Saturn V Launch Vehicle

By Aviation: From Sand Dunes to Sonic Booms
Saturn V Launch Vehicle
Saturn V Launch Vehicle Photo from the National Historic Landmarks collection

On January 25, 1962, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) formally assigned the task of developing the Saturn V Launch Vehicle, a three-stage rocket designed for a lunar landing mission, to the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, with launch responsibility committed to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Dr. Werner von Braun headed a nationwide team drawn from industry, government and the educational community, which provided the expertise to produce the Saturn V. During a seven year period a total of 13 Saturn V Space Vehicles were launched, including two unmanned test flights, 10 Apollo flights and one flight which carried the Skylab space station to earth's orbit.

The launching of the Apollo 11 Saturn V rocket
The launching of the Apollo 11 Saturn V rocket, first manned mission to land on the Moon Photo courtesy of NASA

On July 16, 1969, a Saturn V lifted off with Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin and Michael Collins aboard, and carried them to their rendezvous with destiny--Man's first expedition to the surface of the moon. Stages of the Saturn V Launch Vehicle are not recovered after a mission; therefore, a Saturn V that has flown a mission will never be available for display purposes. This first Saturn V Launch Vehicle, one of three such vehicles in existence, was the test vehicle at the Marshall Space Flight Center. It is identical to the one that put Man on the moon and has been on display since 1969. The U.S. Space and Rocket Center, home to this Saturn V, has launched the Save the Saturn V Campaign to repair internal and external corrosion to the rocket caused by 30 years of exposure to weather.

Visit the National Park Service Travel American Aviation to learn more about Aviation related Historic Sites.

A project through the Save America's Treasures Grant Program, which helps preserve nationally significant historic properties and collections, funded work to restore the Saturn V Rocket at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center Longfellow House collections in 2000. 

Last updated: April 20, 2021