Encyclopedia Astronautica
Saturn C-2



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Saturn II (1959)
Saturn II configuration for Project Horizon
Credit: US Army
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Saturn II Stages
Saturn II, Stages 1 through 4, configuration for Project Horizon (1959)
Credit: US Army
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Saturn C-2 with RIFT
Saturn C-2 with RIFT (Reactor In-Flight Test) Nuclear upper stage
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Saturn A-1 to C-5
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Saturn C1 to C5
Saturn C1 C2 C3 C4 C5
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Saturn C-2 early
Saturn C-2 early concept
Credit: © Mark Wade
American orbital launch vehicle. The launch vehicle initially considered for realizing the Apollo lunar landing at the earliest possible date. 15 launches and rendezvous required to assemble direct landing spacecraft in earth orbit.

LEO Payload: 21,500 kg (47,300 lb) to a 185 km orbit at 28.00 degrees. Payload: 6,800 kg (14,900 lb) to a translunar trajectory in 1985 dollars. Flyaway Unit Cost $: 107.300 million.

Stage Data - Saturn C-2

  • Stage 1. 1 x Saturn I. Gross Mass: 432,681 kg (953,898 lb). Empty Mass: 45,267 kg (99,796 lb). Thrust (vac): 7,582.100 kN (1,704,524 lbf). Isp: 289 sec. Burn time: 150 sec. Isp(sl): 255 sec. Diameter: 6.52 m (21.39 ft). Span: 6.52 m (21.39 ft). Length: 24.48 m (80.31 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 8. Engine: H-1. Status: Out of Production.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Saturn S-II. Gross Mass: 100,000 kg (220,000 lb). Empty Mass: 14,000 kg (30,000 lb). Thrust (vac): 3,557.313 kN (799,716 lbf). Isp: 420 sec. Burn time: 100 sec. Isp(sl): 300 sec. Diameter: 6.60 m (21.60 ft). Span: 6.60 m (21.60 ft). Length: 22.56 m (74.01 ft). Propellants: Lox/LH2. No Engines: 4. Engine: J-2. Status: Study 1960.
  • Stage 3. 1 x Saturn IV. Gross Mass: 50,576 kg (111,500 lb). Empty Mass: 5,217 kg (11,501 lb). Thrust (vac): 400.346 kN (90,001 lbf). Isp: 410 sec. Burn time: 482 sec. Diameter: 5.49 m (18.01 ft). Span: 5.49 m (18.01 ft). Length: 12.19 m (39.99 ft). Propellants: Lox/LH2. No Engines: 6. Engine: RL-10. Status: Out of Production.
  • Stage 4. 1 x Centaur C. Gross Mass: 15,600 kg (34,300 lb). Empty Mass: 1,996 kg (4,400 lb). Thrust (vac): 133.448 kN (30,000 lbf). Isp: 425 sec. Burn time: 430 sec. Isp(sl): 0.0000 sec. Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft). Span: 3.05 m (10.00 ft). Length: 9.14 m (29.98 ft). Propellants: Lox/LH2. No Engines: 2. Engine: RL-10A-1. Status: Out of Production.

Status: Study 1960.
Gross mass: 624,660 kg (1,377,130 lb).
Payload: 21,500 kg (47,300 lb).
Height: 82.00 m (269.00 ft).
Diameter: 6.60 m (21.60 ft).
Thrust: 6,690.00 kN (1,503,970 lbf).
Apogee: 185 km (114 mi).

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Horizon Lunar Outpost American manned lunar base. Study 1959. In 1959 the US Army completed a plan for a manned military outpost on the moon. More...
  • Mercury American manned spacecraft. 18 launches, 1960.01.21 (Mercury LJ-1B) to 1963.05.15 (Mercury MA-9). America's first man-in-space project. The capsule had to be as small as possible to match the orbital payload capability of America's first ICBM, the Atlas. More...
  • Horizon LERV American manned lunar lander. Study 1959. Lunar landing and return vehicle planned to take up to 16 crew to the lunar surface and back in the US Army's Project Horizon of 1959. More...
  • Navigator American outer planets probe. Study 1962. 1962 JPL concept for a dedicated spacecraft to be launched by a Saturn C-2 or RIFT booster on missions to Mercury and Jupiter. Never went beyond preliminary study stage. More...

Associated Engines
  • H-1 Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 947.7 kN. Saturn l/lB. Designed for booster applications. Gas generator, pump-fed. Isp=289s. First flight 1961. 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...
  • RL-10 Pratt and Whitney lox/lh2 rocket engine. 66.7 kN. Isp=410s. Early version as proposed for Nova A, Nova B, Saturn B-1, Saturn C-2, Saturn C-3, Saturn I. First flight 1961. More...
  • RL-10A-1 Pratt and Whitney lox/lh2 rocket engine. 66.7 kN. Isp=425s. Version used on Atlas Centaur LV-3C, and proposed for various early Saturn launch vehicle designs. First flight 1961. 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...

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

Bibliography
  • Ertel , Ivan D; Morse , Mary Louise; et al, The Apollo Spacecraft Chronology Vol I - IV NASA SP-4009, NASA, 1966-1974. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Baker, David, The History of Manned Spaceflight, Crown, New York, 1981.
  • Brooks, Courtney G, Grimwood, Hames M, Swenson, Lloyd S, Chariots for Apollo, Government Printing Office, 1989. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Koelle, Heinz Hermann,, Handbook of Astronautical Engineering, McGraw-Hill,New York, 1961.
  • Bilstein, Roger E, Stages to Saturn, US Government Printing Office, 1980.
  • Lowther, Scott, Saturn: Development, Details, Derivatives and Descendants, Work in progress. Availabe chapters may be ordered directly from Scott Lowther at web site indicated. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Stuhlinger, Ernst, et. al., Astronautical Engineering and Science: From Peenemuende to Planetary Space, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1964.

Associated Stages
  • Centaur C Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 15,600/1,996 kg. Thrust 133.45 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 425 seconds. The first high-energy liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen propellant stage in history. Despite initial development problems, the Centaur is entering its sixth decade of development and production. More...
  • Saturn I Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 432,681/45,267 kg. Thrust 7,582.10 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 289 seconds. Configuration as flown, Saturn I. More...
  • Saturn IV Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 50,576/5,217 kg. Thrust 400.35 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 410 seconds. Configuration as flown. More...
  • Saturn S-II Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 100,000/14,000 kg. Thrust 3,557.31 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 420 seconds. Early design version for use with Saturn I first stage. More...

Saturn C-2 Chronology


1959 May 25-26 - . LV Family: Nova; Saturn C-3; Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • National booster program, Dyna-Soar, and Mercury discussed - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Faget; Low, George. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Mercury. The national booster program, Dyna-Soar, and Project Mercury were discussed by the Research Steering Committee. Members also presented reviews of Center programs related to manned space flight. Maxime A. Faget of STG endorsed lunar exploration as the present goal of the Committee although recognizing the end objective as manned interplanetary travel. George M. Low of NASA Headquarters recommended that the Committee:
    • Adopt the lunar landing mission as its long-range objective.
    • Investigate vehicle staging so that Saturn could be used for manned lunar landings without complete reliance on Nova.
    • Make a study of whether parachute or airport landing techniques should be emphasized.
    • Consider nuclear rocket propulsion possibilities for space flight.
    • Attach importance to research on auxiliary power plants such as hydrogen-oxygen systems.

1959 June 25-26 - . Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • Lunar mission studies under way at the Army - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Horizon. Spacecraft: Mercury. Summary: During the Research Steering Committee meeting, John H. Disher of NASA Headquarters discussed the lunar mission studies under way at the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA).. Additional Details: here....

1959 December 8-9 - . Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • Army Ballistic Missile Agency mission possibilities - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. H. H. Koelle told members of the Research Steering Committee of mission possibilities being considered at the Army Ballistic Missile Agency. These included an engineering satellite, an orbital return capsule, a space crew training vehicle, a manned orbital laboratory, a manned circumlunar vehicle, and a manned lunar landing and return vehicle. He described the current Saturn configurations, including the "C" launch vehicle to be operational in 1967. The Saturn C (larger than the C-1) would be able to boost 85,000 pounds into earth orbit and 25,000 pounds into an escape trajectory.

1959 December 9 - . LV Family: Nova. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • Goett Committee - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space station. Summary: Committee formed to recommend post-Mercury space program. After four meetings, and studying earth-orbit assembly using Saturn II or direct ascent using Nova, tended to back development of Nova..

1960 February 1 - . Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • Lunar Exploration Program Based Upon Saturn Systems - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. The Army Ballistic Missile Agency submitted to NASA the study entitled "A Lunar Exploration Program Based Upon Saturn-Boosted Systems." In addition to the subjects specified in the preliminary report of October 1, 1959, it included manned lunar landings.

1960 April 1-May 3 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • Guidelines for the advanced manned spacecraft program - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. STG's Robert O. Piland, during briefings at NASA Centers, presented a detailed description of the guidelines for missions, propulsion, and flight time in the advanced manned spacecraft program:
    1. The spacecraft should be capable ultimately of manned circumlunar reconnaissance. As a logical intermediate step toward future goals of lunar and planetary landing many of the problems associated with manned circumlunar flight would need to be solved.
    2. The lunar spacecraft should be capable of earth orbit missions for initial evaluation and training. The reentry component of this spacecraft should be capable of missions in conjunction with space laboratories or space stations. To accomplish lunar reconnaissance before a manned landing, it would be desirable to approach the moon closer than several thousand miles. Fifty miles appeared to be a reasonable first target for study purposes.
    3. The spacecraft should be designed to be compatible with the Saturn C-1 or C-2 boosters for the lunar mission. The multiman advanced spacecraft should not weigh more than 15,000 pounds including auxiliary propulsion and attaching structure.
    4. A flight-time capability of the spacecraft for 14 days without resupply should be possible. Considerable study of storage batteries, fuel cells, auxiliary power units, and solar batteries would be necessary. Items considered included the percentage of the power units to be placed in the "caboose" (space laboratory), preference for the use of storage batteries for both power and radiation shielding, and redundancy for reliability by using two different types of systems versus two of the same system.

1960 April 1-May 3 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • Guidelines for an advanced manned spacecraft program presented by STG - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM ECS; CSM Source Selection. Members of STG presented guidelines for an advanced manned spacecraft program to NASA Centers to enlist research assistance in formulating spacecraft and mission design.

    To open these discussions, Director Robert R. Gilruth summarized the guidelines: manned lunar reconnaissance with a lunar mission module, corollary earth orbital missions with a lunar mission module and with a space laboratory, compatibility with the Saturn C-1 or C-2 boosters (weight not to exceed 15,000 pounds for a complete lunar spacecraft and 25,000 pounds for an earth orbiting spacecraft), 14-day flight time, safe recovery from aborts, ground and water landing and avoidance of local hazards, point (ten square-mile) landing, 72-hour postlanding survival period, auxiliary propulsion for maneuvering in space, a "shirtsleeve" environment, a three-man crew, radiation protection, primary command of mission on board, and expanded communications and tracking facilities. In addition, a tentative time schedule was included, projecting multiman earth orbit qualification flights beginning near the end of the first quarter of calendar year 1966.


1960 July 14-15 - . LV Family: Saturn C-3; Saturn I; Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • Space Exploration Program Council - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. The third meeting of the Space Exploration Program Council was held at NASA Headquarters. The question of a speedup of Saturn C-2 production and the possibility of using nuclear upper stages with the Saturn booster were discussed. The Office of Launch Vehicle Programs would plan a study on the merits of using nuclear propulsion for some of NASA's more sophisticated missions. If the study substantiated such a need, the amount of in-house basic research could then be determined.

1960 September 13 - . Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • Apollo Study Bidder's Conference - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Class: Moon. Type: Manned lunar spacecraft. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; Apollo Lunar Landing; CSM ECS; CSM Source Selection. Summary: Bidder's conference for circumlunar Apollo. Specification: Saturn C-2 compatability (6,800 kg mass for circumlunar mission); 14 day flight time; three-man crew in shirt-sleeve environment..

1960 September 30 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • Space Exploration Program Council - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Low, George. Program: Apollo. The fourth meeting of the Space Exploration Program Council was held at NASA Headquarters. The results of a study on Saturn development and utilization was presented by the Ad Hoc Saturn Study Committee. Objectives of the study were to determine (1) if and when the Saturn C-2 launch vehicle should be developed and (2) if mission and spacecraft planning was consistent with the Saturn vehicle development schedule. No change in the NASA Fiscal Year 1962 budget was contemplated. The Committee recommended that the Saturn C-2 development should proceed on schedule (S-II stage contract in Fiscal Year 1962, first flight in 1965). The C-2 would be essential, the study reported, for Apollo manned circumlunar missions, lunar unmanned exploration, Mars and Venus orbiters and capsule landers, probes to other planets and out-of- ecliptic, and for orbital starting of nuclear upper stages. Additional Details: here....

1961 February 7 - . LV Family: Nova. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • Final report of the Low Committee - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Seamans. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo Lunar Landing. The Manned Lunar Landing Task Group (Low Committee) transmitted its final report to NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr. The Group found that the manned lunar landing mission could be accomplished during the decade, using either the earth orbit rendezvous or direct ascent technique. Multiple launchings of Saturn C-2 launch vehicles would be necessary in the earth orbital mode, while the direct ascent technique would require the development of a Nova-class vehicle. Information to be obtained through supporting unmanned lunar exploration programs, such as Ranger and Surveyor, was felt to be essential in carrying out the manned lunar mission. Total funding for the program was estimated at just under $7 billion through Fiscal Year 1968.

1961 March 1 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • Current Saturn launch vehicle configurations announced - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. The current Saturn launch vehicle configurations were announced:

    C-1:
    S-I stage eight H-1 engines, 1.5 million pounds of thrust; S-IV stage four (LR-119 engines, 70,000 pounds of thrust); and S-V stage (two LR-119 engines, 35,000 pounds of thrust).
    C-2 (four-stage version):
    S-1 stage (same as first stage of the C-1); S-II (not determined); S-IV (same as second stage of the C-1); S-V (same as third Stage of C- 1).
    C-2 (three-stage version):
    S-I (same as first stage of C-1); S-II (not determined); and S-IV (same as third stage of C-1).

1961 March 23 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • Configuration changes for the Saturn C-1 launch vehicles - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. Representatives of Marshall Space Flight Center recommended configuration changes for the Saturn C-1 launch vehicles to NASA Headquarters. These included:

    • Elimination of third-stage development, since two stages could put more than ten tons into earth orbit.
    • Use of six LR-115 (15,000-pound) Centaur engines (second-stage thrust thus increased from 70,000 to 90,000 pounds).
    • Redesign of the first stage (S-1) to offer more safety for manned missions.
    Plans were also presented to accelerate the development of the Saturn C- 2, and a recommendation was made that a prime contractor be selected to work on the second stage (S-II) of the C-2. NASA Headquarters approved the C-2 plans on March 31.

1961 May 2 - . LV Family: Nova; Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • Ad Hoc Task Group for a Manned Lunar Landing Study - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., established the Ad Hoc Task Group for a Manned Lunar Landing Study, to be chaired by William A. Fleming of NASA Headquarters. The study was expected to produce the following information:

    • All tasks associated with the mission.
    • Interdependent time-phasing of the tasks.
    • Areas requiring considerable technological advancements from the current state of the art.
    • Tasks for which multiple approach solutions were advisable.
    • Important action and decision points in the mission plan.
    • A refined estimate by task and by fiscal year of the dollar resources required for the mission.
    • Refined estimates of in-house manpower requirements, by task and by fiscal year
    • Tentative in-house and contractor task assignments accompanying the dollar and manpower resource requirements.
    The study began on May 8 and the final report was submitted on June 16. Guidelines served as a starting point for the study:

    • The manned lunar landing target date was 1967.
    • Intermediate missions of multiman orbital satellites and manned circumlunar missions were desirable at the earliest possible time.
    • Man's mission on the moon as it affected the study was to be determined by the Ad Hoc Task Group - i.e., the time to be spent on the lunar surface and the tasks to be performed while there.
    • In establishing the mission plan, the use of the Saturn C-2 launch vehicle was to be evaluated as compared with an alternative launch vehicle having a higher thrust first stage and C-2 upper-stage components.
    • The mission plan was to include parallel development of liquid and solid propulsion leading to a Nova vehicle 400,000 pounds in earth orbit and should indicate when the decision should be made on the final Nova configuration.
    • Nuclear-powered launch vehicles should not be considered for use in the first manned lunar landing mission.
    • The flight test program should be laid out with enough launchings to meet the needs of the program considering the reliability requirements.
    • Alternative approaches should be provided in critical areas - e.g., upper stages and mission modes.

    The engineering sketch drawn by John D. Bird of Langley Research Center on May 3, 1961, indicated the thinking of that period: By launching two Saturn C-2's, the lunar landing mission could be accomplished by using both earth rendezvous and lunar rendezvous at various stages of the mission.


1961 June 10 - . Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • Lundin Committee recommended earth orbit rendezvous mode - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Seamans. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo Lunar Landing. 'The Lundin Committee completed its study of various vehicle systems for the manned lunar landing mission, as requested on May 25 by NASA associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr. The Committee had considered alternative methods of rendezvous: earth orbit, lunar orbit, a combination of earth and lunar orbit, and lunar surface. Launch vehicles studied were the Saturn C-2 and C-3. Conclusion was that 43,000 kg stage (85% fuel) was needed for a lunar landing mission. The concept of a low- altitude earth orbit rendezvous using two or three C-3's was clearly preferred by the Committee. Reasons for this preference were the small number of launches and orbital operations required and the fact that the Saturn C- 3 was considered to be an efficient launch vehicle of great utility and future growth.

1961 June 22 - . LV Family: Nova; Saturn C-3. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • First decision on Apollo launch vehicles - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Webb. Program: Apollo. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space station. Spacecraft: Apollo Lunar Landing. Meeting with Webb/Dryden, work on Saturn C-2 stopped; preliminary design of C-3 and continuing studies of larger vehicles for landing missions requested. STG push for 4 x 6.6 m diameter solid cluster first stage rejected for safety and ground handling reasons.

1961 June 23 - . LV Family: Nova; Saturn C-3. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • Saturn C-2 discontinued - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo Lunar Landing. NASA announced that further engineering design work on the Saturn C-2 configuration would be discontinued and that effort instead would be redirected toward clarification of the Saturn C-3 and Nova concepts. Investigations were specifically directed toward determining capabilities of the proposed C-3 configuration in supporting the Apollo mission.

1961 July 24 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • Changes in Saturn launch vehicle configurations - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. Summary: Changes in Saturn launch vehicle configurations were announced :

    C-1:
    Stages S-I (1.5 million pounds of thrust) and S-IV
    C-2:
    Stages S-I, S-II, and S-IV
    C-3:
    Stages S-IB (3 million pounds of thrust), S-II, and S-IV.
    .

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