can often take contractor reports and double the costs to get something close to reality, then yeah, they are comparable. This is especially true considering J-2X is a ground-up redesign, not simply resurrected from 40-year-old blueprints.

Cost savings from heritage is just one of those undying myths...

Simon ;)

Offline kraisee

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #8 on: 03/23/2008 06:47 am »
I would love to see a study of the total costs for creating a modern interpretation of the Saturn-V.   Essentially a clean-sheet design, just with the same number of engines and stages - but designed in a modern way.

Ross.
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
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Offline meiza

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #9 on: 03/23/2008 12:56 pm »
How about clustering 90 Merlin 1C engines? :)

Offline clongton

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #10 on: 03/23/2008 01:05 pm »
Quote
meiza - 23/3/2008  9:56 AM

How about clustering 90 Merlin 1C engines? :)
Interesting way to get economies of scale  :)
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline Eerie

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #11 on: 03/23/2008 01:17 pm »
Quote
meiza - 23/3/2008  8:56 AM

How about clustering 90 Merlin 1C engines? :)

You know, I was thinking about the same thing recently. If you can cluster 9 engines, why not 90? You could get a very redundant rocket that could tolerate like 5-10 engine failures. And you won`t need to develop a new engine...

Offline Gene DiGennaro

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #12 on: 03/23/2008 01:29 pm »
Quote
Eerie - 23/3/2008  9:17 AM


You know, I was thinking about the same thing recently. If you can cluster 9 engines, why not 90? You could get a very redundant rocket that could tolerate like 5-10 engine failures. And you won`t need to develop a new engine...


Remember the N-1?

Offline clongton

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #13 on: 03/23/2008 01:58 pm »
Quote
Gene DiGennaro - 23/3/2008  10:29 AM

Quote
Eerie - 23/3/2008  9:17 AM


You know, I was thinking about the same thing recently. If you can cluster 9 engines, why not 90? You could get a very redundant rocket that could tolerate like 5-10 engine failures. And you won`t need to develop a new engine...


Remember the N-1?
Actually, if you read the history of the N-1, it wasn't the massive clustering that killed it, it was the Challenger syndrome, rush to launch before you should. They were under EXTREME pressure to launch and pushed the entire process beyond its limits. In the end, 2 consecutive launch failures broke the bank, and then the race was over - no more incentive.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline simonbp

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #14 on: 03/23/2008 03:30 pm »
Quote
clongton - 23/3/2008  8:58 AM

Actually, if you read the history of the N-1, it wasn't the massive clustering that killed it, it was the Challenger syndrome, rush to launch before you should.

Well, that and the fact the first stage was so ridiculously complex that it almost guaranteed failure. Two of the four failures were due to just one of the 30 engines failing (and taking the vehicle with it), while the other two were due to an inept GNC system that either shut off 29/30 engines or, when the vehicle finally got up to speed, being unable to handle the massive roll torque induced by the basically tordial exhaust plume. Even if the Soviets had taken their time, the N1 was a fundamentally flawed design, and frankly beyond their capacity to make work.

Of course, to see what happened when they did take their time, look at Energia (which was approved the same day N1 was canceled)...

Simon ;)

Offline meiza

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #15 on: 03/23/2008 06:46 pm »
and to be pedant AFAIK the engines themselves didn't have problems, but foreign objects and propellant piping problems did do them...

Offline renclod

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RE: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #16 on: 03/23/2008 07:48 pm »
Quote
8900 - 22/3/2008  7:58 AM

In order to go back to the moon, in fact we don't really need new rockets and capsules

In fact we do really need new and different systems and procedures, because the goal is new and different and much more ambitious and because...

Quote
We have the detailed design of Saturn V and Apollo, and also the lander
...although Saturn V could be re-designed (re-invented) to better serve the new mission, Apollo and the lander are totally inappropriate for the project.


Offline cneth

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RE: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #17 on: 03/23/2008 11:07 pm »
To me, the analogy is to think about recreating a car like the 65 mustang again.  Sure, you could re-create it, but do you really want a 'new' 65 mustang?  Without airbags, seatbelts, crush resistant bumpers, fuel injection, etc, etc, etc?   After all, that 65 mustang would take you to the grocery, just like today's car, right?

The reality is that today's vehicles are many times safer, handle better, get better fuel mileage, etc.    And that's what you want.   Yes, they do the same 'mission', but today's car does it better and safer.

Just look at that Apollo landing computer - your cell phone has more capability.  And that's just one system.  By the time you 'upgrade' all the parts, well, you may as well start over.

Offline hop

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RE: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #18 on: 03/24/2008 05:34 am »
Quote
cneth - 23/3/2008  5:07 PM

To me, the analogy is to think about recreating a car like the 65 mustang again.  Sure, you could re-create it, but do you really want a 'new' 65 mustang?  Without airbags, seatbelts, crush resistant bumpers, fuel injection, etc, etc, etc?   After all, that 65 mustang would take you to the grocery, just like today's car, right?
Sort of. Except in a world where very few kinds of cars have been built, and the '65 mustang was one of only 4 comparable models, and only two of those made it to production.

If we were to make a new, clean-sheet Saturn-V class vehicle, it would seem to make sense to use it as a baseline for the general parameters of the vehicle. If I'm not mistaken, this is what kraisee was suggesting. We know that we should be able to meet or exceed the performance of all the components, and it gives us a good reference to start from. Many of the trades that defined the original vehicle should still be valid. Original designs for components may serve as a starting point, or not on an individual basis.

To my non-rocket scientist eyes, it seems like this should lead to a comparatively easy development with high odds of hitting performance targets.

Offline MB123

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Re: Why can't we build the Saturn V again?
« Reply #19 on: 03/24/2008 07:49 am »
The Saturn V can do the whole job (trip to the moon) but how do you service the ISS?

You would need a Saturn IB? (Ares I)

You also need to use SRBs (seems to be a requirement)

Offline William Graham

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Re: Why can't we build the Saturn V again?
« Reply #20 on: 03/24/2008 08:20 am »
Quote
MB123 - 24/3/2008  8:49 AM

You would need a Saturn IB?

Why not use the Saturn II or INT-20?

Offline pippin

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #21 on: 03/24/2008 09:13 am »
IIRC Saturn V was a VERY expensive vehicle.
I doubt that that would be more sustainable today than it was then.

Offline johng

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #22 on: 03/24/2008 02:06 pm »

Astronautix.com lists the cost of a Saturn V as  $ 431M in 1967. That is the equivalent of $2.6 B today.  I had not realized it was nearly so much.

I suppose its a different argument as to whether we could have kept using the Saturn V vs whether we should be making new builds today.

I think we could have used the Saturn V as a production run in the 70's and the unit costs would have fallen. Much like the B-2 bomber. Build only 20 of them and they cost over $1B. If they would have buiilt the 132 units originally planned, they would have cost about $300M each.

Plus the design would have evolved to incorporate new technology.  American aerospace has a poor history of making good use of evolved design though.  Everyone wants a big, new thing - at least in politics.

If you think about in hindsight the money that was spent on shuttle and if it had been applied to a evolutionary project of series production for Saturn V lifters (and then Saturn V+, etc)  and Saturn 1 taxi launchers, a real space station could have been reality in the early 80s. Probably rehashing old thoughts though.

As for developing a Saturn now, the practical advantages are gone. The only good use would be as a preliminary design study to take Saturn V as a baseline and apply current technologies to it in a virtual/simulated design update to see where that puts you.

Offline MB123

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Re: Why can't we build the Saturn V again?
« Reply #23 on: 03/25/2008 01:06 am »

Quote
GW_Simulations - 24/3/2008 8:20 PM
Quote
MB123 - 24/3/2008 8:49 AM You would need a Saturn IB?
Why not use the Saturn II or INT-20?

Whichever - IMO the US govt's responsibility for the ISS neccesitates two vehicles - you cannot only have Saturn V you need another cheaper vehicle optimised for ISS/LEO crew transfer. (worst case no commercial system available for ISS ops, either way IMO NASA needs to have something available at all times)

How many of you have asked why we do not go for a RP-1/LO2 first stage? I have seen many. The answer is the technological heritage of the SRB - the SRB needs to be used in the new vehicle(s)

Really, if RP-1/L02 was used in the first stage Ares would be much closer to being a modern version of the Saturn system.


Offline mikeh

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #24 on: 03/25/2008 01:18 am »
Quote
johng - 24/3/2008 10:06 AM


Astronautix.com lists the cost of a Saturn V as $ 431M in 1967. That is the equivalent of $2.6 B today. I had not realized it was nearly so much.


According to Astronautix.com that was the cost per launch of the vehicle. Still considering that we spent $10B developing the Space Shuttle we could have bought and launched a bunch ( at least twenty) of Saturn V's.

I just don't buy the argument that the Saturn V was too "expensive" when spaceflight is inherently so. The fact is regardless of the expense, Congress and Nixon in 1970 did not approve the second production run of the Saturn V. This meant that NASA had nowhere to go or nothing to do in manned spaceflight after Apollo Applications.

It could be argued that the Space Shuttle "saved" the program. Saved U.S. manned spaceflight but condemned us to LEO for 36 years and counting.

I don't believe we could bring back the original but would like to see some "clean sheet" work.
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Online edkyle99

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #25 on: 03/25/2008 03:10 am »
Quote
johng - 24/3/2008  10:06 AM


Astronautix.com lists the cost of a Saturn V as  $ 431M in 1967. That is the equivalent of $2.6 B today.  I had not realized it was nearly so much.

It cost so much because it was so big.  Ares V, which will end up in the same size category, will probably cost the same, if not more.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline kraisee

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #26 on: 03/25/2008 04:12 am »
Fixed Costs per year approximately $1,200m + $800m for the EDS.   Flight costs $240m + 90m for the EDS.

Thus the costs will be about:

1 flight per year - ~$2,330m
2 flights per year - ~$1,330m each
3 flights per year - ~$997m each
4 flights per year - ~$830m each


Ares-I is additional to that.   $800m Fixed per year, $130m per unit:

1 flight per year - ~$930m
2 flights per year - ~$530m each
3 flights per year - ~$397m each
4 flights per year - ~$330m each

There are slight economies of scale on the flight costs, but at these low flight rates they aren't major so I'm leaving them out just for simplicity.

Ross.
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Offline Takalok

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #27 on: 03/25/2008 09:45 pm »
Well, if you look at the Constellation program, it pretty much is Saturn Part II - just as is being discussed here.  With the exception of the S-1C (first stage) and the S-II (second stage), it's just a Saturn / Apollo system with upgrades.  The Orion CM is an Apollo CM on steroids, which will use similar (same) ablative shielding, a launch escape tower, and a service module just like Saturn / Apollo.   Also, NASA is pretty up front about saying the ARES second stage is essentially a S-IVB.  The Lunar module looks about the same, but again, on steroids.  You know, hey, that's a pretty big concession to the 1970's.

However, just for fun, let's say you could restart Saturn / Apollo dirt cheap and get everything going etc. etc.  Now just imagine - 6 million pounds and 363 feet of kick-ass rocketry just standing there in all it's glory like some giant middle finger directed at all the people who've tried to do it "better."  Hmmmmmm.  You know, as much as I personally would love to see something like that, I think I'll have to settle for half a Saturn / Apollo rather than the whole works.  Politics and hubris are what they are.

However, IMHO, if you have to choose between Saturn S-IC and S-II and Ares, Saturn is the clear winner.  That being said, DIRECT 2.0 (again IMHO) beats both.

For those of you saying Saturn would have trouble servicing the ISS, may I remind all that several Saturn IB rockets flew crews to SkyLab, and also rendezvoused with the Russians.  Also a Saturn V put the whole 100 ton thing into orbit in one shot.  

If we had stuck with Saturn, we'd have saved not only a ton of money, but also two crews, and have done much, much more in space.  But, as I said, I'm happy with half a Saturn / Apollo than none at all.
Life is what happens while you're waiting for tomorrow.

Offline Jim

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #28 on: 03/25/2008 10:55 pm »
Quote
Takalok - 25/3/2008  6:45 PM

1.  For those of you saying Saturn would have trouble servicing the ISS, may I remind all that several Saturn IB rockets flew crews to SkyLab, and also rendezvoused with the Russians.  Also a Saturn V put the whole 100 ton thing into orbit in one shot.  

no reminding needed, but you might need to be informed  that the CSM propellant and systems were offloaded to allow the IB to lift it into the necessary orbits.  Orion is much heavier.

Offline CFE

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #29 on: 03/25/2008 11:05 pm »
The Apollo CSM could weigh as little as 14.7 mT for earth-orbit missions on the Sat IB.  For lunar missions, it weighed in at over 30 mT.
"Black Zones" never stopped NASA from flying the shuttle.

Offline CFE

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #30 on: 03/25/2008 11:15 pm »
Quote
edkyle99 - 24/3/2008  10:10 PM

Quote
johng - 24/3/2008  10:06 AM


Astronautix.com lists the cost of a Saturn V as  $ 431M in 1967. That is the equivalent of $2.6 B today.  I had not realized it was nearly so much.

It cost so much because it was so big.  Ares V, which will end up in the same size category, will probably cost the same, if not more.

 - Ed Kyle

It's hard to say whether Ares v will be more expensive.  Those massive solids will be a major cost-driver, but Ares V has a lower engine count than Saturn V (even if they slip in the sixth core engine.)
"Black Zones" never stopped NASA from flying the shuttle.

Online vt_hokie

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RE: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #31 on: 03/26/2008 01:44 am »
Quote
cneth - 23/3/2008  8:07 PM

To me, the analogy is to think about recreating a car like the 65 mustang again.  

Or maybe re-creating one of these!  :)

Here's an argument against heavy lift, though I don't necessarily endorse this view.  I'll defer to those more knowledgeable than I on the case for a HLV.

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/526/1

Offline Sid454

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #32 on: 03/26/2008 04:32 am »
It would be better to make an all new rocket vs bring back all the old manufacturing techniques used for the Saturn V.

Yes we could recreate it but we now have better tech for making the tanks and insulation for example.

We even have better engine options then the F1 used in the SC-I in the RS-84 and TR-107 engines which are modern engines both have higher ISP and the tr-107 is a lot simpler which means cheaper and more reliable.
They are not only in the same thrust class they are reusable which would allow at least the first stage to be made reusable  and would make it a lot more affordable then the Saturn which was very expensive.

Recovery could be done by adding a wing and jet engines as was proposed as a cost saving measure for a future upgrade to the sat V though this would have cost about 30% of it's payload.


Also SRBs are not very expensive either they are actually fairly cheap and reusable but low ISP which forces the core stage which would be equivalent the the SC-II to be larger and do more work.

In short an all new rocket could be made for the same price or less then recreating the 1960s vehicle that would outperform it by a very large margin.


Offline Sid454

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Re: Why can't we build the Saturn V again?
« Reply #33 on: 03/26/2008 04:36 am »
Quote
MB123 - 24/3/2008  3:49 AM

The Saturn V can do the whole job (trip to the moon) but how do you service the ISS?

You would need a Saturn IB? (Ares I)

You also need to use SRBs (seems to be a requirement)

Forget the IB and instead fly the Saturn V-B or V-C this would allow common launch platforms and towers as well as common engines between all vehicles.

If someone ever sets aside money to restart SLI and finished the TR-107 engine development maybe we could build a very similar vehicle based on the shuttle ET tanks.

Four of the TR-107s would be recovered for reuse the fifth engine would be lost of course.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_V-B

Offline Takalok

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #34 on: 03/26/2008 10:25 am »
Granted, S1B had only half the LEO of the proposed (pie in the sky?) Ares I.  But if you're going to stick an Orion capsule on a 1B, then you're really not talking Saturn any more.  

My rhetorical point was that classic Saturn / Apollo stack, a combination of two launchers (sort of like Ares I and V) could do the job.  

Nonetheless, I am a DIRECT 2.0 supporter, and recognize the limitations of the 1B.


Quote
Jim - 25/3/2008  7:55 PM

Quote
Takalok - 25/3/2008  6:45 PM

1.  For those of you saying Saturn would have trouble servicing the ISS, may I remind all that several Saturn IB rockets flew crews to SkyLab, and also rendezvoused with the Russians.  Also a Saturn V put the whole 100 ton thing into orbit in one shot.  

no reminding needed, but you might need to be informed  that the CSM propellant and systems were offloaded to allow the IB to lift it into the necessary orbits.  Orion is much heavier.
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Offline Takalok

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #35 on: 03/26/2008 10:55 am »
I think one of the frustrating aspects of these debates is the comparison between a delivered system and a proposed system.  

The tantalizing attraction of Saturn is the simple fact that it is a delivered, operational system.  I mean, really, hasn't NASA already spent 2 billion dollars just testing the new SRB?  And it doesn't spec out.  Unless something gives, ARES is vaporware.

You also mentioned that a new rocket could be made for less than restarting Saturn.  I have to doubt that.  Certainly STS did not even come close to cost predictions, and Ares is following STS close behind.  Given that the Constellation program is "restarting" / redeveloping the Saturn S-IVB, the CM, the SM, and the LEM, we're really only talking about the lower half anyway.

Also, keep in mind the first two stages of Saturn were "dumb" in that they relied solely on the IU.  So if you did decide to use the S-IC and S-II stages (bolt for bolt, wire for wire), you could interface them with modern instrumentation.  

Lastly, and then I'll shut up, the Saturn V had an LEO of 118,000 kg while the proposed Ares V has an LEO of 130,000 kg.  There is no "very large margin" of performance there.  My prediction, if Ares V ever makes it to the launch pad, is that it will underperform Saturn and cost quite a bit more.


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Sid454 - 26/3/2008  1:32 AM

It would be better to make an all new rocket vs bring back all the old manufacturing techniques used for the Saturn V.

Yes we could recreate it but we now have better tech for making the tanks and insulation for example.

We even have better engine options then the F1 used in the SC-I in the RS-84 and TR-107 engines which are modern engines both have higher ISP and the tr-107 is a lot simpler which means cheaper and more reliable.
They are not only in the same thrust class they are reusable which would allow at least the first stage to be made reusable  and would make it a lot more affordable then the Saturn which was very expensive.

Recovery could be done by adding a wing and jet engines as was proposed as a cost saving measure for a future upgrade to the sat V though this would have cost about 30% of it's payload.


Also SRBs are not very expensive either they are actually fairly cheap and reusable but low ISP which forces the core stage which would be equivalent the the SC-II to be larger and do more work.

In short an all new rocket could be made for the same price or less then recreating the 1960s vehicle that would outperform it by a very large margin.

Life is what happens while you're waiting for tomorrow.

Offline Rusty_Barton

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #36 on: 03/26/2008 01:25 pm »
Quote
simonbp - 23/3/2008  9:30 AM

Quote
clongton - 23/3/2008  8:58 AM

Actually, if you read the history of the N-1, it wasn't the massive clustering that killed it, it was the Challenger syndrome, rush to launch before you should.

Well, that and the fact the first stage was so ridiculously complex that it almost guaranteed failure. Two of the four failures were due to just one of the 30 engines failing (and taking the vehicle with it), while the other two were due to an inept GNC system that either shut off 29/30 engines or, when the vehicle finally got up to speed, being unable to handle the massive roll torque induced by the basically tordial exhaust plume. Even if the Soviets had taken their time, the N1 was a fundamentally flawed design, and frankly beyond their capacity to make work.

Of course, to see what happened when they did take their time, look at Energia (which was approved the same day N1 was canceled)...

Simon ;)


Was there a successful rocket that had more engines than the Saturn I with an S-IV second stage? Stage I had 8 engines and Stage II had 6 engines. If Von Braun had added the S-V third stage (Centaur?),  as shown in early plans, that would have added 2 more engines.


Online edkyle99

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #37 on: 03/26/2008 01:43 pm »
Quote
Takalok - 26/3/2008  6:25 AM

Granted, S1B had only half the LEO of the proposed (pie in the sky?) Ares I.  But if you're going to stick an Orion capsule on a 1B, then you're really not talking Saturn any more.  

My rhetorical point was that classic Saturn / Apollo stack, a combination of two launchers (sort of like Ares I and V) could do the job.  

Nonetheless, I am a DIRECT 2.0 supporter, and recognize the limitations of the 1B.


Here's something to consider.  The only Saturn that NASA could conceivably recreate (in an approximate way) today would be Saturn IB.  

The S-1B H-1 first stage engines are essentially still flying today as RS-27A engines on Delta II launch vehicles.  Granted the production line has closed, but the engines are still supported and presumably production could resume if enough money were assigned to the effort soon enough.

The S-1B tank tooling is long gone, but a new single big tank would be more efficient regardless.  Michoud has the space.    

The J-2 S-IVB engine is gone, but NASA is working on J-2X, which could power a new Saturn IB upper stage.  It is expected to be much more efficient (higher specific impulse) and to produce more thrust than the original J-2.  

No one builds S-IVB stages anymore, of course, but the planned Ares I upper stage is in the general vicinity of what would be needed, as is the new Ares I Instrument Unit.  

Remember that Saturn IB was a less than optimal design because its primary reason for existing was to test the Saturn V S-IVB stage and the Apollo CSM and LM payloads as early as possible.  (Saturn C-2, which was supposed to be the ultimate cluster booster, would have been Ares I class.)  Saturn IB carried the big SLA payload adapter that wasn't needed on most flights, for example, taking away from payload capability.

A "new" Saturn IB, fitted with a J-2X, would be able to boost more than 20 tonnes (possibly as much as 22 tonnes) to LEO.  

An alternative approach would be to build a new first stage powered by two RS-68 engines, topped by a J-2X powered second stage.  This machine, which I suppose could not be considered "Saturn derived" any more, would be able to boost 24 tonnes or more to LEO.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline Oersted

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #38 on: 03/26/2008 07:54 pm »
One more thing to ponder regarding a Saturn class launch vehicle: it carried a huge space station into orbit with a diameter of no less than 6.7 meters! - With just five or six launches we could have had the ISS up there, and with nice big interior spaces.

Instead the limitations of the Shuttle bay and the Russian rockets have forced to us to a decade-long jigsaw puzzle of a construction project. Tiny little modules that look like a Salyut or a MIR. What's the fun of being weightless if you can hardly cavort around like the Skylab astronauts? - Sad really... Such a step back to abandon the Saturn class rocket.

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #39 on: 03/26/2008 07:56 pm »
Just look!!


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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #40 on: 03/26/2008 08:26 pm »

Online vt_hokie

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #41 on: 03/26/2008 08:35 pm »
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Rusty_Barton - 26/3/2008  5:26 PM

I like this size comparison diagram of space stations.


Cool!  What's on the far right, the proposed Chinese station?

Offline davcbow

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RE: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #42 on: 03/26/2008 08:56 pm »
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cneth - 23/3/2008  8:07 PM

To me, the analogy is to think about recreating a car like the 65 mustang again.  Sure, you could re-create it, but do you really want a 'new' 65 mustang?  Without airbags, seatbelts, crush resistant bumpers, fuel injection, etc, etc, etc?   After all, that 65 mustang would take you to the grocery, just like today's car, right?

The reality is that today's vehicles are many times safer, handle better, get better fuel mileage, etc.    And that's what you want.   Yes, they do the same 'mission', but today's car does it better and safer.

Just look at that Apollo landing computer - your cell phone has more capability.  And that's just one system.  By the time you 'upgrade' all the parts, well, you may as well start over.

The 65 Mustang was a simple car to work on, any shade tree mechanic could repair it. Do that with todays designs.... :)
Space-The only frontier we have left..

Offline Oersted

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #43 on: 03/26/2008 09:32 pm »
Quote
Rusty_Barton - 26/3/2008  10:26 PM

I like this size comparison diagram of space stations.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/forums/get-attachment-big.asp?action=view&attachmentid=10351


Great diagram!

Internal volume of Skylab (+ Apollo command module): 368 cubic meters.

Internal volume of the ISS when completed: 1200 cubic meters.

- Most importantly, the ISS will have taken 46 launches to reach that figure!

Offline iamlucky13

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #44 on: 03/27/2008 04:56 pm »
Quote
vt_hokie - 26/3/2008  2:35 PM

Quote
Rusty_Barton - 26/3/2008  5:26 PM

I like this size comparison diagram of space stations.


Cool!  What's on the far right, the proposed Chinese station?
I'm actually curious what's on the far left. I'm pretty sure it's bigger than a Salyut.

And I assume to the left of Mir is Mir in an earlier stage.

An interesting thing to note is that the internal volume of the ISS may only be 3-4 times more than Skylab, but it looks way more impressive because of the huge solar wings and truss structure (and that image shows at least one cancelled module on the ISS).

Offline William Barton

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RE: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #45 on: 03/27/2008 05:09 pm »
Quote
davcbow - 26/3/2008  5:56 PM

Quote
cneth - 23/3/2008  8:07 PM

To me, the analogy is to think about recreating a car like the 65 mustang again.  Sure, you could re-create it, but do you really want a 'new' 65 mustang?  Without airbags, seatbelts, crush resistant bumpers, fuel injection, etc, etc, etc?   After all, that 65 mustang would take you to the grocery, just like today's car, right?

The reality is that today's vehicles are many times safer, handle better, get better fuel mileage, etc.    And that's what you want.   Yes, they do the same 'mission', but today's car does it better and safer.

Just look at that Apollo landing computer - your cell phone has more capability.  And that's just one system.  By the time you 'upgrade' all the parts, well, you may as well start over.

The 65 Mustang was a simple car to work on, any shade tree mechanic could repair it. Do that with todays designs.... :)

What you'd end up with is a contemporary car with the '65 Mustang Outer Mold Line. Me, I prefer the 1960 Corvette OML...  :laugh:

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #46 on: 03/27/2008 05:11 pm »
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iamlucky13 - 27/3/2008  1:56 PM

(and that image shows at least one cancelled module on the ISS).

Not to mention the "power tower"

Offline Takalok

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RE: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #47 on: 03/29/2008 03:06 am »
Quote
cneth - 23/3/2008  8:07 PM

To me, the analogy is to think about recreating a car like the 65 mustang again.  Sure, you could re-create it, but do you really want a 'new' 65 mustang?  Without airbags, seatbelts, crush resistant bumpers, fuel injection, etc, etc, etc?   After all, that 65 mustang would take you to the grocery, just like today's car, right?

The reality is that today's vehicles are many times safer, handle better, get better fuel mileage, etc.    And that's what you want.   Yes, they do the same 'mission', but today's car does it better and safer.

Just look at that Apollo landing computer - your cell phone has more capability.  And that's just one system.  By the time you 'upgrade' all the parts, well, you may as well start over.


I'd have to disagree with the analogy, which assumes that materials and fluid engineering have kept pace with IC technology.  Really, nothing could be less true.  While it is true that electronics have advanced tremendously, rocket engines really haven't advanced much at all.  The actual comparison would be between a '65 Mustang and a '68 Mustang.

As for safety, I would submit the Apollo rocket is still the safest rocket ever built - far more so than STS.  Given that Ares is a copy / restart of Saturn in many respects, I expect it has a chance to be comparably safe.  But the use of the solid booster would probably make the Ares less safe than Saturn.  

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RE: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #48 on: 03/29/2008 03:33 am »
Quote
Takalok - 28/3/2008  11:06 PM

As for safety, I would submit the Apollo rocket is still the safest rocket ever built - far more so than STS.  Given that Ares is a copy / restart of Saturn in many respects, I expect it has a chance to be comparably safe.  But the use of the solid booster would probably make the Ares less safe than Saturn.  


I'm not so sure about "less safe".  Solid rocket motors have a lower failure rate than liquid rocket engines.  

Saturn had some close calls - three Saturn V flights (502, 508, 513) came very close to total failure (502 actually did suffer a launch vehicle failure) and one Saturn IB just barely avoided a catastrophic total engine shut-down just after it lifted off.   There were only 13 Saturn V launches and 19 by Saturn I/IB.  If NASA had flown Saturn as much as Shuttle, it would most likely have suffered at least as many failures - and there were non-survivable Saturn failure modes.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline hop

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RE: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #49 on: 03/29/2008 04:11 am »
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Takalok - 28/3/2008  9:06 PM
As for safety, I would submit the Apollo rocket is still the safest rocket ever built - far more so than STS.
I don't see any justification for that. The sample size is far too small. Remember, if STS had only flown as many times as Saturn V, it would have a perfect safety record too. In fact, it had a perfect record for many more flights.

Furthermore, if you look at LV failure rates, they don't seem to correlate particularly well to the underlying design (i.e. number of engines, type of propellant, number of stages) at all. If you can find any pattern at all, experience of the organization and maturity of the vehicle look like far better candidates.

I personally find the Saturn V aesthetically pleasing. It looks more like the right way to do it to me than Ares, but I don't think the reliability argument is at all convincing.

Offline 8900

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #50 on: 03/29/2008 04:21 am »
besides, Saturn V can be used to assemble a really huge space station
100 tonnes modules connected together can produce a really big interior space for all research purposes
And then scale up the Apollo (similar to Orion) to accommodate more people(6-7people)

Offline clongton

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #51 on: 03/29/2008 11:55 am »
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8900 - 29/3/2008  1:21 AM

besides, Saturn V can be used to assemble a really huge space station
100 tonnes modules connected together can produce a really big interior space for all research purposes. And then scale up the Apollo (similar to Orion) to accommodate more people(6-7people)
I recently had the opportunity to revisit the Smithsonian Air and Space museum again, and I couldn’t wait to revisit the Skylab station, one of my favorite exhibits. While there, we had a good discussion with a subject matter expert, and one of the topics was about station design. It turns out that one of the lessons learned from Skylab was that the open space can actually be “too big” in a zero-g environment. The compartments are quite large and there was more than one occasion when a member of the crew found themself floating in the middle of the “room”, completely unable to get to anything, because they couldn’t reach any wall, piece of equipment or protrusion of any kind. They ended up flaying around until one of the other crew members arrived to quite literally “pull them in”. Imagine being in this situation during an emergency when you must accomplish some task in order to stay alive, but are literally unable to move your body to the location required.

I relate all that to say that the lesson learned from Skylab in this regard is that in a zero-g environment, the open space inside must not be large enough for that scenario to happen. So what you see on ISS, for example, is about the size of available open space in any compartment that you will likely ever see in a zero-g station. Now of course, a large station made up of half a dozed 100mT modules could have lots and lots of compartments, including very large ones that occupy an entire "deck" stretching across the station, but you can be sure that a bulkhead, wall, ceiling or deck will never be further away than the length of a human body with an outstretched arm.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline grakenverb

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #52 on: 03/29/2008 12:07 pm »
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clongton - 29/3/2008  8:55 AM

 It turns out that one of the lessons learned from Skylab was that the open space can actually be “too big” in a zero-g environment. The compartments are quite large and there was more than one occasion when a member of the crew found themself floating in the middle of the “room”, completely unable to get to anything, because they couldn’t reach any wall, piece of equipment or protrusion of any kind. They ended up flaying around until one of the other crew members arrived to quite literally “pull them in”. Imagine being in this situation during an emergency when you must accomplish some task in order to stay alive, but are literally unable to move your body to the location required.



Perhaps if such a large space is constructed on a space station again, station occupants could wear a "utility belt" that has a can of compressed air ($2.99) that can be used as a method of propulsion in an emergency.

Offline Takalok

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #53 on: 03/29/2008 01:45 pm »
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8900 - 29/3/2008  1:21 AM

The compartments are quite large and there was more than one occasion when a member of the crew found themself floating in the middle of the “room”, completely unable to get to anything, because they couldn’t reach any wall, piece of equipment or protrusion of any kind. They ended up flaying around until one of the other crew members arrived to quite literally “pull them in”.

LOL, what an image.  

I was only around 10 years old at the time of SkyLab, but I don't recall NASA mentioning "marooned" astronauts.  Heh, I can imagine why.

I suppose a configuration like an airliner, where the top and bottoms of the tube are used for storage and support systems would solve the problem.
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Offline clongton

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #54 on: 03/29/2008 01:55 pm »
I actually like the look and feel of decks, like floors in a high rise building. If the basic structure were 10m diameter, then each “deck” would be a 10m diameter deck, with different sized compartments located on it, like different sized “offices” on a high rise floor. Each deck would not exceed the floor to ceiling length of a human body with an outstretch arm, which would provide the necessary “grabbing” room, but would allow for virtually any size compartment on the deck, from a tiny water closet to a huge conference room occupying the entire deck, and everything in between. To me it seems like a more efficient use of space, no pun intended.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline Takalok

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RE: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #55 on: 03/29/2008 02:10 pm »
Quote
hop - 29/3/2008  1:11 AM

Quote
Takalok - 28/3/2008  9:06 PM
As for safety, I would submit the Apollo rocket is still the safest rocket ever built - far more so than STS.
I don't see any justification for that. The sample size is far too small. Remember, if STS had only flown as many times as Saturn V, it would have a perfect safety record too. In fact, it had a perfect record for many more flights.

Furthermore, if you look at LV failure rates, they don't seem to correlate particularly well to the underlying design (i.e. number of engines, type of propellant, number of stages) at all. If you can find any pattern at all, experience of the organization and maturity of the vehicle look like far better candidates.


I agree the sample size is too small for a very persuasive statistical argument, but there's other ways to crack this nut.

I think it's reasonable to say that Saturn as a system is safer than STS as a system simply because of the Launch Escape System (LES), which STS doesn't have.  The launch of Soyuz T-10-1 in 1983 is a pretty good demonstration of that.  Constellation is going back to a capsule with a LES like Saturn had for good reason.

After LES jettison, the astronauts could still abort and (hopefully) parachute down safely.  No such option exists for STS (as with Challenger)

Also, in Apollo, the service module protected the heat shield, and the boost protective cover (BPC) protected the top of the capsule.  STS has it all hanging out there during launch which (as with Columbia) is a bit of a risk.

As for the comparison between solid and liquid motors, there are a couple of well known arguments, most of which were put forward in the original design of the Saturn:

     Once a solid booster is lit, you can't shut it off.  That makes it more dangerous than a liquid.

     Small clustered liquid engines provide a redundancy not available with large solids (aka STS)

     Solids have oscillation problems.  It might be a mistake to compare that to "pogo" problems with liquid motors, but at this time pogo is resolved, and solid oscillation is not.  For Ares I, this is a problem.

Unfortunately, there are are very few systems to ever have put a human into space, and they basically boil down to (excluding the early ICBMs) Soyuz, Saturn and STS.  Hey, shoot me, but of the three, I'll give the nod to Saturn for safety.

However, lighting off several million pounds of fuel under your butt is never "safe."  It is all somewhat relative after all.

Life is what happens while you're waiting for tomorrow.

Offline hop

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RE: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #56 on: 03/29/2008 09:14 pm »
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Takalok - 29/3/2008  8:10 AM
I think it's reasonable to say that Saturn as a system is safer than STS as a system simply because of the Launch Escape System (LES), which STS doesn't have.  The launch of Soyuz T-10-1 in 1983 is a pretty good demonstration of that.  Constellation is going back to a capsule with a LES like Saturn had for good reason.
From a crew survival point of view, I completely agree. I assumed (perhaps mistakenly) the discussion was about the launcher, not the LV/Spacecraft combination.

Offline khallow

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RE: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #57 on: 03/29/2008 09:57 pm »
Quote
hop - 29/3/2008  3:14 PM

Quote
Takalok - 29/3/2008  8:10 AM
I think it's reasonable to say that Saturn as a system is safer than STS as a system simply because of the Launch Escape System (LES), which STS doesn't have.  The launch of Soyuz T-10-1 in 1983 is a pretty good demonstration of that.  Constellation is going back to a capsule with a LES like Saturn had for good reason.
From a crew survival point of view, I completely agree. I assumed (perhaps mistakenly) the discussion was about the launcher, not the LV/Spacecraft combination.

Doesn't mean it's safer. The  Shuttle went 122 missions with only one time when the LES might have been useful (during the Challenger disaster). It's possible for the Saturn V to have a much higher launch failure rate and a higher crew loss rate during launch (that is LES improves the odds but not enough) than the Shuttle, despite the presence of the LES. That's just during launch. We also have to consider the safety of the system during the rest of the mission over which the LES isn't used. There's no clean comparison there because most of Apollo missions were high risk missions to the Moon while the Shuttle hasn't done anything nearly that high-risk.
Karl Hallowell

Offline Patchouli

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RE: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #58 on: 03/30/2008 05:24 am »
The Lox kerosene first stage on the Saturn is in theory safer then an SRB though the RSRM is now well understood now and is safe so long as you follow safety procedures .

Of course all this so called safety is with the 4 segment RSRM and with side mount I feel on Ares I none of the shuttle's past performance can be applied since the booster will experience new forces not seen in it's past service.

The Jupiter 120 for example might actually be safe enough you may never need to use the LAS so long as the same safety procedures as the shuttle are followed.

Yes I know it's a different vehicle but all segmented SRBs have issues with cold even the Titian III and IV did.

On safety Soyuz isn't lot better then the shuttle it too had two LOC events one can actually be blamed on there not being enough room for the crew to ware pressure suits.

Soyuz was completely redesigned after Soyuz 11 and the descent vehicle that flies today has little in common with the old Soyuz 7KT-OK internally.

Challenger falls under a soyuz 11 type failure since the RSRM was redesigned and new safety policies introduced.


Apollo I'd say over all had a worse safety record then the shuttle one LOC in training ,one LOM and one near LOC but only 16 missions.

Though Apollo 1 can be partly blamed on Russian secrecy covering up and early accident with pure O2 and the US space program being unusually lucky dealing with pure O2 at 1 ATM.

If the US knew of the early Russian accident Apollo might not even have flown with a Pure O2 atmosphere.

But the Apollo likely would have survived the challenger type failure because of it's LAS and the fact it rides on top of the launch vehicle.

Also it's LAS was better then what Soyuz had until I think Soyuz TM in that it had a better thrust profile not as high g as an early Soyuz only 10g vs 15 to 20g.

The US just had much more experience with SRBs and it took a while for the Russians to catch up.

Of course these are not capsule specific features just things you get to have because the vehicle rides on top of the stack.

Though the lunar Apollo's were very high risk missions while the shuttle and Soyuz typically didn't perform high risk missions.

Well docking with a space station and staying in it for nearly 24 days was high risk back in 1971.

Also in defense of Soyuz in someways it was a much larger leap from Voskhod then Apollo was from Gemini.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #59 on: 03/30/2008 06:30 am »
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8900 - 29/3/2008  12:21 AM

besides, Saturn V can be used to assemble a really huge space station
100 tonnes modules connected together can produce a really big interior space for all research purposes
And then scale up the Apollo (similar to Orion) to accommodate more people(6-7people)

I wonder if a modern Saturn like vehicle well a Saturn in spirit could be cost effective.

Such as using ET tooling to make the first stage and using the RS 84 or TR-107.

It could save on operating costs if the stage is able to fly back for reuse since this doesn't impact payload too much since the first stage needs little thermo protection and any wings can also hold more kerosene.

They actually studied this back in the 60s before the shuttle was set in stone and it didn't impact the payload too badly but the F1 engines were only good for one use.

Not sure if it would be practical to reuse the second stage as TPS and recovery systems for it will eat up about one half to 70% of it's payload or it did in the 1960's study.

Also a 70% scale shuttle type orbiter that rides on top of a Saturn V class rocket likely would be a very safe vehicle.

Just about every failure with the shuttle can be attributed to the side mounting of the orbiter exposing it to debris and making it too difficult to separate it from the rest of the launch vehicle in flight.


Offline Takalok

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RE: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #60 on: 03/30/2008 07:31 am »
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Takalok - 29/3/2008  8:10 AM
I think it's reasonable to say that Saturn as a system is safer than STS as a system simply because of the Launch Escape System (LES), which STS doesn't have.  The launch of Soyuz T-10-1 in 1983 is a pretty good demonstration of that.  Constellation is going back to a capsule with a LES like Saturn had for good reason.
From a crew survival point of view, I completely agree. I assumed (perhaps mistakenly) the discussion was about the launcher, not the LV/Spacecraft combination.

Or more likely my lack of precision in discussing things.  I assume the blame there.  Saturn is the launcher and Apollo the payload.  I got lazy and just started saying "Saturn" instead of "Saturn / Apollo."  I'm thinking of "systems that get humans into space."  My fault.

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Doesn't mean it's safer. The Shuttle went 122 missions with only one time when the LES might have been useful
Karl Hallowell

I agree that statistically, it's hard to compare numbers because there's been so many shuttle flights and so few Saturn flights.

However, you own assertion (that a LES would have only been useful once) kind of undoes your point.  Let's just assume that all systems have a failure rate, whatever that rate is.  The next question becomes, "How does this system perform when something's wrong?"

From the moment the shuttle's SRMs light, it is at criticality 1 until about T+ 2:30, meaning there's no room for failure.  Any but the most minor of failures will result in LOC.  It's an all or nothing system.  

Saturn can take a lot of failure and still marginally perform, and even in worst case scenarios provide a realistic scenario for aborting.  (Saturn / Apollo has a number of realistic abort modes from Pad to final insertion)

Another weakness of the shuttle is it's size, shape, and consequent lack of aerodynamic capabilities.  Challenger literally was ripped apart by the wind.  That would be an unlikely scenario with Apollo or Orion.  

So, I guess I'd say if a system is safe only as long as nothing goes wrong, it's actually not very safe.
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Offline Takalok

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #61 on: 03/30/2008 07:57 am »
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Patchouli - 30/3/2008  2:30 AM
I wonder if a modern Saturn like vehicle well a Saturn in spirit could be cost effective.
I think so.  
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F-1 Article
Rocketdyne estimated that activation of the production line would cost $315 million in 1991 dollars. A significant chunk of that money, $100 million, would be required to pay for four test engines and a spare. These costs apparently did not include reactivation of the special test stands that had been used for the F-1.
Even adjusted for inflation and optimism, restart of the F-1A would be less money than has already been spent researching the new five segment SRB.  

Given that just about the entire Saturn / Apollo system is already in restart / redesign mode, going all the way with the F-1A rather than the new SRB is a pretty good idea.  

Elsewhere in this forum though, people have noted various political problems with that scenario (such as shutting down SRB production).  So costs aside, there's that to consider as well.
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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #62 on: 04/23/2022 01:15 pm »

Astronautix.com lists the cost of a Saturn V as  $ 431M in 1967. That is the equivalent of $2.6 B today.  I had not realized it was nearly so much.

Well... Didn't SLS has proved to be costing well beyond $4B per launch?
Sure, Commerical Alternatives to Heavy Weight launchers do exist now (*coughs* Starship ), but Maybe, just maybe, if Saturn V continued to be in production now, it would have been way more capable than it was in 1972, i.e, 60+ tons to moon i guess, and still cost less than SLS Block2, and don't forget.... No additional dev cost.. Hmm.. any replies? :-)
« Last Edit: 07/02/2022 12:50 am by zubenelgenubi »

Offline spacenut

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #63 on: 04/23/2022 01:56 pm »
This is an old thread, but back in the late 1960's they were considering upgrading the Saturn V.  They were going to upgrade the F-1 engines from 1.5 million lbs thrust to 1.8 million.  They were going to upgrade the J-2 engines from 200,000 lbs thrust to 250,000 lbs thrust.  That would be 9 million lbs thrust on the booster and the second stage would go from 1 million lbs thrust to 1,250,000 lbs thrust. 

Then, they considered putting a heat shield on the top of the first stage and landing it engines up in the ocean by parachute.  They also considered doing the same for the third stage, using parachutes and landing legs after reentry.

They also considered adding two liquid fueled boosters using F-1's to the side of the Saturn V booster to push it to around 12 million lbs thrust to the limit of the flame trenches at 39a and 39b pads.  This could have greatly increased the LEO payload capability beyond 150 tons and the TLI capability.  This would have cost very little in comparison to building new transporters, launch facilities, new SSME's solids, etc that shuttle ended up costing. 

By allowing reuse of the booster and the third stage, would have cut costs.  As time went on, with today's standards, 3D printed engines and parts could have been used to cut costs even more. 

Well, it never happened.  F9 lifts the equivelant of the Saturn IB to LEO, and can deliver to higher orbits.  FH can twice that with reuse.  Now we are getting Starship/Superheavy, hopefully New Glenn, Vulcan with SMART reuse of engines, maybe ACES.  Also Neutron will be coming along.  No need to build Saturn V again.  Superheavy is the new Saturn V booster at over twice the thrust for more payload, cheaper engines, and more robust design for reuse.   

Offline Jim

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #64 on: 04/23/2022 03:35 pm »

Astronautix.com lists the cost of a Saturn V as  $ 431M in 1967. That is the equivalent of $2.6 B today.  I had not realized it was nearly so much.

Well... Didn't SLS has proved to be costing well beyond $4B per launch?
Sure, Commerical Alternatives to Heavy Weight launchers do exist now (*coughs* Starship ), but Maybe, just maybe, if Saturn V continued to be in production now, it would have been way more capable than it was in 1972, i.e, 60+ tons to moon i guess, and still cost less than SLS Block2, and don't forget.... No additional dev cost.. Hmm.. any replies? :-)


Still would be as expensive as SLS due to low flight rate
« Last Edit: 07/02/2022 12:51 am by zubenelgenubi »

Offline pathfinder_01

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #65 on: 04/24/2022 01:20 am »
This is an old thread, but back in the late 1960's they were considering upgrading the Saturn V.  They were going to upgrade the F-1 engines from 1.5 million lbs thrust to 1.8 million.  They were going to upgrade the J-2 engines from 200,000 lbs thrust to 250,000 lbs thrust.  That would be 9 million lbs thrust on the booster and the second stage would go from 1 million lbs thrust to 1,250,000 lbs thrust. 

The problem with the Saturn V is the same as the problem with the SLS. It is a mega rocket with one user and one use. This is not the way to drive down costs. In addition NASA would be the only organization supplying payloads for it, and larger payloads have a tendency to be more expensive.

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Then, they considered putting a heat shield on the top of the first stage and landing it engines up in the ocean by parachute.  They also considered doing the same for the third stage, using parachutes and landing legs after reentry.

Which likely would not have worked. Falcon 9 tried this before switching to propulsive return of the first stage. The stage did splash down, only to explode from the thermal shock of cold water and hot engines.

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They also considered adding two liquid fueled boosters using F-1's to the side of the Saturn V booster to push it to around 12 million lbs thrust to the limit of the flame trenches at 39a and 39b pads.  This could have greatly increased the LEO payload capability beyond 150 tons and the TLI capability.  This would have cost very little in comparison to building new transporters, launch facilities, new SSME's solids, etc that shuttle ended up costing. 

The purpose of the shuttle was not to go to the moon. It was to be a reusable launch vehicle that  would achieve such low costs that expendables would be outmoded. If BEO spaceflight was needed the shuttle with its' rapid launch pace would assemble space stations as well as spacecraft to take people to the Moon and Mars. It was rather like Starship in this regard.

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By allowing reuse of the booster and the third stage, would have cut costs.  As time went on, with today's standards, 3D printed engines and parts could have been used to cut costs even more. 

Not really.  Reuse can cut costs but you need enough flight rate to make use of it and NASA alone could never generate it. The Shuttle was supposed to launch ALL payloads manned, unmanned, DOD, Probes to the planets, everything. It was supposed to fly a lot more than 4-6 times a year but one cold January morning in 1986 put an end to this dream and the reality of what the shuttle was was slowly revealed to all. It was more expensive than the ELV, risked lives on each flight, and could never achieve a flight rate that could replace ALL other launchers.  How many launches of an Saturn V could NASA reasonably be able to fund esp. with a reduction to it's budget?

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Well, it never happened.  F9 lifts the equivelant of the Saturn IB to LEO, and can deliver to higher orbits.  FH can twice that with reuse.  Now we are getting Starship/Superheavy, hopefully New Glenn, Vulcan with SMART reuse of engines, maybe ACES.  Also Neutron will be coming along.  No need to build Saturn V again.  Superheavy is the new Saturn V booster at over twice the thrust for more payload, cheaper engines, and more robust design for reuse.

Actually the inability to deliver to high orbits\more energetic orbits is what doomed the Saturn 1B.  Manned spaceflight is exciting but at the moment it is the tail waging the dog. In fact if Space X only had NASA manned spaceflight as it's customer it would be much more expensive. It would only able to spread its' fixed costs over about 4 flights and the case for reuse would be weaker.

Starship is NOT the Saturn V all over again. Saturn V was to big to use for much more than a lunar flight maybe the occasional space station module. The most important thing about Starship isn't that it can support manned spaceflight but that it MUST also support unmanned spaceflight for Elon's dream to have any chance of coming into existence. It improves many of the flaws that made the Shuttle unable to live to it's dream such as not always being manned, able to carry payloads direct to GTO without an upper stage and not throwing away an expensive tank and splashing SRB's into the ocean.

Anyway the Saturn 1 was shared between the Airforce and NASA. There was a need to put heavier spy satellites  into higher orbits and so the Airforce explored two means for doing it.  Add a third stage to Saturn 1B or upgrade the Titan II into what became the Titan III. The Titan II won out as being cheaper and so NASA would then have to bear the cost of the Saturn 1B all alone if they had kept it. There were plans to use the Titan III to launch modified version of the Apollo spacecraft to Skylab II but that didn't gain traction. Skylab II was not launched and no development went to making a new LEO optimized Apollo.

Also sometimes it takes more than just improving old tech to advance, sometimes you need new tech and new approaches. Also having more than one use/user helps. 
« Last Edit: 04/24/2022 01:47 am by pathfinder_01 »

Offline Komodo Lizard

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #66 on: 06/30/2022 04:05 pm »
There was nothing like the Saturn V and there won't be anything like the Saturn V. The SLS looks like a bits and pieces deal ;D

Online Vahe231991

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #67 on: 07/01/2022 01:12 am »
The Saturn V was largely derived from a US Army ballistic missile, and the cost of building a new Saturn V today would be about 2 billion dollars.

Offline Jim

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #68 on: 07/01/2022 12:31 pm »
The Saturn V was largely derived from a US Army ballistic missile, and the cost of building a new Saturn V today would be about 2 billion dollars.

No, it wasn't.  Saturn V was the first US launch vehicle not derived from a ballistic missile.

Offline Jim

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #69 on: 07/01/2022 12:31 pm »
There was nothing like the Saturn V and there won't be anything like the Saturn V.

Because there doesn't need to be one.

Offline Komodo Lizard

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #70 on: 07/01/2022 03:06 pm »
There was nothing like the Saturn V and there won't be anything like the Saturn V.

Because there doesn't need to be one.

Different times.The Saturn V was also style and looks based, not just fucntion to get to the moon. There is no way in the 1960s that NASA would have had a moon rocket that looked like the SLS.  America(and much of the world) was a very different place in those times. 

Online edkyle99

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #71 on: 07/01/2022 03:22 pm »
Different times.The Saturn V was also style and looks based, not just fucntion to get to the moon. There is no way in the 1960s that NASA would have had a moon rocket that looked like the SLS.  America(and much of the world) was a very different place in those times. 
Saturn V design was not built for "style".  It was designed to get 45 tonnes (or whatever it was) trans-lunar.  It was 33 feet max diameter because that was as big as they could weld and transport the stages.  The height and number of stages followed from the performance requirements given the available F-1 and J-2 engines.  The "style" you may be seeing was added functionality.  It was painted white, for example, to reduce solar heating, with black roll bars for optical tracking.  SLS uses spray-on foam insulation to minimize propellant boil-off instead of white paint.  The first stage fins were there to add abort stability.  If Saturn V production had continued, there would likely have been less paint and no fins as time passed.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 07/01/2022 03:28 pm by edkyle99 »

Online DanClemmensen

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Re: Why can't we build the SaturnV again?
« Reply #72 on: 07/01/2022 03:30 pm »
We are still capable of building Saturn V, or a battleship, or a huge steam locomotive, or a three-masted ship of the line, or an Egyptian pyramid, or any of the magnificent technological artifacts of the past. We would need to rebuild the appropriate production infrastructure and re-learn some techniques, and spend a lot of money, but we could do it. In all cases the result is obsolete and has been superseded by newer technologies.

Offline Jim

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Re: Why can't we build the Saturn V again?
« Reply #73 on: 07/02/2022 04:28 pm »

Different times.The Saturn V was also style and looks based, not just fucntion to get to the moon. There is no way in the 1960s that NASA would have had a moon rocket that looked like the SLS.  America(and much of the world) was a very different place in those times. 

Not true.  There were other different designs looked at. 


Offline Jim

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Re: Why can't we build the Saturn V again?
« Reply #74 on: 07/02/2022 04:32 pm »

Saturn V design was not built for "style".  It was designed to get 45 tonnes (or whatever it was) trans-lunar.  It was 33 feet max diameter because that was as big as they could weld and transport the stages.  The height and number of stages followed from the performance requirements given the available F-1 and J-2 engines.  The "style" you may be seeing was added functionality.  It was painted white, for example, to reduce solar heating, with black roll bars for optical tracking.  SLS uses spray-on foam insulation to minimize propellant boil-off instead of white paint.  The first stage fins were there to add abort stability.  If Saturn V production had continued, there would likely have been less paint and no fins as time passed.

 - Ed Kyle

Saturn V started using SOFI on the second stage and painted over it.   The third stage had its insulation on the interior, which has another set of problems.    If the Saturn V really needed more performance, the paint could have been traded for conversion coating and WD-40.

Tags: Saturn V Artemis 1 
 

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