From Academic Kids

Missing image

S-IVB-206 which was used for the Skylab 2 flight
Fact sheet
Height17.8 m (58.4 ft)
Diameter6.6 m (21.7 ft)
Mass119,900 kg
(253,000 lb)
Engines1 J-2 engines
Thrust1,001 kN
(225,000 lbf)
Fuelliquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen

The S-IVB (sometimes S4b) was built by the Douglas Aircraft Company and served as the third stage on the Saturn V and second stage on the Saturn IB. It had one J-2 engine. For lunar mission it was used twice: first for the orbit insertion after second stage cutoff, and then for the trans lunar injection (TLI) when the timing was right.


The S-IVB evolved from the upper stage of the Saturn I rocket, the S-IV, and was the first stage of the Saturn V to be designed. The S-IV used a cluster of six engines but used the same fuels as the S-IVB - LH2 and LOX. It was also orginally meant to be the fourth stage of a planned rocket called the C-4, hence the name S-IV.

Eleven companies submitted proposals for being the lead contractor on the stage by the deadline of 29 February, 1960. NASA administrator T. Keith Glennan decided on 19 April that Douglas Aircraft Company would be awarded the contract. Convair had come a close second but Glennan did not want to monopolise the liquid hydrogen fuelled rocket market as Convair was already building the Centaur rocket stage

In the end the Marshall Space Flight Center decided to use the C-5 rocket (later called the Saturn V), which had three stages and would be topped with an uprated S-IV called the S-IVB which instead of using a cluster of engines would have a single J-2 engine. Douglas was awarded the contract for the S-IVB basically because of the similarities between it and the S-IV. At the same time it was decided to create the C-IB rocket (Saturn IB) that would also use the S-IVB as its second stage and could be used for testing the Apollo spacecraft in Earth orbit.

Douglas built two distinct versions of the S-IVB, the 200 series and the 500 series. The 200 series was used by the Saturn IB and differed from the 500 in the fact that it did not have a flared interstage and had less helium pressurisation onboard as it would not be restarted.

Cutaway drawing of the Saturn V S-IVB
Cutaway drawing of the Saturn V S-IVB

The S-IVB carried 72,700 liters (20,000 U.S. gallons) of LOX and 229,000 liters (63,000 U.S. gallons) of LH2.

An un-used S-IVB provided the hull for Skylab, the United States' first space station.

During Apollo 13, Apollo 14, Apollo 15, Apollo 16 and Apollo 17, the S-IVB was crashed into the Moon in order to perform seismic measurement used for characterizing the lunar core.

The three versions of the SIV
Three versions of the SIV/SIVB

Stages Built

200 Series
Serial number Use Launch date Current location
S-IVB-S "Battleship" static test stage
S-IVB-F Test stage for the facilities
S-IVB-D "Dynamic" test stage delivered to Marshall Space Flight Center in 1965 U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville, Alabama
S-IVB-T Cancelled December 1964
S-IVB-201 AS-201 February 26, 1966
S-IVB-202 AS-202 August 25, 1966
S-IVB-203 AS-203 July 5, 1966
S-IVB-204 Apollo 5 January 22, 1968
S-IVB-205 Apollo 7 October 11, 1968
S-IVB-206 Skylab 2 May 25, 1973
S-IVB-207 Skylab 3 July 28, 1973
S-IVB-208 Skylab 4 November 16, 1973
S-IVB-209 Skylab rescue vehicle Kennedy Space Center
S-IVB-210 Apollo Soyuz Test Project July 15, 1975
S-IVB-211 Unused U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville, Alabama
S-IVB-212 Converted to Skylab May 14, 1973
500 Series
Serial number Use Launch date Current location
S-IVB-501 Apollo 4 November 9, 1967
S-IVB-502 Apollo 6 April 4, 1968
S-IVB-503 Destroyed during testing
S-IVB-503N Apollo 8 December 21, 1968 Solar orbit
S-IVB-504 Apollo 9 March 3, 1969 Solar orbit
S-IVB-505 Apollo 10 May 18, 1969 Solar orbit
S-IVB-506 Apollo 11 July 16, 1969 Solar orbit
S-IVB-507 Apollo 12 November 14, 1969 Solar orbit; Was discovered as an asteroid in 2002 and given the designation J002E3
S-IVB-508 Apollo 13 April 11, 1970 Lunar surface*
S-IVB-509 Apollo 14 January 31, 1971 Lunar surface*
S-IVB-510 Apollo 15 July 26, 1971 Lunar surface*
S-IVB-511 Apollo 16 April 16, 1972 Lunar surface*
S-IVB-512 Apollo 17 December 7, 1972 Lunar surface*
S-IVB-513 Unused Johnson Space Center
S-IVB-514 Unused Kennedy Space Center
S-IVB-515 Converted for use as backup Skylab National Air and Space Museum

(* See List of artificial objects on the Moon for location.)


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