Author Topic: Why can't we build the Saturn V again?  (Read 37147 times)

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

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

Offline 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. 

Offline 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 »

Offline 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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