The Army Ballistic Missile Agency began development in 1957 of a large clustered-engine rocket to send heavy payloads into earth orbit or spacecraft to the moon. In 1959, this project was designated Saturn and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) assumed management of it. After President Kennedy's May 1961 commitment to land astronauts on the moon by the end of the decade, increased emphasis was given to development of the three-stage, liquid-fuel Saturn C-5 (later redesignated the Saturn V) capable of meeting this goal in NASA's Apollo program.
America's largest operational launch vehicle, a Saturn V first launched a manned Apollo spacecraft in December 1968 when the crew of Apollo 8 were placed into lunar orbit. In July 1969, the rocket sent astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edward Aldrin, Jr. of Apollo 11 to the surface of the moon, while Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit. Saturn V was utilized in the remaining six Apollo missions to the moon during 1969-1972 and to launch the Skylab Orbital Workshop into earth orbit in May 1973.
Gift of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center