Launch: a fiery departure

  • W. David Woods
Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS, volume 0)


Final preparations for the launch of an Apollo mission began weeks in advance in one of the cavernous aisles of the 160-metre-tall vehicle assembly building (VAB).On a large steel platform, 49 by 40 metres, a complete but unfuelled Apollo/Saturn space vehicle, itself 110 metres tall, was stacked.‘Space vehicle’ was a term for a combined launch vehicle and spacecraft.It started its journey when a 2,700-tonne diesel-powered crawler/transporter that employed tracked tractor units derived from heavy open-cast mining equipment jacked itself up underneath the platform and carried the combined load of 5,700 tonnes out through one of the massive doors and along a 5½.-kilometre crawlerway to one of two launch complexes, 39A or 39B, from which the rocket would make its fiery departure.


Combustion Chamber Space Vehicle Launch Vehicle Freight Train Centre Engine 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. David Woods
    • 1
  1. 1.Apollo Flight Journal (NASA web resource)GlasgowUK

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