It’s no secret that I’m enamored with the Saturn V rocket. For my generation (read: old fogies) the Saturn V defined the United States; it was big, bad, and cemented our belief in our technical superiority over the Evil Empire (read: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.) To this day it is the tallest, heaviest, and most powerful rocket ever to be deployed and holds the record for launching the heaviest payload into space. It’s also the most reliable, because in its 13 launches it never lost a crew member or payload.
The Saturn V was the rocket that took us to the moon, and there was nothing like the giant fireball of the Rocketdyne F-1 engines in its first stage to ignite our nationalistic pride on liftoff. Those godless Soviets may have been first, but by golly we were the BEST!
In the 2 minutes and 41 seconds those engines burned they took the Saturn V to an altitude of 42 miles and a speed of over 6,000mph. At that point the first stage was jettisoned and the five Rocketdyne engines would tumble into the sea, to be forgotten by the American people.
All except for Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon. Like me, he loves the Saturn V. Unlike me, he has more money than God and can afford to do outlandish things – like putting together a team of ocean explorers to recover some Rocketdynes from the sea floor. He succeeded, and you can read the story and see some pictures of the recovered engines, at Fast Company. Be sure to watch the incredible slo-mo video they’ve put up as well – it’s a view of a Saturn V liftoff that isn’t commonly seen.
For me, though, I never get tired of the film where “USA” travels past the camera on the way out of the launch gantry:
No matter how hard they try, North Korea will never top that!
-=[ Grant ]=-