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Saturn vs Falcon

Heavy weights of the US space fleet

Early development

The US space fleet...that has a cool sound to it. Especially to a science-fiction enthusiast.
 
Growing up, I was privileged to see the US's launch vehicles evolve from the Redstone to the Saturn V, the most powerful rocket ever built, and the one that enabled the first astronauts to land on the moon. The Saturn V was NASA's super-heavy-lift vehicle and holds the record for boosting the largest payload beyond low Earth orbit (LEO).
 
But, rocket science is exacting and difficult. Nothing needed to support human life in space was available. It all needed to be developed from scratch. That meant a well-orchestrated development effort was required to engineer and test all the necessary technologies.
 
The first step on the road to the Moon was the Mercury program. It was a Mercury space capsule that carried the first American into orbit. Shown below is theMercury-Redstone launch vehicle. Notice the distinctive escape mechanism at the tip of the spacecraft. It could be compared to an ejection seat in a jet. In the event of an emergency, this rocket-powered device could be fired. It would pull the capsule away from the rocket and deploy parachutes to safely return the capsule, and occupant, to Earth.
 
This launch vehicle was eventually replaced by the more powerful was replaced by Mercury-Atlas.

Image: Mercury-Redstone 2 (MR-2) Launch with chimpanzee Ham aboard. Monkeys had been flown into space before, but Ham was the first higher primate to test a spacecraft.

The next step in America's space program was the Gemini seriesof launches. Whereas the Mercury program carried a single astronaut into orbit, Gemini carried two. See why the name was selected? Gemini the twin? Hey, they're rocket scientists, not standup comedians. The launch vehicle for these missions was the Titan II GLV, pictured below, lifting off from Cape Canaveral.

WWI and the interwar years

The third and final stage of America's program to land people on the Moon was Project Apollo. These missions used three astronauts and involved placing the heaviest payload ever into an orbit capable of reaching the Moon.
 
Following the conclusion of the Apollo missions, the Saturn V's power was redirected to placing Skylab in orbit, America's first space station, in 1973. Following this, the Saturn V was retired, and NASA focused on the Space Shuttle and launching satellites and rovers to various places in the Solar System, and beyond.
 
Today, there's a new heavy-lift contender, the Falcon Heavy built by SpaceX. There are some significant differences between the Saturn V and Falcon Heavy. The Saturn was a single-use vehicle. Only 15 were built, and only 13 used. Once it boosted its payload into orbit, it fell back to Earth, an expendable asset.
 
On the other hand, the Falcon Heavy is designed for reuse. Just like sci-fi movies and books, SpaceX has designed launch vehicles that can land vertically with pinpoint precision. According to NASA's definitions, the reusable Falcon Heavy is classified as heavy-lift. A fully expendable version fulfills the super-heavy-lift requirements.
 
A final point of differentiation is this, the SpaceX rocket is a commercial rather than a governmental, program. Yes, NASA is tightly integrated and has contracted with SpaceX to provide launch vehicles. But the fact remains, this represents a new approach to space exploration.

Gemini photograph by NASA/KSC - Great Images in NASA (Description), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6449478

In five short years following Bleriot's flight, Europe and most of the rest of the world was plunged into the horror of WWI. Dirigibles and observation balloons were still in use but eventually succumbed to the rapidly developing airplanes. Watches and compasses now served to guide bombers to targets to deliver their ordnance as accurately as possible.

The airplanes of WWI were often hard to control. That meant the pilot was ill-advised to take his hands off the controls to retrieve his pocket watch. The same value that leads Santos-Dumont to seek a solution carried full force into combat.

Most aerial combat during WWI occurred during the day due to lack of proper instruments and lights. Bad weather almost always grounded the planes of the time. So watches did not need large quantities of luminescence. The just needed to be easy to read. Therefore, the iconic black dial and large contrasting Arabic numerals became standard issue.

As a result of experiences in WWI, U.S. Navy captain Philip Van Horn Weems designed an independently adjustable seconds ring. This feature allowed pilots to accurately synchronize their watch with a radio time signal without stopping the sweep seconds hand. Although "hacking" watch movements to allow everyone in a combat unit to synchronize their watches to the second, the practice could result in throwing pilots off course, ruin missions, and risk the airplane and crew.

Following his successful trans-Atlanic flight in 1927, Charles Lindbergh collaborated with Weems to develop the Hour Angle system which further enabled the wristwatch to determine longitude.

The German military specified a design that set the standard for what we think of as a classic pilot's watch today. By 1936, aviation advances allowed airplanes to fly at all hours and in foul weather (although grounding in severe conditions was common). The result was the Beobachtungsuhr (B-Uhr), or Observer.

"Celebrating one of the greatest feats of human endeavors is something we approached with serious intensity. We wanted to do Saturn V the justice it deserves. We think we did, a hope you do as well."

- Chaz Chazanow

Founder at LIV Watches

The Saturn family of launch vehicles

Apollo 11 taking flight in 1969.

The Saturn V was the culmination of NASA's Saturn launch vehicle family. Wernher Von Braun and his team managed the development and launch of the Saturns, and indeed, all the previous launch vehicles. Most of the design, engineering, and testing took place at the Marshal Space Flight Center in Birmingham, AL. Cape Canaveral in Florida handled the launches. Dubbed the "Space Coast," Cape Canaveral was situated to allow launches to take place over the Atlantic Ocean. In case of malfunction, no one wanted a firey rocket, large or small, coming down onshore.
 
From the beginning, the Saturn V was intended to put astronauts on the Moon. The final version consisted of three stages, each fueled by liquid propellants. The term family implies there was a Saturn I, II, III, IV, and V. Well, not so fast with the logic. The Saturn family consisted of the I, IB, and V. My research also uncovered a Saturn II, but it was a military launch vehicle.
 
Here is a summary of the Saturns used to put astronauts on the Moon, meeting President Kennedy's challenge put people on the Lunar surface within 10 years.
VERSION USED FOR MAIDEN FLIGHT LAUNCHES / TOTAL SUCCESSES

Saturn I, Block I

Development

Friday, October 27, 1961

4

4

Saturn I, Block II

Development

Friday, January 24, 1964

6

6

Saturn IB

Apollo spacecraft Earth orbital carrier

Saturday, February 26, 1966

9

9

Saturn V

Apollo spacecraft lunar orbital carrier

Thursday, November 9, 1967

13

12

Falcon Heavy launch vehicle

Did I mention I was a sci-fi aficionado? Well, SpaceX Has managed to create a real version of the vertical launch and landing vehicles like those of Buck Rogers,Tom Swift,Rocky Jones, and other space heroes from the first half of the last century.
 
The prevailing science-fiction image before Star Wars was of sleek, powerful rockets with integrated quarters for humans, taking off and landing vertically at spaceports. As is often the case, science-fiction becomes science fact. Such is the case for the rockets engineered, built, and operated by SpaceX.
 
The Falcon Heavy is a multi-stage vehicle. The first stage is (or can be) recoverable. It consists of two boosters and a central propulsion core. Each of the three components is equipped with four rigid landing legs. Each component reserves a portion of its fuel for the recovery phase. This is a distinct change from all previous vehicles where the entire fuel load is consumed during the launch phase.
As configured, the Heavy is presently the most powerful launch vehicle available. It is the third most powerful historically following the Saturn V and the Russian super-heavy-lift Energia, shown below.

Although certified by NASA to carry humans into space, SpaceX is already developing the Heavy's replacement, the Starship system. A prototype is shown below.

"Maybe my favorite aspect of the Saturn V range is the melding of bronze and titanium. It seems fitting that the original watch case material and metal that played an important role in the space program be brought together to celebrate the penultimate event of space exploration (so far)."

- Esti Chazanow

Co-Founder at LIV Watches

LIV Celebrates the champ
- the Saturn V

LIV Watches decided to commemorate the super-heavy-lift champion with a pair of unique watches; the Moon Lander and the Moon Dust. And true to LIV's DNA, each delivers a unique experience. Starting with a striking three-dimensional case back, these watches are decked out with Saturn V design elements, top to bottom.

The Moon Lander contains a feature-rich quartz chronograph movement from ETA, the G10.962 EO Swiss Chronograph with a special complication, a true Moon phase display. As I write, it graces my wrist.

The Moon Dust is powered by an automatic with day complication, the Sellita SW200-2, clearly visible through the exhibition case back. A specially textured, multi-layered dial represents the lunar surface. A special option melds the original case material, bronze with space-age titanium.

If you lived during the halcyon days of the Saturn V missions, you'll want one or both of these LIV Watches beauties in your collection. For those who didn't, and you want to add a bit of history to your watch lineup, these are magnificent additions.

Saturn V Specifications

LIV Saturn V Moon Lander Chrono

MovementETA Quartz G10.962 EO Swiss chronographwith moonphase

CaseHigh-grade 316L stainless steel

Case BackSaturn V Moon embossed designScrew-down; Gasketed

CrystalHigh-grade sapphire; Anti-reflective and scratch resistant

CrownScrew-down; Gasketed

Water Resistance100m

DimensionsCase diameter: 44.00 mm,Case height: 12.55 mm,Lug to lug width: 52.00 mm,Strap lug width: 23.00 mm

Saturn V Moon Dust Automatic

MovementSellita SW200-1 Swiss automatic

CaseBronze and titanium

Case BackExhibition sapphire; Screw-down

CrystalHigh-grade sapphire; Anti-reflective and scratch resistant

CrownPush down with LIV logo enamel inlay

Water Resistance100m

DimensionsCase diameter: 42 mm,Case height: 12.50 mm,Lug to lug width: 45.50 mm,Strap lug width: 22 mm

Contents

Early development

Given the fact that Santos-Dumont was a regular participant at the airshows of the day, other pilots exhibited one of the earliest known examples of wrist envy. As a result, the pilot's watch soon became a "must-have" instrument in the cockpit. And, not just for "keeping up the the Santos-Dumonts" reasons. Advances in powered flight were enabling planes to fly further and faster. With a reliable watch and a compass, pilots had the tools they needed to calculate time-speed-distance, determine when to move to the next leg of a flight, judge how much fuel was left, and generally be safer in the air.

Pilot Louis Bleriot wore a Zenith wristwatch when he made aviation history being the first to fly an airplace across the English Channel in July of 1909. Taking advantage of the feat for marketing purposes, Bleriot commented upon landing that he was very satisfied with his Zenith and would recommend it to others. The records are unclear on the point of Bleriot's comment being spontaneous or rehearsed.

WWI and the interwar years

"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua."

- Chaz Chazanow

Founder at LIV Watches

Advances during WWII

French watchmaker Zenith continued to manufacture their pilot's watches. Striking a neutral stance, Zenith sold its watches to both the Allies and the Axis. They used their 1939 Type Montre d"Aeronef design as the basis of their wristwatch. It featured the black dial and white arabic numerals with the large onion-style crown at 3 o'clock.

The United States did not produce a purpose-made pilot's watch. One of the most widely produced models supplied to American forces was the A-11. Manufactured by Bulouva, Waltham, and Elgin, the watch featured the required high-visibility black dial with white Arabic numerals. The manually wound movement featured a hacking function for synchronization. Some A-11s were waterproof, some were dust proof, some had luminous hands, , and some did not. All had a larger crown at 3 o'clock, but not in the onion style.

Postwar evolution

Heavyweights of the US space fleet

The US space fleet...that has a cool sound to it. Especially to a science-fiction enthusiast.
 
Growing up, I was privileged to see the US's launch vehicles evolve from the Redstone to the Saturn V, the most powerful rocket ever built, and the one that enabled the first astronauts to land on the moon. The Saturn V was NASA's super-heavy-lift vehicle and holds the record for boosting the largest payload beyond low Earth orbit (LEO).
 
But, rocket science is exacting and difficult. Nothing needed to support human life in space was available. It all needed to be developed from scratch. That meant a well-orchestrated development effort was required to engineer and test all the necessary technologies.
 
The first step on the road to the Moon was the Mercury program. It was a Mercury space capsule that carried the first American into orbit. Shown below is the Mercury-Redstone launch vehicle. Notice the distinctive escape mechanism at the tip of the spacecraft. It could be compared to an ejection seat in a jet. In the event of an emergency, this rocket-powered device could be fired. It would pull the capsule away from the rocket and deploy parachutes to safely return the capsule, and occupant, to Earth.
 
This launch vehicle was eventually replaced by the more powerful was replaced by Mercury-Atlas.

Image: Mercury-Redstone 2 (MR-2) Launch with chimpanzee Ham aboard. Monkeys had been flown into space before, but Ham was the first higher primate to test a spacecraft.

The next step in America's space program was the Gemini seriesof launches. Whereas the Mercury program carried a single astronaut into orbit, Gemini carried two. See why the name was selected? Gemini the twin? Hey, they're rocket scientists, not standup comedians. The launch vehicle for these missions was the Titan II GLV, pictured below, lifting off from Cape Canaveral.

"Celebrating one of the greatest feats of human endeavors is something we approached with serious intensity. We wanted to do Saturn V the justice it deserves. We think we did, a hope you do as well."

- Chaz Chazanow

Founder at LIV Watches

Gemini photograph by NASA/KSC - Great Images in NASA (Description), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6449478

The third and final stage of America's program to land people on the Moon was Project Apollo. These missions used three astronauts and involved placing the heaviest payload ever into an orbit capable of reaching the Moon.
 
Following the conclusion of the Apollo missions, the Saturn V's power was redirected to placing Skylab in orbit, America's first space station, in 1973. Following this, the Saturn V was retired, and NASA focused on the Space Shuttle and launching satellites and rovers to various places in the Solar System, and beyond.
 
Today, there's a new heavy-lift contender, the Falcon Heavy built by SpaceX. There are some significant differences between the Saturn V and Falcon Heavy. The Saturn was a single-use vehicle. Only 15 were built, and only 13 used. Once it boosted its payload into orbit, it fell back to Earth, an expendable asset.
 
On the other hand, the Falcon Heavy is designed for reuse. Just like sci-fi movies and books, SpaceX has designed launch vehicles that can land vertically with pinpoint precision. According to NASA's definitions, the reusable Falcon Heavy is classified as heavy-lift. A fully expendable version fulfills the super-heavy-lift requirements.
 
A final point of differentiation is this, the SpaceX rocket is a commercial rather than a governmental, program. Yes, NASA is tightly integrated and has contracted with SpaceX to provide launch vehicles. But the fact remains, this represents a new approach to space exploration.

The Saturn family of launch vehicles

Apollo 11 taking flight in 1969.
The Saturn V was the culmination of NASA's Saturn launch vehicle family. Wernher Von Braun and his team managed the development and launch of the Saturns, and indeed, all the previous launch vehicles. Most of the design, engineering, and testing took place at the Marshal Space Flight Center in Birmingham, AL. Cape Canaveral in Florida handled the launches. Dubbed the "Space Coast," Cape Canaveral was situated to allow launches to take place over the Atlantic Ocean. In case of malfunction, no one wanted a firey rocket, large or small, coming down onshore.
 
From the beginning, the Saturn V was intended to put astronauts on the Moon. The final version consisted of three stages, each fueled by liquid propellants. The term family implies there was a Saturn I, II, III, IV, and V. Well, not so fast with the logic. The Saturn family consisted of the I, IB, and V. My research also uncovered a Saturn II, but it was a military launch vehicle.
 
Here is a summary of the Saturns used to put astronauts on the Moon, meeting President Kennedy's challenge put people on the Lunar surface within 10 years.
VERSION USED FOR MAIDEN FLIGHT LAUNCHES/TOTAL SUCCESSESSaturn I, Block I

Saturn I, Block I

Development

Friday, October 27, 1961

4

4

Saturn I, Block II

Development

Friday, January 24, 1964

6

6

Saturn IB

Apollo spacecraft Earth orbital carrier

Saturday, February 26, 1966

9

9

Saturn V

Apollo spacecraft lunar orbital carrier

Thursday, November 9, 1967

13

12

"Maybe my favorite aspect of the Saturn V range is the melding of bronze and titanium. It seems fitting that the original watch case material and metal that played an important role in the space program be brought together to celebrate the penultimate event of space exploration (so far)."

- Esti Chazanow

Co-Founder at LIV Watches

Falcon Heavy launch vehicle

Did I mention I was a sci-fi aficionado? Well, SpaceX Has managed to create a real version of the vertical launch and landing vehicles like those of Buck Rogers, Tom Swift, Rocky Jones, and other space heroes from the first half of the last century.
 
The prevailing science-fiction image before Star Wars was of sleek, powerful rockets with integrated quarters for humans, taking off and landing vertically at spaceports. As is often the case, science-fiction becomes science fact. Such is the case for the rockets engineered, built, and operated by SpaceX.
 
The Falcon Heavy is a multi-stage vehicle. The first stage is (or can be) recoverable. It consists of two boosters and a central propulsion core. Each of the three components is equipped with four rigid landing legs. Each component reserves a portion of its fuel for the recovery phase. This is a distinct change from all previous vehicles where the entire fuel load is consumed during the launch phase.
 
As configured, the Heavy is presently the most powerful launch vehicle available. It is the third most powerful historically following the Saturn V and the Russian super-heavy-lift Energia, shown below.

Although certified by NASA to carry humans into space, SpaceX is already developing the Heavy's replacement, the Starship system. A prototype is shown below.

LIV Celebrates the champ - the Saturn V

LIV Watches decided to commemorate the super-heavy-lift champion with a pair of unique watches; the Moon Lander and the Moon Dust. And true to LIV's DNA, each delivers a unique experience. Starting with a striking three-dimensional case back, these watches are decked out with Saturn V design elements, top to bottom.

The Moon Lander contains a feature-rich quartz chronograph movement from ETA, the G10.962 EO Swiss Chronograph with a special complication, a true Moon phase display. As I write, it graces my wrist.

"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua."

- Esti Chazanow

Co-Founder at LIV Watches

The Moon Dust is powered by an automatic with day complication, the Sellita SW200-2, clearly visible through the exhibition case back. A specially textured, multi-layered dial represents the lunar surface. A special option melds the original case material, bronze with space-age titanium.

If you lived during the halcyon days of the Saturn V missions, you'll want one or both of these LIV Watches beauties in your collection. For those who didn't, and you want to add a bit of history to your watch lineup, these are magnificent additions.

Saturn V Specifications

LIV Saturn V Moon Lander Chrono

Movement
ETA Quartz G10.962 EO Swiss chronograph with moonphase

Case
High-grade 316L stainless steel


Case Back
Saturn V Moon embossed designScrew-down; Gasketed

Crystal
High-grade sapphire; Anti-reflective and scratch resistant


Crown
Screw-down; Gasketed


Water Resistance
100m


Dimensions
Case diameter: 44.00 mm
Case height: 12.55 mm
Lug to lug width: 52.00 mm
Strap lug width: 23.00 mm

Saturn V Moon Dust Automatic

Movement
Sellita SW200-1 Swiss automatic


Case
Bronze and titanium


Case Back
Exhibition sapphire; Screw-down

Crystal
High-grade sapphire; Anti-reflective and scratch resistant


Crown
Push down with LIV logo enamel inlay


Water Resistance
100m


Dimensions
Case diameter: 42 mm
Case height: 12.50 mm
Lug to lug width: 45.50 mm
Strap lug width: 22 mm