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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Top view, Saturn V

Imagine you're one of the vultures that live around Kennedy Space Center in Florida and it is Wednesday morning, July 16, 1969. You've watched all those pesky humans who work around here slowly thin out in number, more cars driving away from here than towards here. You've enjoyed flying around this tall thin contraption since it appeared here, but today is different. There's a cold wind blowing off of it. It creaks and groans like it is coming to life. You watched as 3 bulky white suited humans arrived earlier in their van, rode in the elevator they need to raise them up to the top of this (you easily can fly that distance and more! Those humans must envy us!). They walked across that platform and disappeared. Then the last of the humans left this place, driving off into the distance. You can hear a little more noise now from this thing and suddenly - flames fly out from its base, just like the last time one of these was here just a few months ago! The sound is deafening and almost knocks you out of the sky as you swing around and fly away from this noisy beast as fast as you can. You just barely outrun the heat but the sound follows you like no other predator you've ever encountered. You look back over your shoulder and that tall white stick is high overhead, with light as bright as the sun coming from its tail. You're at the beach now, glad to be away from it as the sound dies out. That thing is now disappearing into the distance overhead and you can only imagine where it might be going. Maybe up to that light you see at night in the sky sometimes?

This is the view from the front of the Saturn V stack (compare this to my picture from August 11 from the other end of this display). At left is the launch escape tower which would pull an Apollo spacecraft away from a malfunctioning booster early in the flight. The Apollo Command Module rests under a "boost protect cover" and sits on top of the Service Module. Below that is the Spacecraft LM adaptor that houses the Lunar Module during launch and connects the 3 part Apollo spacecraft to the Saturn V booster. The Instrument Unit sits at the top of the S-IVB 3rd stage of the Saturn V which finishes putting Apollo into Earth orbit then rockets it off to the Moon. Below that is the S-II 2nd stage, powered by 5 J-2 rocket engines and all that sits on top of the S-IC first stage that gets the whole stack off the pad and moving. 363 feet of explosive rocket power to get that small lunar module onto the Moons surface!

This image was taken with my kit lens at 18mm focal length at the Saturn V center at Kennedy Space Center. The exposure was 1/60 seconds at f/5, ISO 800.

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