Saturn 8 Apollo Direct Ascent Alternative Moonrocket

Saturn 8 Apollo Direct Ascent Alternative Moonrocket 3D print model

A 3D-Printable scale model of the theoretical concept of the Saturn 8 rocket. During the early pases of the Apollo and Saturn programs that would ultimately bring humans to the moon and back several alternative concepts had been proposed until after careful analysis the one we now now as the historic Apollo missions and Saturn V rockets were chosen. One of these concepts was the much simpler but also trickier to build direct ascent concept which would have been launched by an even bigger version of the Saturn V (or Saturn 5) rocket known as the Saturn 8 - unlike the Saturn V having 5 F1 engines powering hte first stage this one would have had 8 and the overall mass and power of the rocket would have scaled accordingly. It would have been over 120 meter high, making it the biggest and most powerful rocket in history - had it ever been flown. Unfortunately for such an interesting concept it never left the drawing board in favor of the smaller Saturn V which nonetheless remains the biggest and most powerful rocket ever actually flown to this day. The concept had both advantages and disadvantages over the Apollo program as it ended up being realized. The idea of the direct ascent mission was simple: A single spacecraft, a lot of fuel, you fly off to the moon, enter it's orbit, slow down, land there, later take off from there again and fly back to earth seperating the command module with it's heatshield from the service module to land safely in the ocean. No docking in orbit and none of the additional risk attached to this at the time, also all 3 rather then only 2 of the astronauts would have landed on the moon. The Apollo program as it was actually realized instead saved a lot of fuel by using a small lander only built for landing on the moon - they left the heavy service and command module, the heatshield, the parachutes, the fuel for the return to earth and the rest in moon orbit, landed only the lander and returned to to the command module after launching from the moon to then switched back to the command module, left the tiny lander at the moon and flew back ot earth. While this made the mission more complicated and risky it saved a lot of fuel meaning the mission could be launched with a smaller rocket - one that could actually be built at the time. The Saturn 8 would have required the construction of new facilities first which would have delayed the mission past the ambitious in this decade goal set by Kennedy in his historic speach and so the Saturn V was chosen instead.

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Saturn 8 Apollo Direct Ascent Alternative Moonrocket
Royalty Free License 
Saturn 8 Apollo Direct Ascent Alternative Moonrocket
Royalty Free License 
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3D Model formats

Format limitations
  • SolidWorks (.sldprt, .sldasm, .slddrw)6.74 MB
  • OBJ (.obj, .mtl)5.84 MB
  • 3D Studio (.3ds)1.53 MB
  • Stereolithography (.stl) (2 files)21.4 MB

3D Model details

  • Publish date2018-09-25
  • Model ID#1001021