Saturn IB   Page 2(2)

Saturn IB

General information

The Saturn IB is a two stage launch vehicle and is an improved version of the Saturn I. The configuration which comprises the two stage launch vehicle with the Apollo spacecraft on top stood 71 meters tall..
The Saturn I and IB served three objectives:
  1. development of rocket technology: such as clustering of thrust engines to obtain large thrust; application of liquid Hydrogen and Oxygen as propellants; guidance & control.
  2. to provide launch capacity for heavy payloads
  3. to conduct qualification tests in space on the Apollo spacecraft, which was to be used for the upcoming moon missions

Saturn IB - Apollo   flight configuration
Launch vehicle SA-206, SA-207 and SA-208 for the Skylab shuttle missions

A Saturn IB first stage is hoisted in the VAB for the first manned Skylab mission
August 25, 1972
credit to NASA
Scanning credit to Kipp Teague

SL-2 at pad 39-B following second rollout (1973)
credit to NASA
Scanning credit to Kipp Teague

The Saturn IB - Apollo as a transport link with Skylab

The SA-206, 207 and 208 were used as a crew transportation system for the Skylab orbiting space station. The return trip to Skylab didn't require an extensive use of the Service Propulsion System (SPS). Much orbital manoeuvering was done with the Reaction Control System (RCS): 16 small thrusters which were clustered in groups of four. So the amount of propellants for the SPS was half of the amount required for moonmissions. More propellants was however needed for the RCS, but the extra weight was a fraction of that of the deleted SPS propellants.

SA-206, SA-207, SA-208 in detail

thumbnail picture of diagram of the SA-206

Saturn IB - Apollo   flight configuration
Launch vehicle SA-210 for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project

Liftoff of Soviet Soyuz vehicle from Baykonur Cosmodrome in Kazahstan;
July 15, 1975
Scanning credit to Kipp Teague

ASTP at ignition on Pad 39B; July 15, 1975
credit to NASA
Scanning credit to Kipp Teague

View from Soyuz of Apollo CSM with docking adapter

View of Soviet Soyuz spacecraft from Apollo CM

credit to NASA
Scanning credit to Kipp Teague

The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project:  Time for collaboration

After several moonlanding missions there was no doubt about who has won the Space Race. That fact initiate a climate change in which rivalry became somewhat subdued. There became room for collaboration between the two superpowers. Manned Space programs are very expensive, so joining efforts to save costs and to become more efficient, seems to be a logical step ahead. Furthermore, accidents in space like the Apollo 13 and the Soyuz ... flight had made it clear that it became important that the USSR and the USA would be able to launch mutual rescue missions. The ASTP was meant to make spacecraft systems from both countries mutual adaptable, the docking system was one of those systems.
The SA-210 has been used to bring an Apollo spacecraft for the ASTP mission into orbit. The docking adapter with additional life support systems and lock chamber to overcome the differences in air between the crew compartiments, was secured inside the SLA during launch. The docking adapter was attached to the CSM after an extraction procedure similar to the one which was used to extract the lunar module from the S-IVB stage on one of the lunar missions. The docking adapter was equipped with a newly developed symmetrical genderless docking system. It meant that it could dock with an exact copy of itself, which was not the case with the Apollo docking system.
After some manoeuvering the Apollo spacecraft, with the docking adapter attached to it, docked with an Soyuz spacecraft which was launched a few days earlier and was already equipped with the new docking system.

SA-210 in detail

thumbnail picture of diagram of SA-210

Gallery of Saturn Launch Vehicles
Saturn IB Launch Vehicles

Saturn V Launch Vehicles

Apollo Program Launch Vehicles

Skylab program Launch Vehicles

Apollo-Soyuz Test Project
Launch Vehicles


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Copyright 2006 by Sander Panhuyzen
Comments and questions are welcome. All pictures and drawings contained on and through these pages are the author's, unless otherwise noted. No unauthorized reproduction without permission.