Encyclopedia Astronautica
Saturn C-5N



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Saturn C-5N Nov 1961
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Saturn 5 nuclear
Saturn 5 nuclear configuration Nov 1961
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Saturn A-1 to C-5
Credit: © Mark Wade
American nuclear orbital launch vehicle. Version of Saturn C-5 considered with small nuclear thermal stage in place of S-IVB oxygen/hydrogen stage.

LEO Payload: 155,000 kg (341,000 lb) to a 185 km orbit at 28.00 degrees. Payload: 64,000 kg (141,000 lb) to a translunar trajectory.

Stage Data - Saturn C-5N

  • Stage 1. 1 x Saturn IC C-5A. Gross Mass: 2,217,285 kg (4,888,276 lb). Empty Mass: 131,495 kg (289,896 lb). Thrust (vac): 38,257.990 kN (8,600,738 lbf). Isp: 304 sec. Burn time: 160 sec. Isp(sl): 265 sec. Diameter: 10.06 m (33.00 ft). Span: 19.00 m (62.00 ft). Length: 42.87 m (140.64 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 5. Engine: F-1. Status: Study 1961. Comments: Final first stage design of Saturn C-5 (November 1961) before selection as Apollo launch vehicle and development in Saturn V.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Saturn II C-5A. Gross Mass: 384,057 kg (846,700 lb). Empty Mass: 31,740 kg (69,970 lb). Thrust (vac): 4,446.648 kN (999,646 lbf). Isp: 420 sec. Burn time: 320 sec. Isp(sl): 200 sec. Diameter: 10.06 m (33.00 ft). Span: 10.06 m (33.00 ft). Length: 21.39 m (70.17 ft). Propellants: Lox/LH2. No Engines: 5. Engine: J-2. Status: Study 1961. Comments: Final common second stage design for Saturn C-3, C-4 and C-5 (November 1961). Developed into Saturn V second stage.
  • Stage 3. 1 x Saturn S-N C-5N. Gross Mass: 53,694 kg (118,375 lb). Empty Mass: 10,429 kg (22,992 lb). Thrust (vac): 266.799 kN (59,979 lbf). Isp: 800 sec. Burn time: 1,250 sec. Diameter: 10.06 m (33.00 ft). Span: 10.06 m (33.00 ft). Length: 19.30 m (63.30 ft). Propellants: Nuclear/LH2. No Engines: 1. Engine: Nerva. Status: Study 1961. Comments: Nuclear upper stage considered in lieu of S-IVB in final Saturn C-5 study in November 1961.

Status: Study 1961.
Gross mass: 2,841,040 kg (6,263,420 lb).
Payload: 155,000 kg (341,000 lb).
Height: 100.00 m (320.00 ft).
Diameter: 10.06 m (33.00 ft).
Thrust: 33,350.00 kN (7,497,370 lbf).
Apogee: 185 km (114 mi).

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • F-1 Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 7740.5 kN. Isp=304s. Largest liquid rocket engine ever developed and flown. Severe combustion stability problems were solved during development and it never failed in flight. First flight 1967. More...
  • J-2 Rocketdyne lox/lh2 rocket engine. 1033.1 kN. Study 1961. Isp=421s. Used in Saturn IVB stage in Saturn IB and Saturn V, and Saturn II stage in Saturn V. Gas generator, pump-fed. First flight 1966. More...
  • Nerva DoE nuclear/lh2 rocket engine. 266 kN. Study 1968. Early version of Nerva engine proposed for use in Saturn and RIFT configurations in 1961. Isp=800s. More...

See also
  • Saturn The Saturn launch vehicle was the penultimate expression of the Peenemuende Rocket Team's designs for manned exploration of the moon and Mars. Numerous designs and variants were studied, but in the end only three models - the Saturn I, IB, and V - were built in the 1960's, and then only used to support NASA's Apollo moon landing program. More...
  • Saturn V America's booster for the Apollo manned lunar landing. The design was frozen before a landing mode was selected; the Saturn V could be used for either Earth-Orbit-Rendezvous or Lunar-Orbit-Rendezvous methods. The vehicle ended up with the same payload capability as the 'too large' Nova. The basic diameter was dictated by the ceiling height at the Michoud factory selected for first stage manufacture. Despite the study of innumerable variants, production was ended after only 12 were built and America spent the next fifty years in a pointless slow-motion withdrawal from manned space exploration. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Von Braun American manufacturer of rockets and spacecraft. Von Braun, USA. More...

Associated Stages
  • Saturn S-N C-5N Nuclear/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 53,694/10,429 kg. Thrust 266.80 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 800 seconds. Nuclear upper stage considered in lieu of S-IVB in final Saturn C-5 study in November 1961. More...
  • Saturn IC C-5A Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 2,217,285/131,495 kg. Thrust 38,257.99 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 304 seconds. Final first stage design of Saturn C-5 (November 1961) before selection as Apollo launch vehicle and development in Saturn V. More...
  • Saturn II C-5A Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 384,057/31,740 kg. Thrust 4,446.65 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 420 seconds. Final common second stage design for Saturn C-3, C-4 and C-5 (November 1961). Developed into Saturn V second stage. More...

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