back to article NASA mulls restoring Saturn V to service as SLS delays and costs mount

Faced with spiralling costs for its Space Launch System (SLS) and pressure to put American boots on the Moon by 2024, NASA is to return the Saturn V to flight. "Achieving the President's goal is our number one priority," said an anonymous agency insider, "and with the continuing delays in the SLS program, we've decided that …

  1. Joe W Silver badge

    Looking at the state of SLS....

    ... this actually would make sense. Shame, really ;)

    1. druck Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Looking at the state of SLS....

      If only it wasn't April the first.

      1. Mage Silver badge
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: If only it wasn't April the first.

        Yes, though the start of the article was believable.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Looking at the state of SLS....

      Only if those Saturn V parts come with a certificate of authenticity.

  2. Stuart Moore
    Happy

    Sensible idea

    Perhaps we can send Trump up to open his first space hotel?

    1. Methusalah
      Trollface

      Re: Sensible idea

      Trump wouldn't go. There are no golf courses yet.

      But if there were, some of the sand traps would be awesome!

      1. Muscleguy Silver badge

        Re: Sensible idea

        I used to have a little game which had you play golf of various solar system moons using a reasonable calculation of the 2d gravity. Iapetus was always an interesting challenge. And yes, hitting it too hard could result in escape velocity.

        1. Kane Silver badge
          Alien

          Shame it wasn't Pool...

          "I used to have a little game which had you play golf of various solar system moons using a reasonable calculation of the 2d gravity. Iapetus was always an interesting challenge. And yes, hitting it too hard could result in escape velocity."

          -

          "Will you relax?! I've seen Gerbil Face play down in the recreation room. He's a diva! He can knock those stripey balls around that table all night long, and I'll tell you what: I've never once seen him lose a single ball down one of those holes!"

      2. LDS Silver badge

        There are no golf courses yet.

        Not true. Astronauts already played golf there, and it's full of holes large enough to allow even Trump to hit a eagle every time. And his bone spurs won't be a big issues in low gravity...

        1. AstroNutter

          Re: There are no golf courses yet.

          Hitting eagle would be quite easy is you are near Tranquility base, but only the base platform is left and Neil and Buzz returned the cabin part to orbit in order to come home.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            "but only the base platform is left "

            You have a perfect putting area with a hole just in the middle. You can also take the flag the Eagle engine probably shoot down, and put it there to signal the hole...

          2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Terminator

            Re: There are no golf courses yet.

            I saw a fake documentary, where the the entire LEM is shown sitting on the moon, after the astronauts came back to Earth.

            There were some giant robots in it too.

      3. Uffish

        Re: Sensible idea

        The moon has been a golf course for nearly fifty years, and as you say the bunkers are awesome.

        See https://www.forbes.com/sites/kionasmith/2019/02/06/astronaut-alan-shepards-out-of-this-world-round-of-golf-on-the-moon/

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Sensible idea

          See https://www.forbes.com/sites/kionasmith/2019/02/06/astronaut-alan-shepards-out-of-this-world-round-of-golf-on-the-moon/

          At some point in the distant future, someone will be building station where the ball landed. This will probably cause a lot of discussion as to the origins of the ball.

      4. Christoph Silver badge

        Re: Sensible idea

        Of course there's golf on the moon. He can try to beat Alan Shepard's drive.

      5. Alien Doctor 1.1

        Re: Sensible idea

        https://futurama.fandom.com/wiki/Leo_Wong%27s_%22Miniature%22_Golf_Course

        A great episode.

      6. Mage Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: There are no golf courses yet.

        I'm sure I remember one of the Apollo guys with a golf club. Video!

      7. oldfartuk

        Re: Sensible idea

        in 1/6g you could whack a golf ball about 2 km with a decent driver.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Sensible idea

          "in 1/6g you could whack a golf ball about 2 km with a decent driver."

          Whilst wearing a spacesuit?

      8. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Sensible idea

        I'd like to add my vote to the proposal to send Trump to Alan Shepard's course. However, I do recommend that he should not wear the spacesuit, it'd be far too restrictive for a good swing.

        1. Jon 37
          Joke

          Re: Sensible idea

          Besides, I'm sure he'd say "I'm the best astronaut, I don't need a space suit. I'm going to play the best game of space golf ever! Then I'm going to set up a hotel there, it will be the best space golf hotel."

    2. Tom 64
      Pint

      Re: Sensible idea

      I'd pay to watch that. And take bets on the launcher going bang on the launch pad.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Sensible idea

        A 50 year old one that has sat around in all weathers going bang yes, but a new build does strike me as a low risk solution to get big lumps to LEO. (not so much the tiny tin can to the moon)

        Even with the story appearing today :)

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: Sensible idea

          With all the will in the world, we couldn't build a new Saturn 5 nowadays. The skills and machinery needed just doesn't exist anymore. Redesigning it for use with more modern materials, production methods and construction techniques would be more work than getting SLS to work.

          The problem with SLS isn't that it's a terrible design (though it is), it's Boeing.

    3. RyokuMas Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Sensible idea

      With a service module cryo-tank coil a la Apollo 13?

      "Housten, we have a solution..."

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Sensible idea

        Golf in a space station ( micro gravity, roughly 1 bar air pressure) or on the moon (1/6 G, roughly zero air pressure)... Either way, the properties of the club and balls would have to be modified ( eg, lighter club, heavier ball, softer ball) if the golfer isn't going to walk miles between shots. See: Robin Hood F.R.S. by Arthur C Clarke, in which moon colonists modify archery equipment to be suitable for an airless environment.

        1. Dave559 Bronze badge

          Re: Sensible idea

          In time-honoured SF fashion, you'd use a jetpack (or flying golf buggy) to get between shots, of course! ;-)

  3. LDS Silver badge

    They just refurbished the mission control room...

    ... in all its sixties glory, including ashtrays, so it make sense, perfectly!

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: They just refurbished the mission control room...

      I've enjoyed the TV show For All Mankind, which is an alternate history in which a Soviet cosmonaut is the first human on the moon and thus the USA is spurred on to more ambitious space missions. There's an authentic amount of smoking in the NASA control room, something I was surprised to see so much criticism of in reviews of the show. Whilst I appreciate that the subject matter lends itself towards family viewing, my generation was brought up to be wary of airbrushing history, just as we are about book burning.

      1. Robert Sneddon Bronze badge

        It was a different time

        Here's a picture of the "clean room" used to build Prospero, the only British satellite successfully launched by a British rocket, back in the early 1970s.

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14783135

        Note the prominent sign pinned to the wall.

        1. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: It was a different time

          > picture of the "clean room" used to build Prospero

          At least he's wearing the cleanroom cap & gown. There's one of a Mercury capsule, with blokes in 3-piece suits with tools clambering all over it, and a similar sign.

  4. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Logical

    It's the only logical decision. As we, however, know, logic and politics don't mix. Ah well....

  5. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Joke

    I'd have believed it

    if they were planning on reserving the capsule for the bestest Golfer

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    to sad it is only an april fool's trick. It would had put some pressure on the SLS to get their act together and to finally finish sthe project

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Nope. That kind of pressure won't work with them. Only profit pressure will work. Or maybe threaten the board with the requirement that they be aboard the first launch and then individually on the next several.

  7. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    And a very happy April 1st to you too.

  8. CN Hill

    Ah. April 1st.

  9. ssh_proxy

    Happy April 1st! Nice one! Beers for everyone.

  10. bazza Silver badge

    Nice as it would be to see a Saturn V lift off again, I sense a little of the 1st April in the story... Sad face...

  11. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo

    I only realized when the article mentioned Kerbal Space Program, that this is an April Fool's article.

    We live in strange times, when actual reality (TM) is riddled with absurdity, it becomes harder and harder to distinguish an April Fool's article from actual news.

    My sympathies go out to all the comedians out there, you are having tough times.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      >My sympathies go out to all the comedians out there, you are having tough times.

      I don't know, Sacha Baron Cohen's 2 new characters are doing great on both sides of the Atlantic

    2. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      "We live in strange times, when actual reality (TM) is riddled with absurdity"

      You mean Trump might ACTUALLY be a real US president?

  12. Giles C Bronze badge

    Almost believed it

    The first few paragraphs were very convincing but as I got further down the April fool starting becoming more apparent. The KBS comment finally clicked.

  13. JohnBuckle

    If only it was April 1st

  14. Saruman the White
    Pint

    I actually believed it for a moment ...

    ... until I got to the second half of the article.

    Funny enough, re-vamping the Saturn-V has been discussed several times. The big problem (and they are BIG) are the main engines; each one had to be basically be hand-made and hand-tuned, and unfortunately all of that highly specialised knowledge is now gone. Shame really since the Saturn-V was really something to see launch, and it never suffered a failure!

    Lets raise a glass to the NASA engineers of the Apollo program!

    1. richardcox13

      Re: I actually believed it for a moment ...

      > and they are BIG

      "You may think it is a long way around to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to a Saturn V."

      They are really really BIG! Until you want next to one you have no idea.

      > The big problem

      Also significant parts of the engineering drawings have been lost as well. So a re-start of the program would be a redesign pretty much from the ground up. The only advantage over the original program would be that it was known to work from the start.

      But the biggest issue would be the kind of risks that were taken in the Apollo program are simply not accepted today.

      1. Paul Shirley

        Re: I actually believed it for a moment ...

        There's also the story that NASA only got approval for the shuttle programme if it destroyed the Sat V plans.

        (I make no comment on the truth or otherwise of that 'story')

      2. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: I actually believed it for a moment ...

        Not really true, most of the drawings for the rocket itself still exist. But they're useless without the production machinery of the day (and the skilled labour to operate them).

        The main engines were actually not a NASA product but designed and built by Rocketdyne, which is why NASA has very little information on them. (There's still a lot available from whatever is left of Rocketdyne as far as I understand).

        Same goes for many other modules, where NASA never had the drawings to begin with.

        Also important to remember is that there was no "The" saturn 5. Almost every rocket was different from the last as they kept coming up with design improvements.

        1. bazza Silver badge

          Re: I actually believed it for a moment ...

          Aha, so that explains the story as to why NASA hadn't got the drawings; they'd never had them in the first place! Thanks :-)

          It ought to be possible to recreate an F1 engine from those drawings, if they're a complete set. They ought to contain the manufacturing information too. Whatever was need back then could probably be either matched or bettered with today's manufacturing tools. Though I think you're right about the expertise; with such nearly one-off, highly specialised things there's a lot of scope for some key knowledge to have been in peoples' heads.

          The F1 engine drawings are going to have been done to 1960's standards, and there's probably plenty of people who understand them. What's interesting is to consider how drawing standards have changed.

          A fairly recent great reconstruction project was the UK Science Museum's rebuild of a Babbage Difference Engine, following Charles Babbage's drawings. One difficulty they had was understanding all the symbology and nomenclature of Victorian engineering drawings, which was very different to that which we're used to in the 21st century.

          Similarly during the construction of the new Crossrail line in London, they decided to re-use an abandoned tunnel dating from the Victorian era. That meant they had to get familiar with Victorian architectural drawing standards, because that's when the official tunnel design was created! Doing so was necessary because they needed to modify the tunnel and that meant needing to get a proper understanding of how it had been built. If I recall correctly, when they started the work, they discovered that sometime around about WW2 some extra work had been done on the tunnel, but hadn't been documented anywhere.

          1. Gene Cash Silver badge

            Re: I actually believed it for a moment ...

            Actually there's folks that have recreated the F-1 in CAD by examining an old one

            https://arstechnica.com/science/2013/04/how-nasa-brought-the-monstrous-f-1-moon-rocket-back-to-life/

            https://www.3dsystems.com/learning-center/case-studies/reigniting-f-1-apollo-engine-geomagic-solutions

            They didn't have anywhere big enough to fire an F-1, but they did fire the gas generator, which produced 31,000 lbs thrust and 55,000 horsepower just to run the F-1's fuel and oxidizer pumps.

            This happened because (to bring it full circle) they seriously considered uprated F-1Bs to power SLS.

            1. bazza Silver badge

              Re: I actually believed it for a moment ...

              Wow!

              31,000 lbs thrust isn't too far off that needed for Boeing's NMA, for which there's no suitable off the shelf engine. Perhaps F1B turbo pumps would do the job!

          2. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: I actually believed it for a moment ...

            Drawings are good, but unless the specs are available with a materials list, they do anyone any good.

      3. Timbo

        Re: I actually believed it for a moment ...

        "Also significant parts of the engineering drawings have been lost as well. So a re-start of the program would be a redesign pretty much from the ground up. The only advantage over the original program would be that it was known to work from the start."

        I'm pretty sure you can get a Haynes manual to cover it.

        Haynes did one for the Millenium Falcon, so you just know that this manual was used to re-furb the MF as it hadn't been used (for space flight, rather than as a museum piece) since 1983 so it could appear in 2005. I believe they had to service it again as it has been in service for the last 3 years.

        They've also done them for the LEM, Apollo 11 and 13, the Gemini capsules, the Lunar Rover and if NASA have any 3rd stages left, they could convert one into a updated Skylab.

        In fact, send the old Saturn V parts to Musk - and he could make them re-useable which would save even more money as you'd only need the one "First" Stage - it's only used in flight for less than 10 minutes, so once it flies back to Kennedy, they could re-furbish it in about a day via a trip to the local gas station for a re-fuelling.

    2. Paul Shirley

      Re: I actually believed it for a moment ...

      No serious failures in manned/real missions. Fascinating read at Apollo 6: The Saturn V That Almost Failed on exactly what went wrong on the unmanned Apollo 6 test flight.

    3. Brian Morrison

      Re: I actually believed it for a moment ...

      During the Apollo 13 mission, a failure was avoided by the skin of NASA's teeth when a vibration of >62g occurred in the centre J-2 engine on the SII stage, the engine and mount moved a good 6" or more in the longitudinal plane before a shut-down was triggered probably because the thrust sensors thought the increasing rearward movement indicated loss of thrust. Had this not happened there was only a second or so before a total structural failure and almost certainly loss of mission and crew.

      This was recognised and fixed before Apollo 14 launched.

  15. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
    Coat

    Blast

    About half way through I thought, hangon April the 1st :(

  16. suferick

    Glad to see...

    that you mark the date in the customary manner, even in these difficult times

  17. Hamish McNish
    Mushroom

    Not exclusive

    Stephen Baxter beat you to it...

    1. The_H

      Re: Not exclusive

      Are we really the only two who've read "Titan" ?

  18. Flak
    Thumb Up

    Fantastic news!

    After

    planned

    re-introduction

    into

    lunar

    Flight

    orbit,

    old

    launch

    system:

    out of this world!

  19. bigphil9009

    Thank you

    For a small piece of normality and levity in this currently rather uncertain world. It's great to be reminded that life can carry on. Bravo!

  20. John Robson Silver badge

    I blame a lack of coffee

    for the number of sentences it took me to realise the date.

  21. ashdav

    Poisson d’Avril

    Where's my paper fish?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know its April 1st, but *please* don't go giving Trump any more ideas.....

    Mind you, golfing would be pretty cool on the moon.

    1. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

      Golf on the moon

      Apollo 14.

  23. jonathan keith Silver badge

    Well done.

    Blimey! Is it that time already?

  24. spudmasterflex

    Happy April everybody

  25. Fred Dibnah Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Checks calendar.....

    ....that is all.

    But I'd love it to be true!

  26. jaffa99

    Lol

    Weeks, NASA can't plan a meeting in weeks. That was the giveaway.

  27. Pete B
    Thumb Up

    Checks date

    Although as others say it might well make sense to go down this road -tried and tested tech!

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Checks date

      But tried and tested tech we probably would really struggle to put together again.

      We just don't have the same skills that we had then. The injectors and baffles of the F1 were works of fine art, eventually sufficiently stable that explosives detonated within the combustion chamber didn't cause more than a momentary flutter....

      Each F1 had 1.5MlbF thrust at sea level - that's equivalent to ~ 3 BE4 engines, 2.4 Raptors, or 9 Merlin engines

      That's insane thrust levels.... 5 F1s, each of which produced ~ a full thrust version of the Falcon 9 (1.5 Mlbf vs 1.7 MlbF)

      That's ~1.5 Falcon Heavies tied together (gonna need more struts, and to check yo' staging)

  28. just another employee

    Checks todays date....

    ….ah.

    ;-)

  29. Evil_Goblin

    I wish, seeing that thundering into the blue yonder would cheer me right up...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Might get close.

      Shepherd and Starship are close to the sizes and even shinier.

  30. ADC
    Thumb Up

    Nicely done El Reg :-)

  31. Roger Greenwood

    Absolutely

    Quick spray with WD-40, swap the electrolytics (re-cap) and good to go.

  32. Garry Perez

    N1 el Reg, i

    This is an April fool right? Lol

    1. John Robson Silver badge
      Joke

      Not the N1, the Saturn V

  33. analyzer

    lmao

    Love it AF

  34. Chris G Silver badge

    It'll be fine

    Providing they don't use any Boing software for upgrading the iPhones.

  35. TWB

    Brilliant

    Why did I not think of that?....

    Maybe the RAF could get all those wasted Spitfires out of the museums as well! Much cheaper than these new fangled VTOL jet thingys.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone checked today's date??

  37. Elledan

    Props

    The best April 1st jokes are the ones which bear a bitter grain of truth :)

    1. A. Coatsworth
      Pint

      Re: Props

      A grain?

      There is a Moon-sized sand trap of truth in this article!

      By the way, is it April already? We were robbed of a full month this year. I completely had forgotten about calendars in this quarantine. The days simply melt and merge into one another.

      It is 7 am over here, but what the hell... I need a beer.

  38. Dan 55 Silver badge

    For some reason I think there are going to be a lot of Reg exclusives today.

  39. Gadzooks
    Happy

    Checked today's date?

  40. RosslynDad
    Happy

    Nice Try Richard

    Looking forward to your coverage of the AF-1 mission!

    Enjoyed your history of Mars Express, BTW!

  41. smudge Silver badge

    I've read that story

    At least, I have read a story where the Saturn V at Kennedy Space Center is brought back into action for some crucial mission.

    Can't remember whether it was rescuing someone, or diverting an approaching asteroid, or something else.

    Does this ring a bell with anyone?

    1. diver_dave

      Re: I've read that story

      Orphanage by Robert Buettner.

      Fun series.

      Adapting 767 fuselages as dropships.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I've read that story

      IIRC was it [Orwells] Nope, it was ‎Larry Niven! In Footfall the story with the Project Orion ships and using space shuttles as bombers to stop the elephant invasion?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I've read that story

        Footfall was a collaboration between Niven & Pournelle.

        They also wrote Lucifers Hammer, which has a redo of the Apollo Soyuz mission, where they had to pull stuff out of a museum due to possible large rock vs kansas issues.

    3. HelpfulJohn Bronze badge

      Re: I've read that story

      Perhaps you are thinking of "Fallen Angels" by Mr. Niven and a host of other guys?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallen_Angels_(science_fiction_novel)

      It's fairly good but it does have a boatload of insider jokes, fan references and other stuff peculiar to the SF fandom scene. It also has some extremely annoying patches of unfinishedness, bits brought up, made significant then dropped.

      Also, no spoiler, that novel didn't use an S5. I suspect that by the time it was written even an SF novel couldn't extend our suspension of disbelief sufficiently for us to accept that one of those would ever fly. That would be rather like getting Concorde back in the skies. Not even magical super-tech could manage it.

  42. stuff and nonesense

    Nice try!

    Title says it all

  43. Peter Clarke 1
    Flame

    A Sight to Behold

    Whilst it would be wonderful to see a Saturn V launch again I feel the launch date will be 1st April 2024

    1. HelpfulJohn Bronze badge

      Re: A Sight to Behold

      1/4/2024? Is that before or after "Moonfall"?

  44. Zog_but_not_the_first
    Boffin

    So....

    All those tales about the Saturn V plans being lost/thrown away etc., were just that - tales.

  45. Joolsthewolf

    APRIL FOOL.....LOL

  46. Another User
    Trollface

    This will work

    This will work. I saw it recently on TV. Well it was Apple TV. “For all Mankind” is/was a feel good movie series.

    Now they can bring back asbestos to good use as part of the heat shield and also to prevent the corrosive fuel from leakIng. Thinking about analog instruments- it was possible to read the display in total darkness thanks to Radium.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: This will work

      Tritium is still allowed for instruments, though it has to be contained in a glass cylinder that's glued to the dial and hands instead of being painted directly on - to save watch repairers from inhaling it in dust ( the radioactivity tended to weaken the glue, resulting in a powder that clogged gears and could be inhaled ). It only has half life of about 12 years though (compared to a thousand years plus for radium).

      In any case, aerospace and military applications can be made exempt from certain legislation - such as using lead-based solder, for example.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    With the lunatics in charge of the asylum across the pond I'm tempted to believe this...

  48. Extra spicey vindaloo

    yes but.

    Hahaha,

    not even slightly believable, the saturn V outside of kennedy was never flight ready, yep date checks out.

  49. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Well done

    It took me two paragraphs to realize. The iPhone 8s were enough, the golf stuff was over the top.

    Great April fool's !

  50. herman Silver badge
    Devil

    Yes is excellent April Fool's satire. One could only wish it was true.

  51. _randomandy_
    Happy

    Checks date...

    ...ah yes...

  52. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Nice one

    You had me for a brief moment, then I realized what day it was

  53. Dr. G. Freeman

    If it wasn't today, would take this seriously, as why not use what they already have ?

    Thought it would be a good start anyway, even as a proof of concept.

  54. TVU Silver badge

    NASA mulls restoring Saturn V to service as SLS delays and costs mount

    In which case, they ought to have a full review; go with Saturn V, stay with SLS or cooperate more with capable private providers. While using up spare Saturn Vs might seem initially attractive, there will still be huge costs in bringing that old kit up to 21st century standards and I'm not sure that it will ultimately be worth it.

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: NASA mulls restoring Saturn V to service as SLS delays and costs mount

      Um...

      Whoooooooosh?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: NASA mulls restoring Saturn V to service as SLS delays and costs mount

        To some extent the old tech is still being kept around. Engines, etc. Shows why Space X and ULA are doing so much better on their own compared to NASAs in house designs.

        But not entire Saturn Vs!

  55. werdsmith Silver badge

    To yank it out of that big display hall at KSC Visitor Center and point it straight up, fill it with cold liquid and light the fuse.

    On Apollo the 1st 2023.

    1. HammerOn1024

      All the insulation is long done. As for the ability to hold itself upright, probably not. As to the ability to actually launch it, no way. None of the import infrastructure, other than the big physical stuff is around.

  56. 2+2=5 Silver badge
    Happy

    Excellent

    In other news, I've solved the problem of people panic-buying pasta by planting my own spaghetti tree.

    1. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Excellent

      "... spaghetti tree ..."

      You are Richard Dimbleby and I claim my five pounds of Parmasan cheese.

  57. jason 7 Silver badge

    Fooling aside...

    ...there was an interesting article a few years ago where a prototyping company asked to have a loan of a stage two Saturn rocket motor.

    Now I don't remember the exact figures but they reckon it originally had say 2000 individual components. They claimed that with modern alloys and manufacturing techniques they could get the component count to under 100 parts with a large reduction in weight.

    Not so silly maybe.

  58. Sceptic Tank

    The ego has landed

    I know where one might find a door.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    took me time ...

    to realise we're the 1st of april and flying Sat V which they have lost the plans of ... is not gonna happen ....

    Nice one El Reg !

    1. jason 7 Silver badge

      Re: took me time ...

      Not so much the plan really but the 'on the job' experience of the guy and gals that put it all together.

      Very much custom built kit.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wish

    I Wish I could say you didn't get me but for a brief second...enough to feel shame about...I looked at the headline and thought WTF. /:

  61. Andy Taylor

    Very good, had me for going for all of 20 seconds.

  62. ThereBePirates
    Coat

    Lady take a ride on a Zeke 64

    Jerry wants to be a rockette

    There's a popular misconception

    Says we haven't seen anything yet

    Laying down the lifeless corpse of President 35

    The lady crying by his side is the most beautiful woman alive

    [Chorus]

    Saturn 5 .....

  63. Milton

    Trouble is, it so very nearly makes sense

    Like all good Apriphulian japes, there's enough reason and 'bottom' to this to earn that double-take.

    In a very sad, child-like way ... I'd love this to be true.

  64. squirrel_nutkin

    Amazing, NASA has just confirmed it.

  65. karlkarl Silver badge

    "People were always saying that there was more power in a phone than the Apollo era computers"

    Yes, but the computers were more useful back then because they could run unsigned code written by smart people rather than app developers.

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Coat

      Back Once Again..... In Orbit On The Darkside Of The Moon......

      The iPhones decides they need a urgent software update.......

    2. jason 7 Silver badge

      Plus sometimes limited capacity and options is a blessing as it concentrates things.

  66. anothercynic Silver badge

    Perfect!!

    Loved it!

  67. J. Cook Silver badge

    Well played, good sirs.

  68. W Donelson

    April Fool.

    But remember the Saturn V is STILL the most powerful launch system ever built.

    Designed by America's finest in the 1960s!

    1. Timbo

      "Designed by America's finest in the 1960s!"

      I think you might find that certain Europeans, Werner von Braun and Kurt H Debus, might take exception to that assumption.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_V

  69. Draco
    Headmaster

    It probably won't pass emissions standards

    Fuel efficiency and emission standards have become far more stringent since the 1960s. I doubt the Saturn V will pass.

  70. boatsman

    realistic option in every sense. ...... albeit 1st of april..........

    really...

    saturn is at least a good starting point of something that has proven to be working

  71. rcw88

    Genius.

  72. HammerOn1024

    If Only

    Too bad anything sitting on the ground is well past its structural, thermal and radiation life limits. And too bad all the doc's were ordered destroyed by Nixon. Anything left, besides physical hardware, was "appropriated" by individuals who knew better.

  73. shoenig369

    This is a joke right? Surely launching a 50 year old spacecraft cannot be the best alternative to completing the SLS. This can't be actual news.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      As the first 2 words of the article say, it's an April Fools.

      So yes, it's an April 1 joke.

      C.

  74. Grinning Bandicoot

    A minor change or two first

    For a thought experiment substitute Raspberry Pi for all the logic systems and do so on the basis of a cluster of three working in a voting manner. Disregard the vibration, sheer, and temperature specs to make the project easier after a libation or three.

    However after the bidding process, inspections and quota fulfillment they will be reworked into a decent million or two per unit and ready for change orders with the subsequent time and material charges.

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