You are here

Saturn V Instrument Unit (IU)

Primary tabs

User login

Enter your Smithsonian Institution Username
Enter your Smithsonian Institution Password

The Saturn V rocket, which sent astronauts to the Moon, used inertial guidance, a self-contained system that guided the rocket's trajectory. The rocket booster had a guidance system separate from those on the command and lunar modules. It was contained in an instrument unit like this one, a ring located between the rocket's third stage and the command and lunar modules. The ring contained the basic guidance system components - a stable platform, accelerometers, a digital computer, and control electronics - as well as radar, telemetry, and other units. The instrument unit's stable platform was based on the one used in the German V-2 rocket of World War II. The Bendix Corporation produced the platform, while IBM designed and built the unit's digital computer.