June 15, 2010

Preparing for the Moon

Image: NASA

The picture shows the second stage of the Saturn V rocket being prepared for testing on the A-2 test stand at the Mississippi Test Facility (now called the Stennis Space Center) in 1967. The Saturn V rocket is still the largest and most powerful launch vehicle ever built, and eventually was used for NASA's Apollo and Skylab missions until 1973. The second stage (S-II) contained five J-2 engines arranged in a cross pattern, with the four outer engines being used for control. It contributed 24.9 m to the total 110.6 m (363 feet) height of the entire Saturn V rocket. Interestingly, this stage was constructed in California, and in order to be transported to Florida for the final Saturn V assembly in the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center, it had to travel across the Panama Canal.

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