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S-IVB (or S-4B)

(glossary entry)


The S-IVB was the stage of the giant Saturn-V rocket which boosted the Command Service Module (CSM) - Lunar Module (LM) combination out of its orbit around Earth, enroute to the moon (Trans Lunar Injection/ TLI, and Trans Lunar Coast/ TLC).
During Apollo 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17, the S-IVB stages of these five missions impacted on the moon, to create artificial "moonquakes". All of these five S-IVB stages impacted near the Mare Cognitum and Fra Mauro region. One of them, the S-IVB stage of Apollo 14, impacted near crater Euclides D (once called Eppinger) in Mare Cognitum. The dark ejectablanket around the small impact-craterlet of Apollo 14's S-IVB was depicted on Lunar Topographic Ortophotomap 76-D1. The coordinates of the impact are: 8°10' South/ 26°03' West (or: 333°57'). The exact location of the impacted S-IVB stage was confirmed by several Hi-Res orbital photographs made during the mission of Apollo 16 (see Bibliography below).
Strange to say, it seems that the S-IVB stage of Apollo 12 is still out there, in orbit around the sun!

Additional Information

AS07-03-1544 is one in a series of S-IVB photographs made by the crew of Apollo 7. This was the first real Apollo mission, in orbit around Earth, to test the capabilities of the Command Service Module (CSM), and... to make extraordinary photographs of a rocket's stage (their own S-IVB).
AS09-19-2919 is one of Apollo 9's photographs of LM Spider which, in this photograph, was still attached to the S-IVB stage. Scan photograph: Ed Hengeveld.
SL3-114-1625 shows the discarded S-IVB stage of Skylab 3, which was the second mission to the Orbital Workshop (OWS) of the SKYLAB space station (operational in 1973-1974). Skylab's Orbital Workshop was also an S-IVB stage, with attached Apollo Telescope Mount (ATM) and a windmill-shaped system of solar panels, see: SL4-143-4706.

Remarkable photographs and curiosities
AS12-50-7326 shows Earth and a tumbling panel of the Lunar Module Adapter (the cone shaped adapter between the CSM's Service Module and the S-IVB).
AS14-72-9920 shows Apollo 14's S-IVB and attached LM Antares. The bluish-white cloud alongside the S-IVB is propellant which was vented during transposition and docking.

LROC Articles (hi-res Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter photographs of S-IVB impact craters)

Rocket Impacts recorded by the Apollo Seismic Network (Apollo 13 S-IVB impact crater) (Juergen Oberst, March 2010).
Apollo 14 S-IVB Impact Crater (Mark Robinson, October 2009).
Found! Apollo 16 S-IVB Impact Crater (Mark Robinson, December 2015).


- Photographs of the dark ejectablanket around Apollo 14's impacted S-IVB stage: