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cross section of a space launcher (Saturn V) [1]click to hear

Saturn V served as the launcher for the U.S. Apollo lunar exploration program.
cross section of a space launcher (Saturn V) [1] payload third stage second stage first stage F-1 engine nozzle stabilizing fin service module command module launch escape system

payload click to hear

Includes the Apollo craft, the lunar module and the third stage; the latter, after being placed in Earth’s orbit, soars toward the Moon.

third stage click to hear

At an altitude of 92 mi, the third-stage engine begins to run, allowing the launcher to place itself in orbit before making its way toward the Moon.

second stage click to hear

At an altitude of 38.8 mi, the five second-stage engines ignite, burning for 6 min. 30 sec. before they are jettisoned.

first stage click to hear

Equipped with five F-1 engines that give the launcher the thrust it needs to leave the launchpad; jettisoned after 2 min. 30 sec. of flight.

F-1 engine click to hear

The first stage is equipped with five; it provides thrust using kerosene-liquid oxygen combustion.

nozzle click to hear

The end portion of a rocket from which combustion gases escape, thereby creating the thrust needed to propel the craft.

stabilizing fin click to hear

Fins located on either side of the launcher, serving to stabilize it.

service module click to hear

Houses the main propulsion system and supplies energy, electricity, water and other provisions.

command module click to hear

Capsule inhabited by the crew during most of an Apollo mission; the only part of the vehicle to return to Earth.

launch escape system click to hear

Makes it possible, in the event of damage, to separate the command module from the rest of the launcher and to pull it.