Saturn rockets, based on missiles developed by the U.S. Department of Defense, launched most of the Apollo missions.
The Saturn rocket boosters were developed by a team of German rocket scientists led by Wernher von Braun to launch heavy payloads into space.
They were originally meant as a military satellite launcher, but they were adopted as the launch vehicles for the Apollo moon program.
Apollo 11, which carried the first men to the Moon, used a Saturn 5 rocket.
Saturn 5 rockets had three stages.
Stage 1 was a rocket that measured 139 feet (42 m) high. It burned liquid oxygen and kerosene for just over 2 minutes to give the spacecraft its initial thrust and then fell away from the spacecraft.
Stage 2 measured 82 feet (24.8 m) tall. It carried five engines that burned liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen.
Stage 2 worked for about 6 minutes before breaking away.
Stage 3, which was 78 feet (23.7 m) tall, contained the engine and fuel to place the spacecraft into Earth’s orbit and then, 90 minutes later, to send it out of orbit, toward the Moon.
Stage 3 then disengaged and either went into orbit around the Sun or was sent to crash into the Moon.
In the early 1950s all of the major branches of the US military were developing long-range missiles with the help of Germans scientists from the V-2 project from World War II.