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Saturn Rocket

Saturn rocket family, Saturn rocket, Marshall Space Flight Center, Apollo missions, liquid hydrogen

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Saturn (rocket), family of rockets used to launch some of the most famous space flights in history, including Apollo 11, the 1969 mission that carried American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin to the surface of the moon. The most powerful rockets of their time, Saturn rockets were developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), an agency of the United States government, for use in the Apollo space exploration program. Between the first Saturn test launch in 1961 and the final mission in 1975, Saturn rockets launched 17 Apollo missions, sent 3 Apollo crews to the American space station Skylab, and delivered an Apollo crew to a historic rendezvous with cosmonauts aboard the Soviet spacecraft Soyuz 19.

German-born American rocket designer Wernher Von Braun first proposed the Saturn rocket in 1957 while working at the United States Army Ballistic Missile Agency in Huntsville, Alabama. NASA, established the following year, renamed the facility the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center and charged its engineers with developing giant rockets capable of sending Americans to the moon. Von Braun, appointed as the centerís director in 1960, oversaw the development of all three members of the Saturn rocket family.

Saturn I

NASA used the first Saturn rocket, known as Saturn I, between 1961 and 1965. It stood 36.6 m (120 ft) tall, weighed 430,000 kg (950,000 lb), and had two separate engines, or stages, one atop the other. The first stage lifted the rocket into the upper atmosphere, then burned out and fell to Earth as the second stage carried the rest of the vehicle and its cargo farther into space. Saturn Iís first stage, based on technology developed for the earlier Jupiter, Redstone, and Thor rockets, consisted of eight engines fueled by kerosene and liquid oxygen. Its second stage had six engines that burned liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. Used primarily for research and development, Saturn I rockets launched a research satellite and test models of Apollo spacecraft into Earth orbit before being retired.

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