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The 1959 conceptualization of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) lunar program, codenamed Apollo, envisioned manned lunar exploration in the 1970s when NASA expected large boosters to be available. Nova was the largest of the four planned boosters, powerful enough to send a manned spacecraft directly to the moon. The second stage of the multistage Nova was to be powered by the liquid hydrogen M-1 engine. Aerojet-General Corporation began development work on the M-1 on 30 April 1962 and, after the Nova direct ascent mode was dropped in favor of lunar orbit rendezvous with the smaller Saturn booster, continued as a program to develop a post-Saturn launch vehicle. The M-1 program was canceled in August 1965 with the indefinite postponement of the vehicle program, at which time most of the major components had undergone testing, although the complete engine had not.




Aerojet-General Corporation




No Donor Information, gift, unknown


2.08 Linear feet


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Collection descriptions

Archival materials


Scope and Contents

This collection consists of design information, development program plans, quarterly technical progress reports, research and development proposals, and technical reviews concerning the development of the M-1 rocket engine. The majority of the material was prepared for NASA by Aerojet-General.




Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests


Aerojet-General Corporation

Project Apollo (U.S.)

United States. National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Topics Astronautics
Aerojet M-1 Liquid Fuel Motor
Rocket engines

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives