Saturn V-Apollo
by DarkStar
uploaded 2018-05-11
(updated 2018-05-11)
stock+DLC ship
#SaturnV #Apollo


Deorbital Sunrise

TransMunar Injection Burn

Saturn V - Apollo - 3 Stage LV

Built in the VAB with 154 of the finest parts available from KSP 1.4.3.

An even more Apollo-like Saturn V build. Can you make it to the Mun and back? Try not to use throttle for the main 3 stages, you’ll need a very controlled ascent to make a clean, circular Parking orbit.


Until jettisoned in S-II the Abort Action group will cut all engines, separate the ship, and fire the Launch Escape System (LES). Then Stage through to release the LES, SM-6A fairings, and activate the parachutes.

S-IC - Liftoff

1,550 m/s Δv
Features 5 massive KE-1 Mastodon (F-1) engines lofting the initial 345,000kg Launch Vehicle (LV). These are limited to 60% thrust to fit the launch profile better.

The real Saturn V would start the center engine first, then the outer four in opposing pairs of two about 300 ms apart and would lean slightly away from the launch tower after launch; but that causes issues in KSP so I’ve simplified it to one stage.

  • STAGE: S-IC Engine Start & Hold-down release
  • MANEUVER: Hold vertical to ~80 m/s; 4° push over to start Gravity Turn, try to hold to Prograde
  • ACTION: At Mach 0.90 activate Action Group ‘0’ to shutdown Center F1 Engine (F-1’s could not throttle down).

S-II - Sub-orbital

2,150 m/s Δv
Ullage motors fire to ensure positive fuel flow as the 5 RE-I2 (J-2) engines ignite (not technically required in Kerbal but this is why they were used in the Saturn V, 8 were used initially and reduced to 4 for the first seven manned missions). Currently missing is a proper Interstage Ring separation.

  • MANEUVER: continue Gravity Turn, try to hold 50 second Time to Apoapsis throughout the ascent
  • STAGE: S-IC separation, Fire 8 S-IC retro rockets
  • STAGE: Fire 4 S-II ullage motors, Start J-2 engines
  • [missing Interstage separation]
  • STAGE: Launch Escape System (LES) jettison
  • ACTION: Action Group ‘9’ to shutdown center S-II Engine to reduce thrust
  • ACTION: Engine Mixture Ratio (EMR) Shift [throttle down to 90% to simulate] to reduce thrust
  • MANEUVER: Apoapsis hold to 80km

S-IVB - Parking Orbit Insertion & TransMunar Injection

1,350 m/s Δv
Unlike the previous stages, this stage is designed to fire twice, one for insertion into final Parking Orbit (at about 80km), the second time for transMunar injection. Two Auxiliary Propulsion System (APS) pods were used for ullage on the second burn for TransMunar Injection (not modeled here but you could add some RCS pods if desired).

  • STAGE: S-II/S-IVB separation, Fire 4 S-II retro rocket motor
  • MANEUVER: Hold until Time to Apoapsis of ~10 seconds, make sure at full throttle
  • STAGE: Fire 2 S-IVB ullage motors, Start J-2 engine for insertion into parking orbit
  • MANEUVER: Cut SPS Engine once Parking Orbit achieved
  • MANEUVER: Prepare for TransMunar Injection burn with a Free Return Orbit in case of engine failure
  • STAGE: Fire APS pods for ullage, Start J-2 for transMunar injection burn

CSM/LV Separation

Once enroute begin the CSM/LV Separation and transposition, docking, & extraction of the Munar Excursion Module (MEM) vehicle.

  • STAGE: Open and jettison the 4 Spacecraft Lunar Module Adaptor (SLA) panels
  • STAGE: Disengage the C/SM and Activate the Service Propulsion System (SPS) Engine
  • MANEUVER: Set the C/SM Docking Port as Target, execute a non-RCS 180° rotation, engage RCS and gently nudge forward to dock with the MEM (maneuver needed)
  • STAGE: dummy stage
  • STAGE: Release MEM from the Launch Vehicle (LV)
  • ACTION: Action Group 1 to enable the Fuel Cell generators
  • ACTION: Action Group 4 to engage the High Gain Antenna
  • MANEUVER: separate from LV orbital path, also SPS can make mid-course trajectory corrections to Mun, aim for 10-15km

Mun Orbit Insertion

500 m/s Δv BUDGET

  • MANEUVER: Execute SPS Burn Retrograde for Mun orbit injection with a 10-15km orbit
  • MANUALLY: Transfer Kerbals to MEM and Undock MEM from C/SM

MEM Descent Stage

1,056 m/s Δv + RCS

  • ACTION: ‘g’ to deploy landing gear,
  • ACTION: ‘t’ to engage SAS, aim retrograde
  • STAGE: Activate LV-909 Terrier Descent Engine
  • MANEUVER: Land on the Mun
  • MANUAL: Shutdown LV-909 Terrier Descent Engine

MEM Ascent Stage

1,179 m/s Δv + RCS

A 48-75 Spark engine and a small auxiliary Oscar-B fuel tank should get you back into orbit to rendezvous with the C/SM, make sure you have a Pilot aboard!

  • MANUAL: Full Throttle (make sure LV-909 is Shutdown)
  • STAGE: Separate Descent and Ascent Stages, Activate Ascent Engine
  • MANEUVER: Align Orbit with CSM (burn retrograde to Target to intercept), rendezvous, and dock
  • MANUAL: Transfer Kerbals from MEM to CSM, Transfer resources from MEM as needed, Undock MEM

Stage: TransKerbin Injection

1,000 m/s Δv BUDGET

Set a course back to Kebal, too steep and you will bounce out of the atmosphere, too shallow and you risk burning up during reentry.

  • MANEUVER: SPS Burn to intercept Kerbin with a Periapsis of approximately 20-30km, make midcourse corrections as needed – at 120km from Kerbin, proceed

Stage: Kerbin Reentry

The Command Module has ample Ablative heat shield for a hot reentry and has 2 Drogue Chutes and 3 Parachutes for a soft landing on land or at sea. Don’t forget you have a small amount of RCS control in the Mk1-3 module, perfectly capable of self-deorbital burn in an emergency.

  • MANEUVER: Orient Radial Out for CM/SM Separation
  • STAGE: Separate CM and SM
  • STAGE: Jettison the SM-6A Service Module fairings
  • STAGE: Activate the 2 Drogue and 3 Main Parachutes which will automatically deploy during descent
  • MANEUVER: Orient Command Module retrograde for reentry and enjoy the ride down
  • AUTOMATIC: Drogue Chutes deploy 18km, open 5km; Main Chutes deploy 4.8km, open 1km -STAGE: Jettison the Heat Shield once the Drogue Chutes fully open at 5km
  • AUTOMATIC: Main Chutes open 1km

Welcome Home!

Resources for those interested in more Saturn V-Apollo details:


  • Type: VAB
  • Class: ship
  • Part Count: 154
  • Pure Stock

S-IC/S-II Separation (Cam View)

S-IC/S-II Separation

S-II/S-IVB Separation & S-IVB ready for Parking Orbit burn

TransMunar C/SM and MEM

Mysterous Arch Found on the Mun

S-IC/S-II Separation & Ignition Event

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