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The Saturn IB was an uprated version of the Saturn I, which featured a much more powerful second stage, the S-IVB. Unlike the earlier Saturn I, the IB had enough throw weight to launch the Apollo Command/Service Module or Lunar Module into Earth orbit, which made it invaluable for testing the Apollo spacecraft while the larger Saturn V needed to send them to the moon was still being developed. The Saturn IB was later used for manned Skylab flights, and the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. The final production run (such as Skylab launch vehicles) did not have the alternating black and white tanks on the first stage that were hallmarks of the earlier runs.

The original Saturn IB's for Apollo were launched from LC-34marker and LC-37marker, Cape Canaveral Air Force Stationmarker. The Skylab and ASTP Saturn IB's were launched from LC-39Bmarker, Kennedy Space Centermarker, using a "milkstool" apparatus to hold the rocket up at a height to reach the Mobile Launcher Platform's crew access arm.


Parameter S-IB - 1st Stage S-IVB - 2nd Stage Instrument Unit Apollo Spacecraft
Height (m) 25.5 17.8 1.00 24
Diameter (m) 6.6 6.6 6.6 3.9
Gross mass (kg) 458,107 119,920 1,980 20,788
Empty mass (kg) 45,267 13,311 225 14,098
Engines Eight - H-1 One - J-2 - One SPS
Thrust (kN) 7,582 1,020 - 97.86
Isp (s) 288 421 - 314
Isp (kN·s/kg) 2.82 4.13 - 3.08
Burn duration (s) 150 470 - 635
Propellant LOX/RP-1 LOX/LH2 - N2O4/UDMH

Launch events

Launch Event Time (s) Altitude (km) Range (km)
Ignition Command -3.02 . .
First Motion -0.19 . .
Liftoff 0.00 . .
Initiate Pitch Maneuver 10.0 . .
Initiate Roll Maneuver 10.0 . .
End Roll Maneuver 38.0 . .
Mach One 62.18 7.63 .
Max Q 75.5 12.16 .
Freeze Tilt 134.40 . .
Inboard Engine Cutoff 140.65 . .
Outboard Engine Cutoff 144.32 . .
Ullage Rockets Ignition 145.37 . .
S-IB / S-IVB Separation 145.59 . .
S-IVB Ignition 146.97 . .
Ullage Rocket Burnout 148.33 . .
Ullage Rocket Jettison 156.58 . .
Jettison LES 163.28 . .
Start Pitch Over 613.95 . .
S-IVB Cutoff 616.76 . .
Orbit Insertion 626.76 . .
Start S/C Sep Sequence 663.11 . .
Spacecraft Separation 728.31 . .

S-IB stage

Diagram of the S-IB first stage of the Saturn IB rocket.
The S-IB stage is an eight engine booster for Earth orbital missions. It is composed of nine propellant containers, eight fins, a thrust structure assembly, eight H-1 rocket engines, and many other components. The propellant containers consist of eight Redstone tanks (Four holding LOX and four holding RP-1.) clustered around a Jupiter rocket tank, which contains LOX. The four outboard engines can gimbal, meaning they can be steered to properly guide the rocket. This requires a few more engine components.


  • Height: 83.6 ft (25.5 m)
  • Diameter: 21.7 ft (6.6 m)
  • Number of fins: 8
  • Finspan: 18 ft (5.5 m)
  • Engines: 8 H-1
  • Thrust: 1,600,000 lbf (7.1 MN)
  • Fuel: RP-1 (Refined kerosene) 41,000 US gal (155 m³)
  • Oxidizer: Liquid oxygen (LOX) 66,000 US gal (250 m³)
  • Burn time: 2.5 min
  • Burnout altitude: 42 miles (68 km)

S-IVB stage

Diagram of the S-IVB second stage of the Saturn IB.
The S-IVB stage is generally identical to the third stage of the Saturn V, with the notable exceptions of its interstage adapter, smaller auxiliary propulsion control modules, and its lack of an on-orbit engine restart capability. It is powered by a single J-2 engine, which is gimballed for flight control. This stage has a "common bulkhead," meaning that the propellant and oxidizer tanks share a bulkhead. This saved about ten tons of weight and reduced vehicle length over ten feet.

  • Height: 58.4 ft (17.8 m)
  • Diameter: 21.7 ft (6.6 m)
  • Number of fins: 0
  • Engines: 1 J-2
  • Thrust: 200,000 lbf (890 kN)
  • Fuel: Liquid hydrogen (LH2) 64,000 US gal (242 m³)
  • Oxidizer: Liquid oxygen (LOX) 20,000 US gal (76 m³)
  • Burn time: approx. 7 min
  • Burnout altitude (for Saturn IB): orbit

All Saturn IB launches

All Saturn IB Launches from AS-201 through ASTP.
Saturn IB on its "milkstool" on its way to pad 39B

Serial Number Mission Launch Date Notes
AS-201 AS-201 February 26, 1966 First test flight. Sub-orbital Command/Service Module test.
AS-203 AS-203 July 5, 1966 Second test flight. Test of SIV-B stage. Tracked four orbits.
AS-202 AS-202 August 25, 1966 Third test flight. Second sub-orbital Command/Service Module unmanned test.
AS-204 Apollo 5 January 22, 1968 Earth orbit unmanned test of Lunar Module. Launched on unused booster from Apollo 1. 36 orbits.
AS-205 Apollo 7 October 11, 1968 Earth orbit test. Crew: Schirra, Eisle, Cunningham. 163 orbits. Last launch from Launch Complex 34marker
AS-206 Skylab 2 May 25, 1973 First Skylab crew: Conrad, Kerwin, Weitz. 404 orbits. First launch from Launch Pad 39Bmarker using a Saturn V umbilical tower and a "milkstool" assembly to allow the rocket to be serviced using Saturn V launch tower and mobile service platform.
AS-207 Skylab 3 July 28, 1973 Second Skylab crew: Bean, Garriott, Lousma. 838 orbits.
AS-208 Skylab 4 November 16, 1973 Third and final Skylab crew: Carr, Gibson, Pogue, 1,214 orbits
AS-209 Skylab Rescue 1973, 1974 Skylab Rescue Mission. Not flown. Currently on display at Kennedy Space Center, with Apollo FVV spacecraft mockup. First stage engines and Apollo FVV service module replaced with fabricated duplicates in 1993-1994 due to severe corrosion.
AS-210 ASTP July 15, 1975 Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, Crew: Stafford, Slayton, Brand, 136 orbits. Last Saturn IB flight.
AS-211 Unused. First stage on display with the S-IVB Battleship Test Stage stacked in a launch ready condition at the Alabama Welcome Center on I-65 in Ardmore, AL. Second stage, the S-IVB, is on display as a Skylab mockup at the U.S.marker Space and Rocket Centermarker in Huntsville, ALmarker.
AS-212 Unused. First stage scrapped. Second stage, S-IVB, converted to Skylab space station.
AS-213 Only first stage built. Unused and scrapped.
AS-214 Only first stage built. Unused and scrapped.


External links

  • NASA Marshall Spaceflight Center, , 30 September 1972

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