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Stage S-II of the Saturn V

A couple weeks ago, I was poking around on Wikipedia and stumbled across a fascinating picture - the second stage of the Saturn V rocket, being hoisted onto a massive test stand at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi in 1967, still two years before the first moon landing in 1969. There's something sublime about the shot - the clash between the cool, bluish-white color pallete and the dark red covers on the engine nozzles, the weird cold war monumentalism of the testing stand, the crane reaching up into the sky like a steeple. It's a strange mix of military-industrial ugliness and aesthetic balance.

What's really remarkable, though, is just how incredibly massive it all is. The S-II stage itself was 82 feet long and 33 feet in diameter; fully fueled, it weighed 481 metric tons, or a bit over 1,000,000 pounds. Towards the bottom right of the shot, each of the five exposed Rockedyne J-2 engines is 11.5 feet long and 6.8 feet in diameter. Almost directly below the engines, three men gaze up at the rocket, tiny little specs under the machine, small enough to fit inside the engine nozzles. Near the top of the platform, another group of three men stand along a railing looking out over the empty, rounded-out cavity where the stage is about to be notched into position for the test.

I couldn't find any specific information about the size of the testing stand itself, but, just eyeballing things against the length of the S-II, it must have been at least 250 feet tall, including the crane on the top. At the base of the A-2, another stand looms in the distance, with a similar crane facing in the opposite direction, lending an attractive symmetry to the frame. I spent some time combing through modern stattelite imagery of Stennis, and I'm pretty sure I found the two stands in this picture - if I'm right about the locations, they're separated by about 4,900 feet apart, or just under a mile.

Here's the original photograph from Wikipedia, linked from the article on the Saturn V.

By @clured with Omeka and Neatline.