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jamesqf 04-14-2013 11:58 PM

Absolute top non-economy vehicle...
Ran across an interesting article on people reverse-engineering the Saturn V engines: How NASA brought the monstrous F-1 “moon rocket” engine back to life | Ars Technica Interesting quotes:

The power generated by five of these engines was best conceptualized by author David Woods in his book How Apollo Flew to the Moon—"[T]he power output of the Saturn first stage was 60 gigawatts. This happens to be very similar to the peak electricity demand of the United Kingdom."

As with everything else about the F-1, even the gas generator boasts impressive specs. It churns out about 31,000 pounds of thrust (138 kilonewtons), more than an F-16 fighter's engine running at full afterburner, and it was used to drive a turbine that produced 55,000 shaft horsepower. (That's 55,000 horsepower just to run the F-1's fuel and oxidizer pumps...
Or maybe it's just an extreme example of pulse & glide :-)

Cobb 04-15-2013 12:48 AM

I thought the nasa space shuttle crawler had the top spot in worse fuel economy challenge?

mechman600 04-15-2013 03:06 AM

I'm trying to wrap my mind around 60 gigawatts.

Cobb 04-15-2013 10:35 AM

I am sure there was a misplaced decimal as well as only an 80% efficiency when converting one source of energy to another. :thumbup:

rosinaburgss 04-29-2013 02:21 AM

NASA people are simply genius as far the talent for mechanics and electronics is concerned. So doing this must not have been a great deal for them.

elhigh 07-02-2013 09:23 AM


Originally Posted by mechman600 (Post 366698)
I'm trying to wrap my mind around 60 gigawatts.

At full power during launch, a Saturn V generated power equivalent to the peak demand of Britain. All of Britain.

Granted, it took five motors to do that. Still: dang.

Whoops, OP already pointed this tidbit out. Ah well. It bears repeating in my opinion.

Pulse and glide: heh.

Skylab was lofted by a Saturn V and covered approximately 900,000,000 miles during its lifetime. That is, shall we say, one hell of a glide.

Skylab was a modified S-IVb stage, so it launched atop a S-I and S-II for a combined fuel consumption of (guessing wildly with a little reference help) about 2,500,000 kilos.

560km per kilo of fuel is pretty good.

P-hack 07-02-2013 10:25 AM

starting here: 560km per kilo

Kerosene has about 0.93 times as much energy by weight as gasoline

gas weighs 6 lbs/gallon

energy wise
1kg Kerosene=1/0.93=1.08 kg of gas

1.08kg of gas = 2.38 lb of gas

volume wise
2.38 lb of gas /6 = 0.4 gallons


so 347mi/0.4 gal = 867 MPG FTW!!! :D

EDIT: fixed missing kg to lb conversion
DOH: the rocket in question uses Kerosene, not hydrogen!

gone-ot 07-02-2013 12:27 PM


Originally Posted by mechman600 (Post 366698)
I'm trying to wrap my mind around 60 gigawatts. all the "BACK TO THE FUTURE" movies...Doc Emmett Brown has the answer already!

niky 07-02-2013 02:05 PM

You probably need to also factor the weight of Skylab into the equation... how many Buicks to a Skylab? :D

mort 07-02-2013 02:31 PM


P-hack 07-03-2013 01:54 PM

fixed :/ 867 mpg in that case.

elhigh 07-08-2013 08:45 AM

Skylab launch weight, according to NASA: "about 100 tons." Thanks for the precision, NASA. Some of us non-eggheads are pretty smart, go ahead and hit us with hard data, we can take it.

That said, it's hard to find curb weights for 40-year-old cars, so the weight I'm using is for a Buick Skylark, since it's from the bread and butter "intermediate" size range and I could find a weight for it: 3491lbs.

100 t= 200,000 / 3491 = 57.29 Buicks. Call it 57, and a horse blanket in the trunk of each one. Gonna need insulation, it can get cold/hot in space.

57 Buicks x 867mpg = 49,419 miles per gallon per Buick.

That's pretty good, no matter how you slice it.

But if Heavy Metal has taught us anything, we're actually going to need Corvettes if we want to land safely.

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