Encyclopedia Astronautica
Saturn C-3



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Saturn A-1 to C-5
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Saturn C-3 early
Saturn C-3 early concept
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Saturn C-3B 2 Stage
Saturn C-3B 2 Stage version Nov 1961
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Saturn C-3B final
Saturn C-3B final configuration Nov 1961
Credit: © Mark Wade
The launch vehicle concept considered for a time as the leading contender for the Earth Orbit Rendezvous approach to an American lunar landing.

LEO Payload: 36,300 kg (80,000 lb) to a 556 km orbit at 28.00 degrees. Payload: 13,600 kg (29,900 lb) to a translunar trajectory in 1985 dollars. Flyaway Unit Cost $: 43.500 million.

Stage Data - Saturn C-3

  • Stage 1. 1 x Saturn S-IB-2. Gross Mass: 725,491 kg (1,599,433 lb). Empty Mass: 68,014 kg (149,945 lb). Thrust (vac): 13,339.956 kN (2,998,941 lbf). Isp: 304 sec. Burn time: 139 sec. Isp(sl): 265 sec. Diameter: 8.25 m (27.06 ft). Span: 10.00 m (32.00 ft). Length: 34.50 m (113.10 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 2. Engine: F-1. Status: Study 1960.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Saturn S-II-C3. Gross Mass: 204,044 kg (449,840 lb). Empty Mass: 24,938 kg (54,978 lb). Thrust (vac): 3,557.313 kN (799,716 lbf). Isp: 420 sec. Burn time: 200 sec. Isp(sl): 300 sec. Diameter: 8.25 m (27.06 ft). Span: 8.25 m (27.06 ft). Length: 21.30 m (69.80 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.

Status: Study 1960.
Gross mass: 1,023,670 kg (2,256,800 lb).
Payload: 36,300 kg (80,000 lb).
Height: 82.00 m (269.00 ft).
Diameter: 8.25 m (27.06 ft).
Thrust: 11,628.60 kN (2,614,213 lbf).
Apogee: 556 km (345 mi).

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Gemini American manned spacecraft. 12 launches, 1964.04.08 (Gemini 1) to 1966.11.11 (Gemini 12). It was obvious to NASA that there was a big gap of three to four years between the last Mercury flight and the first scheduled Apollo flight. More...

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...
  • 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...

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 C-3 The launch vehicle concept considered for a time as the leading contender for the Earth Orbit Rendezvous approach to an American lunar landing. 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.
  • 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.
  • Hostetter, Dave, "Personal communication", Drawings of final Saturn configuration from archives, Alabama Space and Rocket Center..
  • Stuhlinger, Ernst, et. al., Astronautical Engineering and Science: From Peenemuende to Planetary Space, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1964.

Associated Stages
  • 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-IB-2 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 725,491/68,014 kg. Thrust 13,339.96 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 304 seconds. More...
  • Saturn S-II-C3 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 204,044/24,938 kg. Thrust 3,557.31 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 420 seconds. Version for Saturn C-3. More...

Saturn C-3 Chronology


1961 June 20 - . LV Family: Saturn C-3. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-3.
  • Donald Heaton had been appointed Chairman of an Ad Hoc Task Group - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Robert C. Seamans, Jr., NASA Associate Administrator, notified the Directors of Launch Vehicle Program, Space Flight Programs, Advanced Research Programs, and Life Sciences Programs that Donald H. Heaton had been appointed Chairman of an Ad Hoc Task Group. It would establish program plans and supporting resources necessary to accomplish the manned lunar landing mission by the use of rendezvous techniques, using the Saturn C-3 launch vehicle, with a target date of 1967. Guidelines and operating methods were similar to those of the Fleming Committee. Members of the Task Group would be appointed from the Offices of Launch Vehicle Programs, Space Flight Program, Advanced Research Programs, and Life Sciences Programs. The work of the Group (Heaton Committee) would be reviewed weekly. The study was completed during August.

1961 August 31 - . LV Family: Saturn C-3. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-3.
  • Chamberlain proposes lunar landing by Gemini - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Gemini. Summary: Landing by Gemini using 4,000 kg wet/680 kg empty lander and Saturn C-3 booster. Landing by January 1966..

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