The first stage SIC Raw power

Although the S-IC (pronounced s-one-c) was the largest of the Saturn V stages, its manufacturer, Boeing, had relatively few problems. The design was conservative and largely a straightforward stretching of then current technologies. To lift the Saturn V's 3,000 tonnes, five F-l engines were brought together at the S-IC's base. Steering was provided by mounting the four outer engines on gimbals. Signals from the rocket's guidance system aimed them very precisely, directing their great force in the direction required to send the space vehicle where it was intended to go. The rest of the stage's 42-metre length comprised two huge tanks, each Five F-l engines at the base of an S- 10 metres across, stacked one above the IC first stage- other. Over 800,000 litres of refined kerosene

Apollo 8's first stage during stacking at Kennedy Space Center.

fuel called RP-1, similar to that used in jet aircraft, sat in the lower tank, while the larger tank above carried 1.3 million litres of very cold liquid oxygen (LOX) - a cryogenic propel-lant whose temperature had to be less than minus 183°C to render it liquid. Although these LOX tanks were huge, it was said that not as much as the residue from a fingerprint was permitted to be left on their interiors for fear of causing an explosion when LOX was pumped into them. Five enormous insulated ducts from the LOX tank ran down through the fuel tank to feed oxidiser to the five engines.

Despite its dominance of the Saturn V's profile, the S-IC's contribution to an Apollo flight lasted a little over 2% minutes before it was cast away to fall into the Atlantic Ocean 650 kilometres from the launch pad, where 13 S-ICs now litter the sea

Apollo 8's first stage during stacking at Kennedy Space Center.


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