The Mighty Saturn V by William Franklin
Research on the largest and most famous rocket engine ever built began in 1953. A team of German scientists led by Dr. Wernher von Braun (1912–1977) developed the propulsion system needed to take America to the Moon from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Part of a three stage design, the Saturn V stood 363 feet tall on the launch pad. Comparatively, that’s sixty feet taller than the Statue of Liberty, and one foot shorter than St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Once assembled on the crawler, the Saturn V cleared the doors of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) by only 6 feet when rolled out. Fully loaded, the rocket weighed in at 6.5 million pounds (3,000 metric tons) and contained over 3 million different parts. These five first-stage (S-1C) engines were built by Boeing. Each is 138 feet tall, 33 feet in diameter, and provided over 7.64 million pounds of thrust to get the Saturn V through the first 36 miles of ascent - enough energy to light up all of New York City for 75 minutes. They are arranged in a cross pattern; the center engine being fixed while the four outer engines could be hydraulically gimbaled to control the rocket. This Saturn V is one of the largest of the official National Historic Landmarks in the United States; it has been on display at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center since June 1969. This is the most complete of the three remaining rockets; the other two are located in the Johnson Space Center and the Kennedy Space Center.