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View Full Version : How hard would it be to build a Saturn V rocket today?


joebuck20
07-20-2009, 09:14 AM
Say, NASA decided to go with a tried and true method when they went back to the moon and use a Saturn V. Would it be possible to build one today? What sort of material and design changes would it have to incorporate? How cost effective would it be today compared to when they were originally built?

Bijou Drains
07-20-2009, 10:09 AM
Do you mean build the same exact Saturn V? Probably could not be done because the parts are no longer made - unless you want to spend a fortune on custom parts. I think you mean build the same type rocket with newer materials and technologies - that can be done. But I don't think that makes sense. It would be like building a WW II bomber with carbon fiber body when modern planes are so much better.

joebuck20
07-20-2009, 10:48 AM
Do you mean build the same exact Saturn V? Probably could not be done because the parts are no longer made - unless you want to spend a fortune on custom parts. I think you mean build the same type rocket with newer materials and technologies - that can be done. But I don't think that makes sense. It would be like building a WW II bomber with carbon fiber body when modern planes are so much better.

That's what I meant - building the same type of rocket, but with newer materials. The Saturn V seemed to serve it's purpose well. One could make the argument that it's not reusable, but when you think neither are most of the space shuttle's components.

HorseloverFat
07-20-2009, 10:53 AM
It would be pretty foolish to make the same rocket as the design is very old. Once you start talking about "updating" it then youre pretty much building a new rocket. You need to redo all the testing, engineering, etc. Might as well start from scratch at that point.

Johnny L.A.
07-20-2009, 10:56 AM
Check out the quote in the first post (mine) in this thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=524836&page=2), and Stranger on a Train's post.

Simplicio
07-20-2009, 11:08 AM
Well, making a modern copy is not going to happen for reasons Johnny linked to.

One could argue that the Ares V (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ares_V) is sort of like what your suggesting: it's a heavy lift rocket built for an Apollo-like moon mission (and apparently it's final stage uses a varient of the engine used on the Saturn V).

Keeve
07-20-2009, 12:18 PM
That's what I meant - building the same type of rocket, but with newer materials.Then it's not the "tried and true method" that you mentioned in the OP. You'll need all sorts of testing to make sure it works.

fiddlesticks
07-20-2009, 01:42 PM
Ares V appears to be exactly what the OP suggests. "Upon completion the Ares V will be the most powerful rocket ever built, lifting more into orbit than even the Saturn V." At least we aren't under-designing this thing. :) And we aren't exactly building it from scratch either, a lot of Space Shuttle era hardware is going into it.

Fear Itself
07-20-2009, 02:02 PM
One could make the argument that it's not reusable, but when you think neither are most of the space shuttle's components.Isn't the external fuel tank the only major part that is not reused?

Der Trihs
07-20-2009, 02:52 PM
Isn't the external fuel tank the only major part that is not reused?I don't think the solid fuel boosters are reused.

Johnny L.A.
07-20-2009, 02:53 PM
I don't think the solid fuel boosters are reused.

Yes, the SRBs are recovered and reused.

gazpacho
07-20-2009, 03:00 PM
I don't think the solid fuel boosters are reused.The solid fuel boosters are reused.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/behindscenes/recovery_ships.html