On November 9, 1967, 45 years ago, the mighty Saturn V made its unmanned maiden flight. Powered by five F-1 rocket engines on its first stage, five J-2 rocket engines in its second and one more J-2 in its third stage, the Saturn V had a lift capability of 130 metric tons, allowing it to carry crew and equipment to the Moon and back. Between 1967 and 1973, it carried out 13 flights: two unmanned tests (Apollo 4 and 6), the first mission in lunar orbit (Apollo 8), the first test of the Lunar Module in Earth orbit (Apollo 9), the first dress-rehearsal of a moon landing (Apollo 10), six lunar landings (Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17), the ill-fated Apollo 13 and the launch of Skylab, the first US space station. The Saturn V was eventually phased out in favor of the Space Shuttle. His legacy lives on, as both the F-1 and J-2 are currently being considered for NASA’s next generation heavy lifter.

In the video below, the launch of the unmanned Apollo 4. Scroll down for an infographic of the rocket.

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Source SPACE.com: All about our solar system, outer space and exploration


About the author

Andrea Gini

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Andrea Gini is a content strategy consultant specialized in companies of the space sector. He is founder of Space Safety Magazine, where he held the position of Editor-in-Chief until March 2015. Between 2011 and 2013 he worked in the European Space Agency in the Independent Safety Office, which overviews the utilization of the International Space Station. He previously worked as Software Developer, IT Consultant, and trainer of Java-related technologies. Andrea holds a BSc and an MSc in computer science from the University of Milano, a Master in Communication of Science from the International School for Advanced Studies of Trieste and a MSc in Space Studies from the International Space University.

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