The Saturn V - Skylab   performance characteristics

During the asscent phase until orbit insertion the flight performance parameters mentioned below are relevant to be monitored in time and should not exceed upper or lower limits during flight.
  1. Downrange distance
  2. Altitude
  3. Pitch angle
  4. Angle of attack
  5. Velocity
  6. Flight path angle
  7. Aerodynamic pressure
  8. Axiale force
  9. Acceleration
  10. Vehicle mass
  11. Thrust
On this page attention is paid to the parameters 1, 2, 5, 9 and 10.


Skylab 1 ascent trajectory
This picture shows the flight path of the SA-513 (Skylab 1) during ascent.
Flight azimuth: 47 degrees

Skylab 1 performanc characteristics
This picture shows the flight characteristics of the SA-513 (Skylab 1) from lift-off to orbit insertion. The mass of the whole Saturn V stack is expressed in payloadmass. The payload mass is the mass of the whole Skylab cluster including the payload shroud (11 metric tons) which is around 90 metric tons

The red plot shows the dramatically large rate of propellant consumption in the first 2½ minutes of the flight. At the moment of S-IC stage burn-out, the Saturn V has lost around 78% of its launch mass.

The expression "MR shift" stands for "Mixture Ratio shift". It is referring to an automated procedure to change the ratio between the amount of fuel and oxidizer which are supplied to the thrust engines of the S-II stage. The objective of this procedure is to optimize the performance of the S-II stage by depleting the propellants during flight as much as possible, to keep the mass of the launch vehicle at stage burn out as low as possible.

Skylab 1 ground track during the Boost Phase (Ascent)

Skylab 1 groundtrack during ascent

This picture shows the ground track of the SA-503 (Apollo 8) during ascent. The S-IC performed its task in only the first 2½ minutes of the flight and was then disposed of. The S-IC stage plunged into the Atlantic Ocean about 655 km off the east coast of Florida.

Skylab 1 ground track during ascent and orbital coast

Skylab 1 during orbital coast

This picture shows the ground track of the Skylab cluster during the boost phase and the first 5 revolutions.

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Copyright 2005, 2022 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.