First stage of a Saturn V rocket, 1969.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society
The first stage of a Saturn V being lowered into position in the Vehicle Asembly Building at the Kennedy Space Centre, Cape Canaveral, Florida. The upper stages of the rocket and the spacecraft were added later. The Vehicle Asembly Building is 157 metres tall and the door opens to 22 metres wide. The three-stage Saturn V was the largest rocket ever built. Each Saturn V contained 3 million separate parts, was over 100 metres tall, weighed some 3000 tonnes at launch and its first stage engines produced a thrust of 7.5 million pounds. It was developed after studies indicated that the Saturn I rockets were unfeasible for a lunar mision. The Saturn V had a 100 % launch succes rate and was used on all the Apollo misions to the Moon.