Recovereble Saturn stage


ACCESS: Top Secret
16 January 2008
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Also thrown in is the image of a recovered Titan first stage from Gemini 5's launch.


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Recoverable S-IVB Stage images from Frontiers Of Space by Bono and Gatland. Blandford Press Ltd / Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.

Image 1 is in both the 1969 and 1976 editions. Images 2, 3 and 4 were only printed in the 1969 edition. I should point out - in case anyone here is not aware - that there are enough differences between the two editions of this book as well as between the two editions of Kenneth Gatland's Manned Spacecraft book to make it worth tracking down copies of both editions.

These editions are long out of print so I think it's safe to post them at this size. If not, then let me know.



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Here's a previous thread on that:,6763.0/highlight,s-ivb.html. Funny, because I'm sure I saw those on here before. Or not. Maybe the mods can merge this thread later.

Maybe it was here:,4229.15.html
Good find.
I overlooked two pages. These illustrations can be found in both editions of Frontiers Of Space.

What follows is a summery from the text in the book.

S-IVB Recovery phases
This is a summery from Frontiers Of Space by Bono and Gatland

First Phase - Ocean Recovery
Modification kit weighing 6,500 lb (2960 kg) including propulsion units for stabilizing the stage in orbit, retrorockets for de-orbit, heat shield and three 80ft (24.4m) parachutes.
Estimated weight of S-IVB at recovery 15 ton (13,600 kg)
Drawback to this scheme is the added cost of reconditioning the vehicle due to salt-water contamination.

Second Phase - Land Recovery
Four 6,500 lb thrust retrorockets initiate re-entry after a day in a parking orbit. Drag breaking and stability would be provided by three 28 ft (8.5 m) diameter ballutes deployed behind the stage. The stage is protected by an ablative heat shield and covering. Three 124 ft (37.7 m) diameter ring-sail parachutes deploy at 30,000 ft (9,140 m). Crushable aluminum honeycomb bumper behind the heat shield absorbs part of the impact energy. The four extensible stabilization legs would deploy from the sides of the stage before landing but they would be for post landing stabilization and not be expected to absorb much of the landing impact. The landing zone was projected to be a stretch of land some 35 miles (57 km) north-west of the Cape Kennedy launch site.
Estimated weight of the recovered stage - 33,400 lb (7,360 kg)

Third Phase - SASSTO : Saturn Application Single-Stage-To-Orbit.
This would be an extensive redesign of the S-IVB stage. This would also, I believe, rehash material covered in the ROMBUS and Flaming Pumpkin Seeds threads here.


I posted these here to keep the illustrations together. The mods can decide if the threads should be merged.


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