Author Topic: Why can't we build the Saturn V again?  (Read 36596 times)

Offline 8900

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 434
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
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

  • Assistant Managing Editor
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7841
  • ad astra scientia
  • ~1 AU
  • Liked: 7876
  • Likes Given: 853
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

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 563
  • Liked: 28
  • Likes Given: 33
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

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6381
  • Liked: 483
  • Likes Given: 56
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

  • Member
  • Posts: 82
  • Liked: 20
  • Likes Given: 3
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

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10506
  • Liked: 628
  • Likes Given: 26
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"
-Robert A. Heinlein

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 36050
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 18550
  • Likes Given: 398
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

  • Science Guy
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7136
  • Liked: 310
  • Likes Given: 175
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

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10506
  • Liked: 628
  • Likes Given: 26
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"
-Robert A. Heinlein

Offline meiza

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3067
  • Where Be Dragons
  • Liked: 5
  • Likes Given: 3
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

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11661
  • Connecticut
    • Direct Launcher
  • Liked: 6307
  • Likes Given: 3081
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

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 854
  • Liked: 196
  • Likes Given: 24
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

  • Armchair Astronaut
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 625
  • Baltimore, Md
    • Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 16
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

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11661
  • Connecticut
    • Direct Launcher
  • Liked: 6307
  • Likes Given: 3081
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

  • Science Guy
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7136
  • Liked: 310
  • Likes Given: 175
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

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3067
  • Where Be Dragons
  • Liked: 5
  • Likes Given: 3
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

  • Extreme Veteran
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1671
  • EU.Ro
  • Liked: 17
  • Likes Given: 2
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

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 259
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 8
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

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3352
  • Liked: 551
  • Likes Given: 891
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

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 233
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
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)

Tags: Saturn V Artemis 1 
 

Advertisement NovaTech
Advertisement SkyTale Software GmbH
Advertisement Northrop Grumman
Advertisement
Advertisement Brady Kenniston
Advertisement NextSpaceflight
Advertisement Nathan Barker Photography
0