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Space History Photo: Huge Saturn V Rocket Stage Test Fired

space history, Saturn V S-1C
The huge S-1C belches smoke and flames during a static test. (Image credit: NASA.)

Off goes a moon rocket! Well, actually, not quite. In this historical photo from the U.S. space agency, smoke and flames belch from the huge S-1C test stand as the first stage booster of the Apollo/Saturn V space vehicle is static fired on Jan. 1, 1967, at the NASA Mississippi Test Facility (MTF), later named the Stennis Space Center. There was no liftoff in this test.

The huge Saturn V rocket — a Heavy Lift Vehicle — had five engines that develop 7.5 million pounds of thrust. The full 363-foot-long Saturn V (standing as tall as a 36-story building) could launch up to a height of 40 miles at a speed of 6,000 mph. (The “V” is for the Roman numeral 5.) The Saturn V was the most powerful rocket ever flown, and it was used to get Apollo moon missions off the ground.

The first stage was built for NASA by the Boeing Company at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana, under the management of Marshall Space Flight Center.

Each weekday, looks back at the history of spaceflight through photos (archive).

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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the U.S. government agency in charge of the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.